Amy Traggianese | March 2018

Increase Creativity with Art Prompts

A choice-based art room in an elementary school is great for student choice, but what’s a teacher to do with those few students who just cannot choose what to create? And how about other students who choose materials their friends choose, but are not productive?

It is the second year I have been teaching with choice, and this year I have noticed that there are some students who need a little bit more of a focus to create. I really didn’t want to tell them what to create, but I needed a solution that would appeal to my students.


My own personal challenge with creating my own art has been time (of course) and a place to dedicate as a studio. So on January first this year, I joined #K12ArtChat in the #K12ArtChallenge by doing something creative every day. We have been using the book Creative Sprint by Noah Scalin and Mica Scalin. Their book gives you a creative prompt every day for 30 days, and there are six 30 day challenges to experience.

I’ve completed around 45 creative prompts so far and it’s something I look forward to each day!  Creating something and sharing it with others every day is interesting. Some creations that I thought were terrible (really!), I have posted on Instagram and other people have commented on them how much they love them! Crazy and true, here’s an example.

Okay, back to my classroom: I needed something to prompt my students into creating something original. So I thought of a drawing… no, an art prompt like the creative sprint prompts that my students could choose. I knew I had to make it intriguing and fun.

I bought a second hand magnetic board with tins on it last summer. It used to be an advent calendar, but I thought I could use it for something in the art studio. Ta-da! It became the “Challenge” idea board! I created a document with 25 different challenges, printed them on cardstock, cut and folded them so they would fit in the tins.

The novelty of choosing a tin and having to accept the challenge inside was a hit with my students! After I explained how it worked with each class, many students wanted to try it. Here’s a robot created by a second grade student:

The top flips open to keep things inside it!

Here’s another art challenge that was created by a fourth grade student:

Do your students need a little nudge towards more creativity?

Have you tried art prompts or art challenges?

Here’s a link to my current challenges inside the tins!

Try them out, let me know how it goes!

About the Author

Amy Traggianese has been an elementary visual arts educator in CT since 1995. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, she has over 30 years of arts integration experience. Amy specializes in integrating language arts, math, science and technology into the choice art studio. She is an arts integration coach for The Institute for ARts Integration and STEAM. Amy is an active educator voice on Facebook and Twitter and loves a good Twitter chat. Connect with her on social media or at