Einstein had it right when he said “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”. It truly is.
The way children learn and react in the art classroom is evidenced by this. Usually when a classroom gets a little rowdy, or boredom seems to set in, the teacher needs to assess his/her teaching techniques. There are a lot of things to consider here.
We need to keep the material we are teaching fresh and interesting. Doing the same old projects year after year will reflect in the teaching because the teacher is bored too! It’s a good idea to keep record, old lesson plans and such, as a reminder of what you have done before. When there is a general art class that combines age groups and students retake your class the next year, those kids will remember anything repeated and will tell you about it.
Teaching creativity is tough anyway and when teaching across grade levels it makes it even more so. The project has to be easy enough where students experience success, and challenging enough to teach them something of value. They know when they are not being taught.
The art elements and principles are a good place to go when searching for teaching materials. There are a million projects you can do to cover these and not repeat yourself.
Some teachers in elementary school question the validity of teaching the art elements and principles on the elementary level, saying they get those in high school. Well, I am a firm believer in teaching those to elementary, it’s never too early to learn them. Even on into high school it never hurts to refresh, and for some they are hearing that for the first time.
Why learn them? Can you play a concerto without learning the scales? To me the elements and principles are as basic to visual arts as musical scales are to music. You can still design creative lessons using these, let the children build on them.