Inspiration

This Art Teacher Started (co)VIDeos on YouTube to Engage Students During Lockdown

Chanya Kapoor
This Art Teacher Started (co)VIDeos on YouTube to Engage Students During Lockdown

Billy Penn is an elementary school art teacher at Killearn Lakes Elementary School, Florida, with the coolest classroom in Leon County. The teacher, who’s famous for his leprechaun-themed murals and life-size cut-outs of famous artists like Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh, did not let his teaching and sharing of experiences about art restrict during the pandemic. To stay in touch with his students and also conduct art classes for them while the schools are closed, he’s come up with an idea of creating a YouTube channel to share informative (co)VIDeos with his little viewers!

To engage with children creatively during the lockdown, he recorded himself planning the lessons for different grades and also showed the students his progress on new school murals. Every video also consists of diverse art activities that kids can enjoy while at home along with some useful tips to stay safe during the pandemic. 

Penn’s exciting curriculum also includes activities that teach kindergarteners and first graders how to create collages by using scrap paper, old magazines, and grocery labels from their recycle bin. Slightly older kids are given assignments to learn about the art history of places like Egypt. 

We like how, in his videos, he’s tried to create a connection of art with other disciplines. He has challenged his students to establish the connection and apply the principles learnt in his lessons to other subjects. For example, you can see him discussing his The Florida Highwaymen landscape project, instructing students about the concepts like foreground and background, and also the difference between transparent, translucent, opaque. These concepts and artwork could be related to History and Science, according to him. 

Though this transition has not been easy for all educators, in the opinion of Penn ‘he has embraced the increased freedom and artist in him likes little less structure to the days.

Link to Billy Penn's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCConFPR6jL-M96xX7-7AY8A

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