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10 Ways to Use Artsonia as an End-of-Year (and Summer!) Activity

The end of the school year is fast approaching.  When you start to feel the students’ energy shifting from school to vacation mode, do you keep pressing through the next lesson, even if focus is lacking? Or, do you come up with some creative ways to keep them engaged in the art program, with less deadlines and assignments? We came up with a few ideas on how you might want to have your students use Artsonia as an end of year or summer-vacation activity.

1. Do-Over: How my skills have changed!
If you have published art for a few years now, why not offer them a do-over! Have them browse all the artwork in their Artsonia gallery and ask them if there’s one they did (last week or 3 years ago) that they’d like to “do-over.” Certainly, you’ll need to take into account materials and supplies needed, but some of the students might thoroughly enjoy looking at their Kindergarten “Blue Dog” and then coming up with their much improved, more detailed version of the same lesson! What an easy way for students to instantly see how much their talents and skills have developed thanks to your teaching and guidance!Do Over_BlueDog

2. Review Guestbook Comments
Ask students to browse through their guestbooks. Do any of the comments stand out as very special to the student? Which ones are their favorites and why? This is a fun way to remind students that other people are excited about their work and love to see them being creative at school. Review_Comments

3. Self Evaluation
Have your students browse through their gallery. Can they find one piece of artwork they wish they had worked a little harder on? Or, perhaps they would have changed something about the process/outcome? If they had the chance to “Do Over” (see #1 above), what would they do differently? (artwork credit: Peyton4697, Wolford Elementary, TX)Self_Evaluation

4. End of Year Review/Art Museum Search
While you might not give students a grueling end of year exam, why not give them a simple take-home (or summer) review on the artists/styles/or periods you studied this year? Rather than browsing YOUR school gallery, have them visit the Artsonia Museum search page  and type in a keyword to find lots of examples of Pop Art, for example.  Have them write down an art ID number of a few favorites and share them with the class.keyword_search

5. Take an Art Trip around the Globe
Students in more than 130 countries around the world have artwork showing on Artsonia.  Why not take a few minutes to have your students see what their peers are creating halfway around the world? Have your students pick a few different countries/regions from around the world, perhaps based on their own cultural heritage or simply a random pick.  Ask them to visit the Countries Represented page of Artsonia  and browse the different school galleries, making note of their favorite pieces.Artsonia_Countries_Flags

6. Get Creative This Summer!
The school year is too short and allotted art periods are few and far between for most teachers.  So, why not encourage your kids to keep learning and creating this summer? Using the projects search page have students use the keyword search to browse Artist’s names or styles. Alternatively, have them search exhibits by specific mediums they like to use.  Have them pick some favorites and perhaps, you can give them some tips on how to try some of these lessons on their own this summer!

7. Publish Artwork from Home!
Be sure all your parents are registered with valid email addresses before the end of the year! Encourage your students to have their parents upload “summer artwork” to their personal gallery. It doesn’t require your approval, nor does it show up on the school gallery, but it’s a great way to keep their families engaged in the arts all summer.parent_upload1

8. Summer Artwork Travel Postcards
Are your students taking a summer vacation? Encourage them to pack a small sketchpad! They can help create the family vacation memory book, complete with their own sketches of what they see and do.  And, if they are up for it, have them submit the drawing to their Artsonia gallery and send you a postcard (maybe have them mail to school at your attention, if you don’t want to give out your home address). How cool to come back in the fall and have an assortment of hand-made postcards from your students’ travels!postcard

9. Published Artist Certificates
Does your school hand out end-of-year awards? How about the art room? If you need a simple way to honor some of your students, you can print out Artsonia Published Artist Certificates! Just add your student’s name and date and it’s ready to go!Published Artist Award

10. Summer Newsletter for Parents
Why not keep in touch with parents over the summer once in a while? Maybe you offer summer camps, workshops or studio hours? Let the parents know what opportunities might be available to their kids.  Are there any special museum days coming up? Are there any arts festivals in your area? Keeping connected over the summer will remind parents that encouraging creativity isn’t just the art teacher’s job, it’s part of everyday life!Newsletter


Helpful Tip: Guided Access

Do any of your students take advantage of having an iPad or iPhone at their disposal in the artroom? Do they quickly try to access a different app, or (common with younger students) hit the home key and exit out of what they were supposed to be doing? If so, we wanted to share a quick tip on how you might be able to curb any “wandering fingertips” issues. Read on to learn about using Guided Access on an iOS device (Guided access is not an Artsonia feature, but a feature built into iPads and iPhones that can be convenient to use with Classroom Mode and other apps).

“Guided Access” helps your students stay focused on submitting artwork and statements while in the Artsonia Classroom Mode! Guided access limits their device to only using one single app and lets you (the teacher) control which app features are available.

Use Guided Access to:

  • Temporarily restrict your iOS device to a particular app
  • Disable areas of the screen that aren’t relevant to a task, or areas where an accidental gesture might cause a distraction
  • Disable the hardware buttons

Note: Since Artsonia classroom is web-based, students could still incidentally type in a different URL and that would still work, however, they would not be able to hit the home key and/or actually exit the Internet browsing session.

Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access to set up Guided Access.

From there you can:

(1) Turn Guided Access On/Off

(2) Set a passcode to control Guided Access and prevent students from leaving an active session

(3) Set whether the device can go to sleep during a session


Start a Guided Access session

If you’ve gone into the above settings, it doesn’t do any harm in simply leaving the Guided Access “on” at all times. The actual feature will not be enabled unless you actually start/enable an active session.  Here are two thoughts on how to do that:

1) Prior to handing the device(s) to students, browse to your link (or open the app of choice) then triple-click the Home button to activate the Guided Access session. If anyone attempts to hit the “home” key a pop-up will appear, requiring them to input the password to exit.

2)If you are in a 1:1 classroom, you could instruct students to browse to the link (or open desired app), then triple-click the Home button on their devices. Again, this will automatically “lock” the app (or browsing session) so that no students can accidentally (or intentionally) hit the home button and exit to a different app.


Note: As shown just above, you can disable app controls and areas of the app screen, but in the case of the Artsonia Classroom feature, this would not be necessary. However, it might come in handy if you used Guided Access with other apps of your choice!

To End a Guided Access session, simply triple-click the Home button and enter the Guided Access Passcode.


Artsonia: More Than an Art Museum, A Comprehensive Classroom Tool for Art Education


Create a Community around your Art Program
An Artsonia school gallery is much more than just a place to show off your student’s artwork; it’s an opportunity to create an entire community that revolves around your art program. The gallery is a launching pad for art-focused student interactions, family involvement and integrating technology into your art room.  Each fall, Artsonia honors teachers who have done an outstanding job of creating a community around their art programs with Leadership Awards.  Learn more about one teacher’s award and art program in a recent article by the The Record (Wanaque,New Jersey).

Teach Digital Citizenship
As a web-based educational platform, Artsonia provides many ways for students to learn and practice responsible digital citizenship. Online classroom tools give students the means to responsibly submit their own artwork and statements. Leaving comments on another student’s work is another online activity. Often times, these activities are done on school owned computers or iPads. Students will learn appropriate ways to use devices while practicing respectful and responsible digital citizenship in the safe, controlled online environment that is  Illinois Art Teacher, Tricia Fuglestad uses Artsonia to teach digital citizenship in her art room and shared the details on her Fugleblog last spring.

Promote Literacy and Address the Common Core
Students are encouraged to submit artist statements along with their artwork. Asking students to first thoughtfully analyze and interpret the work and then write a statement, drives literacy skills. This is especially true when proper use of sentences, punctuation and organization is required by the teacher (photo credit, Art Teacher Janine Campbell).


Artist statements, much like the Common Core requirements, reinforce the importance of learning to reflect, critique and evaluate work. The Art of Ed recently interviewed middle school teacher, Diane Davis to find out more about using Artsonia to promote literacy.

Organize and Manage Your Art Program
Within the Artsonia teacher section, you will find numerous ways to organize not only your art gallery, but your entire art program. Quickly see who has completed artwork, post feedback to your students…Monitor_Exhibits

Send Art Room Newsletters to parents (Thanks to IL art teacher, Laura Allan for sharing hers)! Monitor student-progress, print reports and request money earned through fundraising efforts. Nearly all the Artsonia features are the direct result of teacher feedback, in an effort to create an all-in-one classroom tool, designed specifically for art teachers.

Earn Funds, Enrich Your Art Program
Artsonia gives teachers a way to earn additional funds for their school via an online gift shop. At their convenience, families and friends of the artists can purchase customized keepsakes featuring the student’s artwork. Artsonia gives 20% of each purchase back to the school to help support the art program. Fundraising_Twitter

At any time, art teachers can redeem earned funds in the form of a check, gift cards (Artsonia/Blick Art Materials/Amazon), technology products (Apple TV/iPad/iPad mini) or as payment for their annual NAEA Membership. With additional funds coming into your program, Artsonia hopes that both you and your students will be provided with enriched experiences and opportunities in the world of art education.

What are YOUR favorite Artsonia features? What do students love about Artsonia? What do your families say about Artsonia? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below!

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