Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Artist's Trading Cards

I've noticed that students really love these mini-art projects and I think they're a great way to reinforce vocabulary words that we learn along with each project, especially Elements and Principles. I had previously kept a folder in my classroom with info for students to make these on their own, but they weren't working on those with the level of quality I wanted to see. So I think as a follow-up to all my big lessons, I'll have the students (at least 3rd grade and up) create a trading card for the Element or Principle we focused on for the project. I also found this worked well for my classes who have missed out on the big projects because of snow days or other scheduling hiccups. Instead of having them create the whole project on Radial Balance, I just had them work for one class period on an ATC. They were really into it once we got started and they loved digging through my "junk box" to find treasures for use in their cards. I required that the whole background of the card be covered first to avoid looking unfinished, and I also required that they encorporate the vocabulary word in their design, using cut collaged letters (ransom-note style.)

Here is my example for radial balance:

It would also be fun to try this with representations for different artists, and have students make a card in the style of Kandinsky or Van Gogh. This would work best with older students. I've only tried that with 5th graders so far. But I think as a summative assesment tool these could be very effective, not to mention fun! My kiddos love the idea of making them for other people, and I've always wanted to start a trading group with another school. Dream Big. :D


  1. Hi, I'm Nic Hahn and I'm a K-5 art teacher in Minnesota.  I'm looking for a couple more trades this year.  My 4th grade is doing Artist Trading Cards or ATC this year and I'm trying to get as many stated involved as I can.  If this sounds interesting to you please check out my blog where I give a lot more details about the project.  Comment on my blog or email me if you want to continue this conversation.

    Nic hahn--- NicholeCHahn@yahoo.com

    Happy to have found your blog… Will post it on my blog roll soon!

  2. I did exactly that with my year 6/7 kids last year (11&12 year olds-in australia) I had the kids create an art work in the style of an artist from a list of 32 well known artists from different countries and historical periods. Then they had to research information about the artist and put a short biography and interesting fact about their artist on the back of the card. I had them make their art A4 size then we scanned it onto the computer to print as cards using photo paper (Not really artist cards this way, more like trading cards about artists) but it worked quite well.