The Art Curriculum
MR. D’S PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING ART
First and foremost, I want every Carey student to have fun creating art. I strive for the students to exhibit their individual freedom of expression and creativity. I may provide a framework (outline) for a lesson, but when I get the most joy from teaching is when a student makes my lesson his/her own and creates a piece of artwork that goes beyond my instructions. Also, I strongly believe in teaching the students about the art materials, vocabulary associated with proper use of the materials and the technique used in these many areas of the arts. It is my goal, once a student has left Carey and goes on to middle school and beyond, that I have given them the tools, vocabulary, technique and enthusiasm in the Arts that if they choose to continue in art, that they have the fundamentals to enjoy and succeed in the arts for many years to come.
In Pre-Kindergarten the students are exposed to the wide range of mediums and materials used in creating art including paint, pencils, oil/chalk pastels, clay, collage, as well as other mediums and materials. For example, students are provided with the opportunity to use clay in a non-structured environment before they are given a structured assignment where they actually make an art product. With the integration of classroom curriculum they learn how to identify shapes, colors and the different elements of art (ex. Two-dimensional vs. Three-dimensional). It is especially important in pre-kindergarten to connect with curriculum in the homeroom classroom and reinforce concepts within the art curriculum. The art curriculum at this level emphasizes opportunities for students to maximize fine and gross motor development. The pre-kindergarten projects are mostly free form, meaning the goal is for each student to enjoy the art experience and the end product is secondary. At this level, it is important to encourage self-expression and the enjoyment that can be had in making art.
In Kindergarten the students are still being exposed to the mediums and art materials used in creating art. More emphasis is placed on explaining the technique behind using the materials and art vocabulary is introduced more frequently. Every effort is made on a weekly basis to maintain consistent contact with classroom teachers to ensure that the art curriculum is integrated with the curriculum in the kindergarten classroom. For example, “Rainbow Day” is a perfect opportunity for the art curriculum to be integrated with the kindergarten curriculum. The kindergarten classes start each year reviewing the colors of the rainbow. As a culminating activity for this theme based unit, we make rainbow handprint paintings with finger paint following the color sequence of the rainbow. The kindergarten art curriculum continues to emphasize lessons and activities that maximize fine and gross motor development. Again, it is important to encourage self-expression and the enjoyment that can be had in making art.
The first grade curriculum begins to focus more on instruction of the techniques used in the various mediums of art. Students are exposed to more art vocabulary and are expected to incorporate the vocabulary into their work and language. Students are given specific directions and are provided with expected outcomes for projects. More emphasis is spent on taking their time on a given project and trying their best. For example, even if students are drawing a still-life and instruction has been provided on focusing on line and shape vs. the object, students are expected to try to see the objects they are drawing in that way and apply it to the structure of their drawing. An emphasis is put on using the whole paper, rather than creating drawings on the corner or just in the middle of the page. Students are also encouraged to put more effort into the planning process prior to producing a piece of artwork. Additionally, students are asked to draw objects, ideas, and scenery from memory. Lessons are developed around two to three themes for the year. The development of fine and gross motor skills continues to be emphasized.
In second grade, students learn to comprehend the difference between foreground, middle ground and background in regards to landscapes and landscape drawing. The understanding of technique and skills used in the various mediums and tools is developed and strengthened. Students are asked to create drawings from memory and their own life experiences using the tools that they have been taught in Art class. For example, time will be spent on drawing a human figure, discussing joints and the different elements of a figure; then later students will be asked to draw a scene of themselves doing an activity outside, incorporating those skill sets. The curriculum expands abilities to use different art materials and mediums in new and different ways too. Also, every effort is made to integrate two to three themes in art from the classroom curriculum.
In third grade, the curriculum expands knowledge of and skill level in using the various art mediums and tools. Additionally, an emphasis is placed on proper technique of using materials. An extended art vocabulary is put into place also. The use of three-dimensional objects becomes more important and discussion of balance and symmetry is discussed, culminating with 3-D models of Urban, Suburban and Rural environments (integrated with the third grade social studies curriculum).
In fourth grade, a Carey student will have a strong understanding of the various art elements, drawing (shape, line), painting (composition, blending of color), sculpture/clay (balance and form). Lessons reinforce what students learned in previous years to help make the curriculum more meaningful. These projects/lessons take anywhere between three to five class periods to create and students really get into using their skill sets. A couple of past projects have included wire sculptures and a special project entitled “Making Chagall Modern,” where students created their own Chagall-like paintings using his concepts and design (using acrylic paints on canvas boards). In fourth grade, students also create watercolor paintings of California Missions (fourth grade social studies curriculum). The fourth graders also play an integral part in creating the sets for Operetta.
In fifth grade, a Carey student will have a stronger understanding of the various art elements, drawing (shape, line), painting (composition, blending of color), sculpture/clay (balance and form). Lessons reinforce what students learned in previous years to help make the curriculum more meaningful. These projects/lessons take anywhere between three to five class periods to create and students really get into using their skill sets. A few past projects have included wire sculptures and “Making Chagall Modern”, where we created our own Chagall-like painting using his concepts and design (using acrylic paints on canvas boards). Also, fifth graders create models of hot air balloons which culminates their study of the United States (fifth grade social studies curriculum). The fifth graders also play an even bigger part in creating the sets for Operetta.