In my art classes, I make it a point to bring artist prints to each grade level throughout the year, so my students get used to talking about art as well as creating it. I travel to the K-2 classrooms at my school as my schedule allows, so when I am going into a classroom, I bring a print or poster with me. I put it up at the front of the room and students sit on the floor in front of it. In my art room, I have a projector and a screen that are connected to my computer, so I have a broader range of images to choose from and show. Often I choose a piece that is colorful and contemporary, or one that incorporates many different elements and/or principles of art. The work of Stuart Davis is an excellent example of this, as are Romare Bearden's collages and Franz Marc's animal paintings.
One of New Haven Public School's Visual Arts Power Standards focuses solely on students' ability to respond to art. The standards outline four steps when responding to a piece of art: Describe, Analyze, Interpret, and Decide. Whenever I show a piece of art to my students, I ask them to tell me what they see. They can list objects, people and anything else in front of them. The question deals with just the surface of the artwork in that I am not yet asking them to think more deeply about the work. After they have told me what they see literally, I will ask them to talk about the elements of art they recognize in the work. The seven elements of art are line, color, shape, value, space, form, and texture. A combination of any or all of these is present in any work of art. Students begin learning about these in kindergarten, and these vocabulary terms are taught through twelfth grade. The students will then create their own interpretation of the artist's intent, which will differ widely depending on the student (this is the subjective nature of art that I mentioned previously). Lastly, they will decide their opinion about the piece. Do they like or dislike it and why? (See the appendix for these visual arts power standards.)