An Edutopia article that does a great job of discussing how many types of arts create a wealth of opportunity to increase the critical thinking abilities of the students involved. When students have to conceptualize what they will create, sculpt, draw, paint, etc., they are considering many facets of information that require that they pull from higher order thinking skills. This gives you the teacher the opportunity to pour into your students.
I think this is an excellent visual aid for the students and the teachers as they are increasing the usage of higher order thinking skills in the classroom. This allows the teachers and students to see the types of words and strategies that are included on each level and they can gauge how far up the spectrum they are reaching so they can reach even higher the next time.
Toward the bottom of this page, you will find the section that speaks to visual arts teaching strategies. The great thing about these types of instructional strategies is the ability to span across all learning styles, thus giving all students the ability to learn and master the content, which should be the ultimate goal. This is also a great way to provide the students with a creative outlet.
This video is a great culmination of what has been discussed thus far as it clearly depicts how much of an impact the arts can have on the students' ability to think critically. There are so many ways to extend and deepen the learning of the students through asking them probing questions. Why did you draw that picture? What does it represent? What led you to that color selection? This makes the students think more deeply about what they have presented to you.
This video shows that arts are not just a good way to encourage critical thinking skills but it also helps to improve the writing skills of the students. When I was teaching, I always remembered Elementary school teachers stating the power of coloring because it helped with writing and this connects really well with this.