Art Docent Duties and Commitment

The commitment for this project is a parent-taught monthly art lesson offered to all grades during regular classroom hours. It is designed to allow children more opportunities to explore their artistic talents through educational art lessons and hands on art projects. The requirement is of about 3-4 hours per month from your home to plan a once-a-month lesson and project. You may utilize all art tools through our on line PTA Website as well as obtaining a one-on-one workshop when necessary at the beginning of the year. The program usually begins in October.  Lessons are from 30 minutes up to an hour, and occur roughly once a month. 

Please Note: You must sign in at the office prior to teaching your art lesson.

Lesson Development and Presentation

Lessons are developed by art volunteers with key disciplines in mind:
  • Principles: line, color, shape, value
  • Media: clay, pens, pencils, paint, paper, tissue, etc.
  • History: exposure to artists and their styles (visit our Toolbox under our Art Docent menu item).

Lesson Location and Organization

  • Each month’s lesson contains step-by-step instructions for doing the project. Lessons are organized by grade and themes in a binder located in the art supply room. 
  • Please feel free to make copies of each lesson if needed. When you are finished, please put the original back in the folder. If you pull the last copy, please make copies!
  • Please feel free to create your own lesson if you prefer.

Additional Resources

Art Prints
  • These are large scale posters that can be used in conjunction with art lessons. You may also present them digitally, but you may still want to have the original on hand for students to view. If so, please explain that you are showing reproductions of artworks; the originals are displayed in the world's finest museums or in private collections. (If you would like to see an overview of the collection please let your art docent leader know).
  • These beautiful large scale posters are located in the art supply room and are available for checkout. Make sure you use the checkout sheet on clipboard in supply room if you remove them from the art supply room. 
Project Samples
  • Examples are located in lesson binders labeled by grades and themes. 
  • For questions about your project, please contact Dories Arias

Making a Successful Presentation

Scheduling
  • Establish the date and time for lessons with your teacher and other volunteers. It is helpful to have at least one volunteer.
  • If you feel someone's assistance would be helpful or needed for the project, email your dates to the other art docents and see how we can help each other.
  • Give yourself at least 15 min. to set up; about 30-40 mins. teaching (clean-up times vary). If you can, plan the lesson to start right after morning ceremony or recess so you can set up while the kids are out of the classroom.
  • Ensure in advance that you have the supplies you will need to complete the lesson. 
Preparation
  • Review the lesson at least a week prior to teaching it. It may be useful to have your own notes/copy and use a yellow marker to underscore the parts that you wish to remember and emphasize. Please try to not read the lesson to the students.
  • If using any of the large scale posters, arrange them where all the class can see them with students as close to them as possible. And don't forget to keep handy your own notes with each artist and bios of each print.
  • Begin your presentation when you have the attention of all the children. Speak clearly and loudly enough for all the class to hear you. Smile! Show enthusiasm, your own enjoyment, and interest.
  • The first 10-15 minutes of your program should consist of a “chat” with the students about the artist or art you are presenting. You should think of this as a “conversation” that you are facilitating rather than a “presentation” that you are giving. (for and Art Glossary visit our Toolbox under our Art Docent menu item).
  • Give the kids lots of chances to share their thoughts and impressions.
  • Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know" if the occasion arises, and then try to find out the answer before your next visit, or let the children speculate on what the answer might be. (for more tips, visit our Toolbox under our Art Docent menu item).
  • Younger children have very little sense of the chronology of history, but to tell them an artist lived about 100 years ago, or when the Pilgrims arrived in America is sufficient. Lessons for older children include more definitive data. You may figure to determine how long ago an artist lived.

What to Tell Students and What to Avoid

Tell the students that the questions will help them understand a work of art; Name tags for students will enable you to preface a question with "Chris, can you find...." A question presented to the entire class, rather than a specific student, often results in a number of voices responding at one time.

Avoid questions that require students to make a quick judgment. Don't start out by asking the students which picture they like the best. We want the students to learn how to describe, analyze, and interpret a work of art and the later, be better prepared to state that, "I like it because...."

Avoid expressing your own opinions as students will mimic your responses. We want students to know that there is no one "right" way to make a painting and that artists create in many ways and for many different purposes; for example, some art is created to record how a person or place looks; some to inspire religious or spiritual responses; some to tell stories, convince, inform, or move people to action. Some artist paint realistically; others emphasize their emotional responses to the world in an expressive way and may distort or change what they see. Others are interested in the colors, shapes, and lines and arrange them in abstract ways. Still others show us the world of fantasy, the imagination, and their dreams.

Lesson Art Project Teaching

  • Is always best to have samples of your art project. Showing the kids how to do it instead of just telling tends to works better
  • Show the kids the medium they are using (for example, with watercolors, you can demonstrate adding the right amount of water and do some painting yourself so they can see what happens with too much/too little)
  • Clarify with the teacher what expectations are for kids who finish early (should they read, write in journal etc.?)
  • Have extra materials (bound to be mistakes) and absent students
  • Make sure there is drying space inside classroom 
  • Lesson Completion/Hanging Artwork
  • Clean up the work space and replace leftover project supplies
  • If you have any helpful hints for other classes that haven’t done the project yet, contact the Leads
  • Discuss with your teacher a location for hanging art (in case she/he needs help, but need to check). Delegate this task to a volunteer if possible
  • Make sure there's no stapling, taping or pinning directly on wall or the students art piece (find out with your teacher if there's any art work hangers)
As a whole, make sure you understand your own lesson, project, art literature and enjoy by keeping your lessons alive!!

For more tips about art literature, visit our Toolbox Art Glossary.