My instruction is generally based on the North Carolina Essential Standards for Visual Arts. This curriculum can be found here. In general, my instruction focuses on the elements (line, color, shape, form, texture, space, and value) and principles (movement, balance, emphasis, contrast, pattern, rhythm, and unity) of art. Students experience a variety of media, including drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, ceramics, digital art, and others. I am fortunate to teach a subject that readily connects with many other curricular areas, so I actively seek opportunities to inject our lessons with concepts from science, social studies, math, and language arts.
How Often? How Long?
Your student comes to art once per week for approximately 45 minutes. Occasionally, due to field trips, special events at school, or inclement weather, your student will miss their art class for the week. If your student is in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, they may also see me for an enrichment club on Fridays. Often these enrichment clubs focus on a particular art medium or skill, but they may also be completely unrelated to art. Students choose these enrichment clubs at the beginning of each nine week quarter. This year, in grades K through 2, each class will also see me for an additional enrichment class for one nine-week period.
Where’s My Child’s Artwork?
You should see your child's artwork brought home throughout the school year; however, if you don't, this may be for one of several very good reasons! Often their artwork is displayed somewhere in the school for up to several weeks after completion. I tend to display student artwork in the cafeteria, and classroom teachers often hold on to student artwork to display it in their room or on the bulletin boards in their halls.
Also, I begin collecting artwork for the All-County Art Show (held each spring) as early as possible. If I do hold on to a student's work for the show, I let the student know this when the rest of the class's work is returned. Of course, students are usually thrilled to hear this (though I make sure they understand that not every piece I hold will necessarily make it into the show because space is sometimes limited). I do my best to have as many students as possible represented at the show!
Art Room Rules and Consequences (PBIS)
In the Art Room, we emphasize the five expectations of our school-wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) system of behavior management. The expectations include being safe, responsible, respectful, engaged, and being a leader. In the Art Room, entire classes are awarded a "splash" to add to their weekly total when they generally exhibit these behaviors as a group. When individuals exhibit positive behaviors that go above and beyond these expectations, they can choose a prize from my prize "Fun Bucket". When classes fall short of these expectations, they do not earn a "splash" for that day in Art.
This year, if individual students are misbehaving, they receive a "strike" in the Strike Zone (a chart where I can temporarily write their name along with a check mark to indicate a strike). This first strike is just a warning but makes them aware that further strikes might happen. Usually this warning is enough to correct the behavior, but if it doesn't, a second strike requires them to spend a few minutes in one of my "Time Out Zones" in the rear of the classroom. Students in 2nd through 5th grade spend that time copying down some sentences meant to re-focus them on doing a better job when they return to their normal seat. A third strike means the student must spend the rest of the class in the Time Out Zone, and I contact a parent or guardian by phone or email to enlist their help in changing behavior.
I assign students grade (O for Outstanding, S for Satisfactory, I for Improving Progress, or N for No Progress) for each project they complete (and sometimes at intermediate stages of a longer unit). This grade is derived from four areas: Art Concepts (Did they show understanding and use what we were learning?), Creativity (Did they put their own "stamp" on their work? Were the ideas their own?), Care (Did they show attention to detail? Did they take pride in their work?), and Behavior/Effort/Attitude (Did they follow classroom rules? Did they give their best effort?).
We go over these criteria at the beginning of the year, and they form the basis of my feedback to students while they are completing their work. At the end of each quarter, their grade (O, S, I, or N) is basically an average of these project grades.