Seeking PTA, Art Docent and Home-School Art Curriculum Advice

art-curriculum

A while back, I had a request from a reader asking if I’d ever consider making a curriculum for a PTA art program. The kind when an art volunteer (AKA: parent) picks up a lesson plan, gathers a few supplies and delivers a lesson for her child’s class. I know exactly what she meant as this is what I did for many years before I began teaching art.

The teacher would ask me to come in for an hour and teach an art class. The art lesson didn’t have to be tied to a curriculum or teach any technique, the kids just needed some art. There would only be a few supplies available. My children’s classes were lucky because I was there to teach them something, but the other classes, not so much. There are still many, many schools who do not have art teachers (certified or not) so when my reader asked me for some help, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

But here’s where I need your advice. I have outlined a good representation of artist appreciation, art history, literature and techniques for the K-6 curriculum and I am in the process of producing the content, but I’d like to get your opinion on a few things.…

  • If you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use?

  • How much do you know about art techniques? Nothing up to everything…gauge yourself!

  • If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, what are your biggest logistical problems? Art supplies, storage, tables, kid management, lack of visual aids, etc.

  • If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, how much time do you have to teach an art lesson?

  • What would be the BIGGEST help for you in terms of teaching tools to allow you to conduct a lesson in a classroom or at home? (Videos for the child, handouts, power points,  teacher script, etc.)

Leave your answers, comments, suggestions or even questions in the comment section below. I know your insight will help me produce a better program that can meet the needs of all those amazing volunteers and home-school parents out there!

23 comments

  1. Betsy Harloff says:

    If you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use? I like all the mediums except I have never used charcols.

    How much do you know about art techniques? Nothing up to everything…gauge yourself! I really have no idea I would say some knowladge.

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, what are your biggest logistical problems? Art supplies, storage, tables, kid management, lack of visual aids, etc. Time and visual aids, I do love that you show other children artwork so the kids get an idea of what other kids are doing.

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, how much time do you have to teach an art lesson? 1-2 hours

    What would be the BIGGEST help for you in terms of teaching tools to allow you to conduct a lesson in a classroom or at home? (Videos for the child, handouts, power points, teacher script, etc.) n/a

    - See more at: http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2013/11/19/seeking-pta-art-docent-and-home-school-art-curriculum-advice/#sthash.deWYoZxw.dpuf

    • Adriane Cole says:

      Hi Patty, I teach after school art classes and I also teach classes at my local Art Museum which include home-schooled children. Beyond that, I am an Art Education BS graduate, so I’ve taught in a “real” classroom and all sorts of different places. I hope I can give you some insight into the differences I face :)

      If you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use? Oil Pastels and Watercolor seem to be most successful over a wide range of ages. They are also very versatile and can be used together and separate in a variety of different ways. I hate using crayons and colored pencils in general, sometimes it is nice for students to feel a little confused by less familiar materials, they work a little slower :)

      How much do you know about art techniques? Nothing up to everything…gauge yourself! I have my degree in Art Education so I would say 9 out of 10 things I know. The only thing I don’t have a lot of experience with is using a Kiln.

      If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, what are your biggest logistical problems? Art supplies, storage, tables, kid management, lack of visual aids, etc. Visual aids, hands down! My local museum does not have a TV or screen projection in their studio, which is difficult for me because I like to use as many visual aids as possible.

      If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, how much time do you have to teach an art lesson?

      What would be the BIGGEST help for you in terms of teaching tools to allow you to conduct a lesson in a classroom or at home? (Videos for the child, handouts, power points, teacher script, etc.) In a multiple child situation, handouts. Power points are helpful and I love them, but as I mentioned before, power points are not always feasible to use.

  2. Kim says:

    Homeschool Parent Reply:

    1. Favorites are pencil, markers, watercolors, colored pencils, pastels (not oil)…..I would almost likely never use charcoal (though we have some in the house) :-)

    2. I know a fair amount about art technique. I wanted to be an art teacher if I was not an elementary classroom teacher. (And yet, art lessons for just one student who doesn’t particularly have her momma’s affinity for art can be challenging! Especially because I sometimes feel lacking in the knowledge I’d like to have…..I spend time researching and have some books, but nothing that is as comprehensive as I think I’d like to put together a well rounded art education program.)

    3. Logistical problems: Storage (!!) :-)
    Other problems: Buying quality supplies at reasonable prices

    4. I have as much time as we need.

    5. Biggest help: lessons organized in a logical way, with skills that build on one another and that teach art elements, technique, vocabulary, art appreciation, etc.—An all around excellent art education program. (Basically what you would teach—I’ve followed your blog for a long time, though I don’t think I’ve ever commented. The thought of a curriculum made by you for use at home is very exciting (!!!) so I had to comment today! :-) )

    I’d also benefit from video lessons for me—-teaching me what I need to know to help teach my children. I’d read this in book format as well, but if videos would be easier to do, then I’d be thankful for those as well. Maybe your teaching Art 101 already fits this? I need to look into that more.

    Thank you for all you freely share and have available for purchase.

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Thanks Kim for your great feedback…and welcome to comment-land! You would probably love the Teaching Art 101 e-course. Lots of technique tips and great home-school art lessons.

      • Kim says:

        Can you please delete that comment showing my alternate email?! Oh goodness….and maybe just delete this one too. It’s enough to know that you know I’ve said thank you for the creation of the plans. Sorry to be a bother!

        -Kim

  3. april bly says:

    Wow! These are great questions!
    I am a homeschooling mama, and teach art at our homeschool co-op, and also run an art camp during the summer. I have no training, except DSS and Pinterest! I learn as I go–with the kids! That said, I LOVE it, and DSS has helped me be able to teach—Thank you! Favorite lesson from DSS, hands down, is Matisse’s Goldfish! Produces a broad range of incredible artwork every time!
    Currently my class is 2 hours once a week, I have 25 students ranging in age from 7 to 12. I teach from a cart, and cannot get into my classroom until class actually starts! We do have a sink, so that is a great help :)
    We use oil pastels and water colors the most, they are my favorites. We have tried almost all mediums, but we keep coming back to the basics of glue, paint and paper. They seem to be where we are the most successful. They also LOVE clay and wire sculptures, and collage!
    My greatest wishes would be more hand outs, visual aids, possibly a short history or some examples of famous artists and their art work? I usually teach them about an artist, a style or a technique. I love to show big, beautiful examples to get them excited! That’s one of my biggest problems, no wifi in the room that I’m in, and I spend all of my money on actual supplies. I have a few cheap posters that I picked up along the way, and books, but I’d love to have some dvds or down loaded clips, or print outs! Last semester I wanted them to be inspired by Chihuly, but my computer crashed and I had no signal on my phone…what a disaster! I tried to describe his work to them….almost impossible! I had to re-do that lesson another day :)
    Not sure if I answered your questions at all? Feel free to ask me again and I’ll try to answer a bit clearer!
    Thanks again, Patty, TRULY! You’ve made art possible for so many!
    April Bly

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Thank you Aril! What great comments. I understand about the inexpensive visuals. I use hard copies in my classroom but these can be expensive for some. Do you ever use videos as instructions or do you prefer to teach the subject yourself?

  4. sahnya@gmail.com says:

    1. Materials would depend on the age, but generally I stay away from acryllic and charcoal for group lessons with younger students.

    2. Familiar with most art techniques. Degree is art, organize outside artists for school and also teach some.

    3. Logistical issues are often having a central location for supplies (some teachers have a lot of one medium but none of another). It is important to have lessons that can be done in a variety of lessons (one, two, and maybe three).

    4. For older grades I have found it more difficult to get more than 50 – 60 minutes. Often classes have schedules that make a lesson beyond 60 minutes difficult.

    5. The biggest help is examples, a variety of example, perhaps even done by different ages. Your directions are always clear. Someone without art confidence probably needs handouts, examples, and more details on supplies, time expectations, etc.

    other – I would love to see some collaborative work too. Sometimes school fundraisers entail a class art piece. Teachers and parent volunteers are sometimes at a loss for ideas. There have been some amazing projects and some, well some are lacking.

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Thanks, Sahnya! Your suggestion about collaborative work is good–and popular–everyone wants to know what to do as we all have to make a fundraising art project every year. Maybe that’s a separate post!

  5. Karen says:

    – I teach once a week in my home for 60-90 min. We usually use tempera paints, watercolor, oil pastel and paper/glue.

    – Techniques– eh, a little bit. I learn from the great art ed bloggers out there including you!

    – Biggest problem in probably space. The kids work at my kitchen counter so I’m limited to 3 kids. Would love more visual aids and places to put them but when I need them I pull out the iPad. And no kiln, so no clay projects. :(

    Biggest help would be lessons for chalk pastel. Just don’t know what else to do with them. We did Paul Klee cats and they came out fantastic!! Videos and handouts aren’t that impt for me, just clear step by step directions.

    My tip for other homeschoolers— I use “white” wipe off boards instead of doing sloppy copies on paper. The kids can easily erase and warm up for as long as they want before they are ready to begin. No wasted paper, no pencil erasing, and the kids think white boards are so much fun!

  6. If you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use? – I use everything but prefer pastels and charcoal for younger children.

    How much do you know about art techniques? Certainly not an expert, but would try most things first and then if I think children can attempt it will adapt it as necessary…I never just let them try without me doing it first!

    Logistical issues are often having a central location for supplies (some teachers have a lot of one medium but none of another). It is important to have lessons that can be done in a variety of lessons (one, two, and maybe three). – not sure what you mean by this? Space is awful at my school and after school club.
    Access to water and clearing up is awful too…but I carry on regardless for the children!
    Storage is impossible…people filch resources so I have to take them home….have a big shed and a spare room!!

    I teach 4 hours a week at an after school club. I run an art club for under 7 year olds once a week for an hour too.

    Biggest help is clear lesson plans and materials needed etc…yours are fab

  7. Hi Patty, I homeschool my 5 children and do art projects on a regular basis. I have also held art classes for other children out of my home as well. I used to be an art educator before I had my family, so I’ve experienced all of these areas. Here’s my thoughts.

    I love oil pastels, pastels, and watercolors the most and probably use them the most. Just because they are bright, colorful, and easy to use and clean up. I do enjoy using regular tempra paint as well, especially after learning your double dipping technique. I also enjoy using collage papers. The hardest one for me to use is clay. I would love to do more with it, but I don’t have anywhere to fire real clay. The air dry clay breaks too easily once dried. I have used model magic the most when I have done clay projects, but even then it’s not the same thing as clay and quite a bit more expensive.

    I received my bachelors in Art Education, so I personally am very familiar with the various art techniques, principles and elements.

    Some of my biggest problems is where and how to store everything while it’s drying or until you can finish it. Especially with my private classes. I would also say visual aids. I can easily look them up on the computer and find some, but often don’t have the extra time to spend all that time searching, putting it together and printing it. I’d love a basic handout for every lesson, that tells either about the technique, the artist, or background to the project, so they can review it later, or send it home with them for parents. Another problem is the space to actually do the project. One kitchen table to put kids at, hold supplies and create art. So it’s a bit tight/ messy sometimes.

    Usually with the private classes it’s kept at about an hour. With homeschool – as long as I want or as long as it takes them to do a project.

    I think videos for the child would awesome, as well as a handout about the techniques or artist as mentioned above. I would love to have images to show handy and ready to use. I also love it when you have the handout showing how to draw something and the steps taken.

    I am excited to see what you come up with! I’m pretty good about being able to come up with some ideas, but I have loved using the ones you’ve already put together. My kids have loved it too!

  8. Arhagba Abigail says:

    Hi Patty. I teach kids ages between 7 and 12 and it’s been fun all the way. It is a private school and I’ve been privileged to have my daily art supply needs met.

    I really applaud all your effort!

    -All the mediums are great for kids, especially the kid especially the older ones. Each has a different-kind-of-special experience.

    -I know quite a lot about techniques. We make use of oil pastels, poster colours, wax crayons and the like, most of the time, as it leaves less mess.

    -My biggest challenge has been, time. There’s just not enough time. That’s because I take them only once, the entire week.

    -I’ve got just 40 minutes do do all that I’ve scheduled to do for the week.

    -Teacher script is a must have. Power Points will also help out a great deal.

  9. jshey@astound.net says:

    Hi Patty,

    I love all of your lesson plans, thank you for all of the hard work.
    I am a homeschool parent that had no prior art experience. Using lots of your material, I teach a monthly art class to a homeschool group.
    With some of your lessons that calls for more than one session of art class, I would have to prepare the first or second steps at home for the kids, and they complete the final stage during our meeting time. I would like to see more lessons that can be completed in one session (2 hours).
    For medium, I would love to try charcoal, I have been searching for materials in this area. I stay away from acrylic, because it is hard to clean and pricey (I pay for all of my supply). We love oil pastel, chalk pastel and watercolor, occasionally we use tempera. Lots of your crafty lessons are very popular too, for example, painted paper woven fish.
    My biggest challenge is to find a balance between too much structure and lack of guidance. What I have found is that my students respond to step by step drawing (structure) more than I expect. I would like to see more of such teaching from your lessons. I also love how you introduce an artist and projects to complete the lesson.
    Visual aid and story books often accompanied my teaching to the kids, videos are helpful too, but I send those out for individual viewing prior to meeting time.

    Patty, your sharing of rich experience has really benefit the community of art teachers, I am so glad I found you.

    Thanks a million,
    Ying-ya

  10. stephanie weathers says:

    Ah… I’m that volunteer that wants this lesson/e-book/whatever it turns out to be! I volunteer once week in a 3K-8th grade private school. I have kids from 25minutes to 45 minutes age determined… I do have an art room (art in a cart is soooo challenging!) Supplies I provide myself for the school, otherwise there wouldn’t be much—

    you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use? —- tempera is favorite as the results are the richest at all levels… likely wouldn’t use charcoal as I don’t know much about it…

    How much do you know about art techniques? Nothing up to everything…gauge yourself! — probably not much as am not degreed or personally an artist… more like a wannabe!

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, what are your biggest logistical problems? Art supplies, storage, tables, kid management, lack of visual aids, etc. — biggest challenge is trying to teach a similar lesson to such a wide age range… similar lesson important as there is five minutes between each class (if I get done on time), and for ease of instruction, purchasing materials, etc… —- kid management is a secondary issue as I want art to be fun, relaxing and a time to enjoy each other, however some kids just get carried away!

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, how much time do you have to teach an art lesson?— 25-45 minutes per grade.

    What would be the BIGGEST help for you in terms of teaching tools to allow you to conduct a lesson in a classroom or at home? (Videos for the child, handouts, power points, teacher script, etc.) —- power points would be great as sometimes for those with input overdrive, I tend to put too much into them in terms of research… but good directions are important too.

    -

  11. PAULA RODGERS says:

    I teach both home schooled and after school art and have students from K to 12th grade. We use basic white construction paper most of the time and watercolor paper or Bristol board for at least 1-2 “big” projects during the year. Oil pastel, watercolor, sharpies, markers and tempra paint would be the most used materials but we also do at least one air dry clay project a year (no kiln) and a 3-d project or paper weaving project / year. I never use charcoal and seldom use chalk pastels( but we did the Diego Rivera Mother’s Helper unit and I may have to change that! ) We are a small school and are blessed to have a supply closet and recently an eagle scout installed a fantastic drying rack for us. In general I love to use books for the K-2 age group and get ideas from the illustrations or from YOU! ( DSS has been a treasure trove over the years…I can’t thank you enough) We try to mix up difficulty of lessons so that the longer ones are broken up by a one lesson project. Recently we inherited a computer monitor and are now able to show youtube videos to the older classes…wonderful. We often do guided drawings having them practice before they do their own interpretation. Also we try to show finished work at the end of some of the projects to learn how to appreciate everyone’s unique point of view. My current load is 6 classes over a 2 day period and that changes from year to year. Our class time is 45 min to an hour.

    Oh..and I have always “done” art …we homeschooled our children and I have moved from an aide in their art enrichment school ( art, music, movement and the art of writing) to a teacher. I have begun a degree in Fiber arts but am still in process there. I would not consider myself to be an expert but love the experience and hold in high regard those who do this full time and in the public school system! Enough from me :) hope this helps…I can guarantee that your teachers and helpers will be blown away by your guide.

  12. Ashley says:

    1. Watercolors/acrylics
    2. Art teacher and studio artist- so could write a book about art techniques
    3. Biggest problem is class management
    4. About 1 hour for each lesson
    5. I like handouts or power points. Currently making my lessons into power points. However I would pay to have them already done.

    Hope that helps! Thanks for all you do as you inspire creativity!

  13. Christi says:

    These are great suggestions and it’s such a shame that art is not a bigger part of education because it should be! Kids need to be able to express themselves and if we give them an artistic outlet they may someday be a professional artist or art expert or something of value in that career field.

  14. Sara says:

    I recently retired from teaching and became the PTA art volunteer. I am loving my “job” I have volunteer moms that sometimes show up to help. My educational degrees are in early childhood, but I did teach fourth grade for 7 years. My art background comes from developing hobbies of tole painting, quilting and other crafts. I did take a Monart drawing class several years ago. I provide 1 class for each grade level each month. I get 1 hour, and usually go a little over.
    My favorite medium is paint. We do have a kiln and I am learning to use it. I try to integrate the art lesson with other curriculum areas. I found a great resource The Art Lab, at the Eric Carle art museum this summer and of course Pinterest. I am having way too much fun for a retired teacher. look forward to your book.

  15. dianeplo33@yahoo.com says:

    Hi Patty,

    Came along this post as I was looking through the site. I am a homeschooling parent of an almost 6 yo, 4 yo and 2 yo. I am looking for something I can use for them (more specifically the older two). Where do you suggest I start? I did see the planner and the e-course you offer. Is your planner suitable for homeschool use or specifically for classrooms? I specifically would like to prepare my curriculum for the upcoming year (I know its early) but I’m not sure where to start or how much they need. Can you direct me in the right direction? Thank you!!

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Hi Dianne,
      The curriculum planner is for anyone who needs to lay out an art plan for their school year. Many home-schooler’s purchased it. The teaching Art 101 ecourse would be great as well as it will teach you all the fundamentals for teaching art to kids. It focuses on drawing, painting and technique so your kids can follow along with the videos.

  16. Talia Folkestad says:

    I’d like to say first that I love your site. I’m a home school mama and have been struggling with how to best teach art, as my own education was a little art light.

    If you could pick your favorite art medium (oil pastels, pencil, charcoal, acrylics, watercolors, etc) in which to teach a lesson, what would it be? Is there any art supply in particular that you would never use? I don’t have a whole lot of experience with most mediums. But I’d be open to use anything. I might be a little leery of pastels, it seems like they get eveywhere.

    How much do you know about art techniques? Nothing up to everything…gauge yourself! I’ve had nearly no formal art training. I can do some decent pencil drawings, but that’s it.

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, what are your biggest logistical problems? Art supplies, storage, tables, kid management, lack of visual aids, etc.
    My biggest problems are probably art supplies and lack of visual aids.

    If you teach in a home-school environment or in the classroom as a volunteer, how much time do you have to teach an art lesson? About an hour of concentrated teaching/supervision. But once the kids get going they can work for a few hours.

    What would be the BIGGEST help for you in terms of teaching tools to allow you to conduct a lesson in a classroom or at home? (Videos for the child, handouts, power points, teacher script, etc.)probably videos for the child, as my own skill is lacking, it would be better if they could watch someone else demonstrate techniques.

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