Zoom Art Lessons

By The Arty Teacher - October 7, 2020

Zoom Art Lessons present a whole new challenge for teachers.  I can’t think of a subject more difficult to teach using Zoom than art.  Additionally, I can’t think of another subject where more one-to-one teaching usually goes on.  Seeing student work as it progresses is essential for us to be able to help.  If we don’t, all our assessment is going to be summative and that would be like going back to the dark ages.

Many of us have had no training to teach online.  We’ve had to feel our way and experiment.  I certainly didn’t think it would be going on for this long.  These are some of the things I do that have been helpful.

Setting out your rules.

Of course, your rules have to be in line with your school’s rules.  Hopefully, your school has issued some sort of home learning protocol for students.  You need to make it clear to students what your expectations are, just like you would in the classroom.  I explain to students that:

  • I will be asking questions and needing to see work throughout the lesson so they must stay live all lesson.
  • They must have their video on so I can see they are working.
  • They will be uploading their progress, however small, at the end of every lesson to google classroom or Showbie or whatever you use.

Viewing Their Work

If you were in school you would be easily and frequently seeing their work (under normal circumstances).  In a zoom lesson or across 2 lessons, make sure you see every student’s work live.  Keep a note in your planner of who’s work you have seen.  Ask them to hold their device above their work so you can see it.  The class will learn that at any moment you may ask to see their work.  If you haven’t done this before warn them at the start of the lesson.

Demonstrating by Sharing a Screen

I use a gooseneck iPad holder that I bought online.  You can get one on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk  It means I can effortlessly turn my iPad to view my hands demonstrating the activity.  You just use the share button in zoom and choose the camera.  It also means my iPad is always at eye view as I don’t take it out of the iPad holder, so I don’t get a neck ache from looking down at an iPad all day.  We need to look after ourselves!

Zooming Art Lessons Staying Live

I don’t want a student to get to the end of the lesson and think that they could have completed the lesson without me.  I try to interact with as many students as I can.  Change the activity partway through the lesson or do something as simple as asking them to look up a definition for an art vocabulary word and add it to their art glossary in their sketchbooks.  Or, show them other students work or an artist’s work.  Use some of that enthusiasm that you show in the classroom.

Creating a Virtual Seating Chart

A new feature of Zoom is to be able to create a virtual seating plan.  Both you and the class can see it. You can easily drag and drop tiles and rearrange the order students appear in your gallery view.  This view gets locked (if you wish) and students don’t change places as they come and go.  I think this is especially useful if you are getting to know a new class or want to go around the ‘room’ in a particular order.

Mixing it Up

Once your students have got used to your rules, you may wish to alternate lessons so that sometimes you stay live all lesson, and sometimes you are live for the first 15 mins and the last 5 mins.  If you don’t want to re-zoom at the end of the lesson you will be asking your students to upload their progress to Google Classroom or Showbie at the end of the lesson.  It is essential that you see the progress they have made every lesson.

Break Out Rooms

Zoom lets you create small groups that are ideal if you would like your students to discuss a topic.  There is an excellent video here which explains how they work.  You can easily join any group to check they are doing as you have asked.  Why not use a break out room to let students analyse an artwork or when you are first introducing an artist?  To make sure you get students really engaged, tell them that as soon as they leave the breakout room they will be uploading a written response to google classroom or Showbie or whatever platform you use.

Hybrid Teaching & Zoom Art Lessons

Hybrid teaching is where you have some students in the classroom and some at home.  This felt like an impossible task to start with, but the solution I have found is to teach everyone like they are at home even if they are in the classroom.  This means the students in the room join the zoom too, and you demonstrate through zoom.  Students in the room need to have their audio off or you get a terrible feedback sound.  It takes a bit of getting used to, but I think we have all got good at accepting change is these ever-changing times.

Chasing Missing Work

One of the challenges of online learning is chasing missing work.  The work I set is not optional.  Some students innocently forget to upload it.  I remind student’s every lesson to upload their progress and it’s essential that they know that if they don’t upload it, I will chase them for it.  In the first instance, I would send a reminder email.  If that didn’t work, I would copy in their form tutor and state in the email that their form tutor has been copied in, to help remind them to upload.  (This is useful if there is a wider issue of a particular student not handing in work.) You need to find out what your school wants you to do if work is still not forthcoming and to follow their sanction system.

I’d love to hear about the strategies you are using to make your zoom art lessons a success for your students. Please comment below.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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14 responses to “Zoom Art Lessons”

  1. Sydney says:

    Are you doing any more classes in 2022 in July or august pls respond

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Sydney, I haven’t done zoom classes for the public before, only my students from school during lockdown. However, I am planning some zoom sessions for new art teachers, so keep an eye on my newsletter and social media.

  2. keiana015 says:

    Hello , I was wondering if you still had Zoom Art Classes going on in 2021?
    Please and Thanks , Keiana

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Keiana, Thanks for your comment. I haven’t ever offered zoom art classes to the public, only to my students at school. Sorry to disappoint.

  3. Ben says:

    Know any recommended teachers that provide Zoom art lessons? My 13yo daughter is a phenomenal artist and I’d like to supplement this.

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Ben, At the moment I don’t have that sort of service, however, I am looking to add that in the future as this is not the first request I have had of this sort.

  4. Nafsheen says:

    Hello there I’m trying to start teaching art and meditation on zoom and my main question is what equipment do I need so I can show people techniques and mixing color in real time. Like do I need two cameras or do I use an iPad as opposed to a computer… please let me know thanks

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Nafshee, Yes, you can join your own zoom lesson with an additional device. That device can be on a tripod or grip facing towards your hands. I use a computer and join with an iPad and the iPad is in a gooseneck gorilla grip.

  5. Gridge says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I am in Santa Barbara, California and currently (again) hit hard with covid-19. We are working from home but are scheduled to go back tomorrow. I too feel that work from home with students is very difficult and my kids really appreciate time in the art studio and for the most part, have been doing a fabulous job on all of our assignments when we meet at school. I threw out my curriculum and have been doing something for all middle school students based on the current global situation. I have incorporated your lessons for the at-home students and we shall see how it goes today. I look forward to all of the work you have put into them. Thank you.

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Thanks for your comment. It certainly has been a challenge this year. I hope that the resources are a success for your at-home students.

  6. Beatrice Croce Grotto says:

    Hi Sarah..and so “WELL DONE” for all your information on your site. Just like Jaye Hall, I also teach on Teams. I cannot compare with Zoom, as I have not tried that route. However, I have the same problem: so many have not uploaded their work. Here (in Zimbabwe) we do have connectivity issues and electricity issues. But, these cannot be an excuse for the amount of ‘non-engagement’ that I have seen. There are several outlets that students can use to show me their work (I have given them 5 different ways and places to upload to), which means I usually take an enormous amount of time to check around when it is time for marking. The ‘virtual learning environment in Teams’ is non badly organised (maybe very slow and the syncing is not good): there are areas where I place all sorts of information, images, videos, demos, examples, so students can access and learn at their own pace. Feedback is possible, and if the student follows the process, they will be able to develop even without the face to face mentoring. BUT, my class averages have never been so low!

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Beatrice, Thanks for your comment. I think teachers are facing new challenges every day at the moment. Students can have genuine problems with connectivity and use it as an excuse if they wish. All you can do is give students every opportunity to learn.

  7. Jaye Hall says:

    Thank you Sarah!
    I am a high school art teacher in the Northwest part of Washington state. I appreciate your ideas in teaching Zoom classes. We’re using something here called Teams and it’s much more difficult than Zoom. Most of us here started with Zoom, then they switched it on us and we’ve had to learn a whole new system of technology! Most of us like Zoom better.
    I find that a lot of the kids are not turning in assignments. Today, I sent out a lot of emails to parents, letting them know that their kids are not turning things in. I get the feeling they’re not taking the assignments seriously because it is art. Are your kids feeling overwhelmed too, with too much homework?
    I’ve given out shading assignments to my Drawing students and Color Wheel assignments to the Painting kids. They’re super slow about getting started on their work. Huh-oh, class is starting in a couple of minutes! take care! And thank you for putting your thoughts and ideas out there to share!

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Jaye, Thanks for your feedback. Your school needs to take the lead if kids aren’t turning in work. Pace is something that is really hard to control with distance learning. The only thing I can think to try is giving them a target e.g. I expect you to get at least a quarter of your drawing finished this lesson or half the colour wheel.

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