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Art Curriculum Template and Guide

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.

Art Curriculum Matrix You can download the Curriculum Matrix in its entirety here.

Art Curriculum Download.

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.

Curriculum Template

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.

Curriculum Template ExampleThe 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:

Art Curriculum Download.

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!


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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

7 Responses to Art Curriculum Template and Guide

  1. Sharon Wnetrzak says:

    Thank you Marcia!!! THANK YOU for the Art Curriculum Template!!! TREMENDOUS!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Susan S. Ling says:

    Our district just adopted a new curriculum and we do not have a map yet. I’m trying to get ideas on how we can incorporate our standards and create a curriculum map and the best way to organize. Thank you for sharing all of your hard work and a template. You are amazing! Am I allowed to share this with a few other art teachers to see your fabulous work?


    HI, I am a retired ESE teacher and have spread my wings to doing ( teaching) arts (and crafts) at a nursing home near my home. I have done this for about 2 years now and am always interested in curriculum ideas for my ladies. They are living in the nursing home because of physical limitations, most are wheelchair bound and dexterity is always an issue. This does not limit their minds of course and nursing home living can be mind numbing. I love how your ideas build and plan to purchase several of your packets. Your curriculum is just what I am looking for to give my ladies something to ponder and learn. I have searched the nursing home curriculums. What I find is dreadful, tacky, childish and truthfully just time-filling. Have you considered creating an arts curriculum for nursing home residents?

    • That is awesome! I have no experience working with nursing home residents, but I could see that there would be a lot of need for good art project ideas for this demographic. Since my grandfather died of Alzheimers, I have always wanted to work in a facility as an art/activity coordinator. (I suppose I would need a different educational background for this.) Some day when I have more time I will at least volunteer. I’d love to hear more about what you do with your residents.

  4. Camille Goralski says:

    I love how you’ve put together all of the concepts — I am constantly trying to get the perfect scope and sequence and after 11 years of trying, I’ve decided that it’s nice to have a “map” but it’s more important to read your kids skill level and enthusiasm for a topic and go with that. It’s a blend right? This is a tremendous body of work you’ve done! Thank you for sharing it!

    • I’m so glad you’ve found it useful! 🙂 It really is a blend of figuring out what you “should” cover and balancing that with where the kids are at!