BOOK REVIEW- Art Is Elementary: Teaching Visual Thinking through Art Concepts

October 22, 2010
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This book can be useful for either a regular “art teacher” or a classroom teacher. The book shows many examples of what is to be expected by children ranging from pre-school age up to level 7. (Each level corresponds with the traditional grade level.) The book has a diagnostic chart for each level and then lists art projects that can be used for teaching specific concepts.

For example, pre-school children are attracted to bright colors, so a variety of experiences with brightly colored objects is recommended for a pre-school lesson. Pre-school children should be encouraged to use drawing media 3-7 times a week. After a child has a number of drawing experiences, they will draw freely.

Level One: Student activities can include identifying variations in color, sides of shapes, order arrangement, etc. At this level, children’s experiences can be enriched with textures.

Level Two: Students can mix colors to make new colors, recognize the influence of light on forms, and show people and objects varying in size.

Level Three: Students should be able to use advanced techniques with crayons and create space in a picture through the placement of people and objects. Students should also be able to recognize the contour of objects, and describe the differences between different pieces of artwork.

Level Four: At this age, students should be able to create movement within their artwork, along with an interesting composition or arrangement of a picture with a variety of shapes and sizes. Students can recognize moods and feelings to symbolize images.

Level Five: Students at this level should be able to create the illusion of natural textures, use a variety of watercolor washes, and recognize positive and negative space in their artwork.

Level Six: Students create batik designs on fabric, create rhythm and motion within their artwork, create the illusion of space through the use of a horizon line and a point of perspective, and create the illusion of multiple forms of different textures.

Level Seven: Students should be able to recognize ways in which light is reflected, group various objects in a variety of different formats, and use strong contrast within their artwork to create an interesting composition.

This book has a variety of interesting activities that are adapted to different grade levels. The book offers a variety of exercises that will introduce students to many different art concepts that are adaptable to pre-school through grade 7.

Title: Art is Elementary
Length: 464 pages, with 368 illustrations
Price: $39.95

For more information, visit


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