Susan Riley | March 2012

Stepping into the Painting: Arts Integration Technique

Sometimes, a painting is just begging to come to life.  That’s where the inspiration for this Arts Integration Technique came from.  I call this technique “Stepping into the Painting”, and in essence, that’s what the students are doing.  Using a piece of art, they become a character or object that they see.  This in and of itself is not a new idea…the next part is what makes this technique go from good to great.

After students choose a character or object from the painting to become, they must begin to verbally tell a story.  One character begins by giving some background into what they character is seeing, thinking, feeling, etc.  That character then chooses another character in the painting who must fit the previous story into their own character’s story and so on until everyone gets a turn.


Stepping into the Painting Technique, Education Closet



This technique leads to rich theme, plot and character development, as well as building fabulous observational art skills and even works on the skills of speaking and listening, which are central to Common Core Language Arts.  And today…it’s YOURS!  Just download the step-by-step technique poster above and give this a try in your classroom in the upcoming weeks.  

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan