EDAR 529: Artists & Writers in the Classroom: Using Art Making to Inspire Great Writing

EDAR 529:  Artists & Writers in the Classroom: Using Art Making to Inspire Great Writing 

Cath Mural background

Catherine Ring, Instructor


This course is designed for pre-service and in-service teachers of kindergarten through grade 6. It offers an exciting and unique approach, wherein teachers learn to combine art making with the writing process to help inspire students to improve both the quality of their writing and understanding of art and literature. Children in the classroom will write stories by creating pictures first, taking advantage of the fact that pictures are a universal language and it is children’s first written language. Hands-on art lessons are an integral part of the course and directly correspond to the writing process. No art experience is necessary. Teachers will learn simple, inspirational techniques to help students express themselves through art and the written word. The course helps teachers to diversify instruction to meet all students’ learning styles. This will include experiential, project-based learning, with immediate applications to the pre-K to 6 classrooms. A rationale for integrating the arts will be provided, including evidence that the arts enhance student achievement in other academic areas.

The course will meet in two sessions and includes extensive inter-session and post-session work. Two weekend sessions meet on Friday, 4-8 pm and Saturday, 8-4 pm for fall and spring courses.  



Some art materials (to be determined).

The Power of Pictures: Creating Pathways to Literacy Through Art. Beth Olshansky., Jossey- Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA, 2008.     Click here to buy from Amazon.com

Additional Resources will be provided on a class wiki.


The course will give pre and in-service teachers an opportunity to explore visual art-making as the first step in the writing process. When students are inspired by their own visual paintings, their descriptive language ability is enhanced through congruent art and writing workshops. The results are impressive. Demonstrations, reflections, shared resources and hands-on activities will be essential components of the course.

Participants will:
1. Learn how to use visual arts to inspire student writing through parallel and complementary processes.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the role the arts can play in teaching and learning.

3. Understand from the research that teaching and learning through the arts results in higher student achievement.

4. Practice useable art methods in the classroom, including watercolor, marbleized papers, crayon resist, collage.

5. Apply learned strategies with children in the classroom, evaluate and reflect on results.