A 21st Century Fluencies Approach To Art

This week, my students have been practicing the play, The Little Red Hen, as part of shared reading. Initially, my plan was to have students create puppets to use during their Reader’s Theatre performance of the play. When I couldn’t sleep last night though, my art plan evolved. 🙂 I thought that I would adopt a 21st century approach to this art activity.

Here’s what the class did:

1) Students worked in partners to research the different animals in the play. They only needed to create the character that they were playing, but they were asked to research all of the animals. Students used Google images on various devices to find out the physical attributes of the different animals, helping them include the necessary details in their puppets. (This research activity addressed information fluency, as students found and applied the information that they learned, and collaboration fluency, as students worked together to research the different animals and decide the important details to include.)

2) Students used the information that they found out to make their puppet for the play. They had to solve the problem of how do I create a puppet that others will recognize, but only using the resources available to me? (This puppet making activity addressed creative fluency, as students created works of art, solution fluency, as students solved the problem of how to create these works of art given the materials provided and the information they learned, and media fluency, as students shared the process with others through the slideshow embedded below).

I’m not an artist. All of my students have better fine motor and artistic abilities than I do, and so modelling art lessons is a struggle for me. Today though, students taught themselves and each other, art. They used the Internet to find out about the characters they were creating, and they applied what they learned as they created their own, wonderful works of art. Listening to these students reminds me of the true value of art and the enormous benefit in letting students be creative!

Have you ever done a similar type of art lesson before? What were the results? I’d love to hear your stories!


4 thoughts on “A 21st Century Fluencies Approach To Art

  1. Great idea(s).
    I like how you outlined and addressed specific fluencies.
    As well, inspired me to get to know and use animoto (impressive showing of day’s activities)… haven’t yet, maybe tomorrow!

    • Thanks for the comment! I love Animoto. So easy to use, and such a great way to show others what’s happening in the classroom. I hope that you give it a try too!


  2. What a fun project! The amount the students learn while researching, planning, working together, and creating is amazing!

    I believe creative freedom should be nurtured throughout a student’s educational career – to give students not only something they can be proud of, but to also help them be creative thinkers and problem solvers. And as students grow and enter the community as “Out of the Box” thinkers, innovations in culture, technology, and science will continue to flourish.

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