Social and emotional learning takes place across cultures, age groups, and should be encouraged and explored in every learning space. The art room is no exception. Throughout history, art has been used as an outlet for feelings, both positive and negative. Inspiration often comes from times of intense feeling and self-awareness. Help students to explore self-awareness and emotions with these three project ideas.
Social & Emotional Art Projects for the Classroom
Social and emotional learning is comprised of five key competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Start by discussing with your students how artists from cultures all over the world and throughout history have created art as they navigated life and learned about themselves and their relationships with others.
Colors, words, and art allow the artist to share their mind and experiences in a creative way. Give students examples of pieces of art and asking them to share what they feel like the artist was trying to portray. Follow up with a discussion of how textures, colors, images, and shapes can all work together to convey a message without having to write it out.
These three projects can be simple for younger students, or explored in more detail and complexity for students in Middle and Secondary art rooms. Use these ideas as starting points for bringing some social and emotional learning and concepts into the art learning space.
Dream Catchers & Worry Dolls
During any given day students experience bad feelings brought on by events or individuals. Many cultures have devised a way to release these bad thoughts and worries.
Artists from various cultures throughout the world have found creative ways to navigate their experiences with heavy emotions and stressful events. Students are learning and growing up while experiencing their own emotions and relationships. Social and emotionally-oriented art from other cultures showcase outlets for emotions, both negative and positive.
Two well-known examples are Native American Dream Catchers and Guatemalan Worry Dolls. The Dream Catchers are designed to catch bad dreams and allow only the good ones through.
Dream Catcher Project Supplies
The Guatemalan Worry Dolls are created to tell worries to before bedtime. The doll is said to take away the worries and dispose of them overnight. Talk to your students about experiencing negative emotions and how productive outlets like worry dolls may help to acknowledge and release tension or negativity.
Worry Dolls Project Supplies
Visual Verbal Journaling
A Visual Verbal Journal is another creative way for artists to express emotions and experiences, both positive and negative. This is done through the creation of artwork and writing. Expressing feelings and emotions in a journal may help students to acknowledge and release negative feelings and hold onto the positive ones.
Visual Verbal Journal Starter Supplies
More Opportunities for Social and Emotional Learning
If you’re looking for more ways to engage your students in social and emotional learning at any age, be sure to visit the Social and Emotional Learning tag page. For more art lesson plans and ideas for new projects, visit the Art Lesson Plan tag page.
The online store has all the tools, supplies, and inspiration you need to bring your lessons to life for your students.