Hi! I recently finished rewriting my K-6 art curriculum plan. We are required to do this every 4 years. You can see my first blog post about organizing curriculum that I wrote a few years back.
I use the curriculum plan as a guide for my yearly planning. If students are interested in one area of art more than another, I tend to adapt my plans. If I have a brilliant idea for something new I want to try with students, I will fit it in. We don’t always get to every project in the curriculum, because they are “sample projects” which will fit the goals for the year. It is a flexible guide, not a rigid one.
I wanted to add in Artistic Behaviors and also identify the lessons as “sample projects” in order to give myself options. I can’t do the same thing exactly every year, because I need to keep things interesting.
Many of our art lessons connect with what they are studying in their Language Arts, Social Studies or Science classes. It makes sense to connect subjects. Kids come to class with background knowledge which they can apply while exploring their art. When I was hired, the directors emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the school’s curriculum and they wanted much of the art program to remain connected with other subjects.
Here is the template I came up with. These are the categories I wanted to organize my curriculum around. If you are wondering about the Artistic Behaviors, I have a huge list of “what artists do” in this blog post.
I went back and forth on how best to set up the curriculum chart. I found that writing it as a month-by-month chart was more useful to me.
The editable document can be downloaded here: Editable Curriculum Template
Here is an example of one of my months for 5th/6th grade combined classes. I see my students twice per week for 40 minutes. Sometimes the classes move faster and sometimes slower, depending on a variety of factors, such as missed school days or speed of the kids. Poppy Posters are made for Veteran’s Day. The students have a visit from the wife of a veteran, who coordinates the Veteran’s Day ceremony at the local senior center. She talks about the history and symbolism of the poppy and then they create an artwork to honor the veterans. Later, we exhibit our artwork at the senior center and the students sing songs at the Veteran’s Day ceremony. You can see some of our posters in these previous blog posts. For the graphic design unit, I show teach them about some influential graphic designers and some tips for graphic design (I don’t just show the Powerpoints all class period, I break them up into bite size portions). Then, they can choose their own graphic design project.
The curriculum guide and template was written and developed by me, Marcia Beckett, in 2016. Feel free to print out and use as you are developing your own curriculum. Please do not repost online or claim as your own. This document should not be resold or redistributed in parts or whole without prior permission.
If you would like to see the whole curriculum guide, you can download it here:
I teach at a school for academically gifted and talented students. I have small class sizes and I see my kids twice per week. Some of these lessons I have taught at public schools and most things can be adapted up or down a grade level or two, depending on the needs of the students and how in depth or advanced you teach a concept. My students come in at all different art ability levels and I end up differentiating and adjusting expectations as much as I did when I taught in a “typical” public school. The great thing about art is that a student can make a project as complex and take a project as far as they are capable of. Students who are advanced artistically can be encouraged to move in more in-depth directions depending on their interests.
The thing I am thinking about now is I know I filled the curriculum guide up so full that it is very difficult to fit in everything I planned. I will probably need to pare it down even more.
How do you write your curriculum and do you follow it strictly? Share in the comments!