Teaching Strategies

2nd graders at PS 28 painting with teaching artist Kristin Ann Melkin

Although each Learning Through Art residency is unique, years of research and professional development have resulted in a set of approaches and philosophies that are present throughout all of the residencies. Read below to learn about LTA’s strategies and follow links to see examples of them in action.


Modeling Artists’ Thinking & Process
LTA teaching artists encourage each student to think like an artist by modeling their own artistic process as well as exposing them to works of art and a variety of ideas and approaches. Watch a video on the Learning Through Art YouTube Channel of a teaching artist discussing a work of art with students.


Reflective Practice
Reflection is an integral component of every LTA residency and can take the form of group discussions of student artwork, individual sketchbook reflections, and checklists of goals generated by students.


Open-ended and extended investigations
Each LTA residency begins with developing an Essential Question, a question that is designed to address a big idea within the chosen curriculum area. For example, “What connects or divides us?” is a question designed to examine historical conflicts in social studies as well as have students think about their personal relationships. These types of questions serve as the guiding framework for all 20 sessions. View an example of lesson plans that demonstrate this practice.


Material and idea explorations
In order to build technique and foster student innovation, LTA teaching artists include sessions that are solely dedicated to investigating the properties and possibilities of materials and ideas. Watch a video on the Learning Through Art YouTube Channel of one of our teaching artists leading a material exploration.


Collaborative and interdisciplinary projects
The structure of LTA is designed to foster collaboration with educators from other disciplines, and often students in LTA create group projects. These collaborative approaches create natural opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and creative generation of new ideas and solutions.


Balancing process and product
It is important to LTA that teachers, parents, and students value the importance of exploring, thinking, and participating in the artistic process. Therefore various stages, including preliminary sketches and student writings, are exhibited in addition to finished works. In our annual A Year With Children exhibition, “process boards” that demonstrate the development of a project are as important as the final works exhibited.

Photo: 2nd graders at PS 28 painting with teaching artist Kristin Ann Melkin. Photo: Leticia F. Luevanos

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Featured Lesson for Looking at Art

Featured Lesson
for Looking at Art

Explore themes of social class by examining Pablo Picasso's painting Woman Ironing (La repasseuse).

View the lesson