4 Truths Your Budding Artists Discover From Service Learning Projects in the Art Room


Have you ever wanted to make a change in your community, but felt like your efforts wouldn’t make a difference?

Well, lucky for you, YOU are a teacher, who changes the lives of students every day. Though we may not see it, we are writing on their hearts and minds with our lessons not just on Art, but also on life.

This amplifies the effort we make, and our students take our impact and multiply it exponentially…. how awesome is that!?

OK coming back down to earth for a second. Let me share something with you that gives you a sneak peek at the changes my students are making in our community…

We’ve been working on something very special this year in my 5th/6th Grade Art Class. It’s called a Service Learning Project, and it’s a way for our artists to learn by serving their community.

Service Learning takes the learner through the process of affecting change in their surroundings.

In turn, the student is empowered with knowledge of the issue and confidence in their abilities.

Basically, the steps can be summarized like this:

  1. Identify a problem or need in your community
  2. Prep by brainstorming solutions to the problem
  3. Take indirect action by increasing awareness or fundraising
  4. Take direct action by working with those in need
  5. Reflect on the process
  6. Demonstrate your learning

Here are 4 TRUTHS about Art that budding artists learn through service oriented projects in the Art Room…

1. I can use ART to spread awareness.

Art connects to emotion. Art communicates. Art informs. And when students create Art with a social purpose, THEY connect emotionally. THEY communicate. THEY inform those around them.

2. I can use ART to refine my 21st Century Skills.

21st Century Skills such as creativity, innovation and problem-solving are required to achieve the steps of the Service Learning process.

During the preparation stage, students direct the class as they brainstorm, collaborate and communicate their ideas-all while being flexible and adapting to the ideas of those around them.

3. I can reflect on my learning by creating ART.

Service Learning requires reflection throughout the process. Students take action and responsibility for what they are learning. They show ownership by examining how their views change as they acquire new knowledge about the problem and its solutions.

4. ART and DESIGN problems are easier solved when I focus on a shared goal with fellow artists.

Speaking of problems and solutions, I’ve noticed that the students in my class are more willing and open to work through artistic problems in their creations, and I suspect this is because they are all working toward a common goal- helping to improve the world around them.

Yes, there are still meltdowns in their tweenaged artistic experiences, but I find it much easier to counsel them through their design frustrations when I can redirect them toward the common goal of helping their community.

…More details to come on this special project!