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How I’m using my Curriculum Workbook

Art Teacher's curriculum workbook

After launching my Art Teacher’s Curriculum Workbook last July, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the pages as you would; dreaming up my art curriculum, recording last year’s successful projects (and not-so-successful ones), drilling down on the projects I need to do and ones that I want to try.

Some of those who have purchased the workbook like to keep the files on their computer and plan from there, but I prefer to print out the pages and place them in a binder. This is what I did:

I purchased a Martha Stewart Brand aqua binder and coordinating tabs at Staples and got started assembling my workbook.


After photocopy the daily planner on card stock (printing both sides of the paper), I used a standard 3-ring hole punch to create the binder holes (1). Of course, I punched the wrong side of the daily planner sheet and had to re-punch the holes on the other side (2). Being a creative person has its benefits though, as I was able to cover up my blooper with some cute Washi tape (3 & 4). I ran a strip of tape along the left hand edge of the “numbered” edge of the planner to cover the holes. If you look beside the number 4 on picture #3, you can see the mistake.


Since I only teach two days a week, I use the extra space (5) to scribble book suggestions. I use post-it notes to add a splash of color but also to serve as a reminder when I take the post-it note to the library to retrieve the book selection.

My favorite (and by far the most useful) page is the Project Planner Pages (6 & 7). At the beginning of every session, I jot down my list of must-do projects, a few project ideas that can fit into one-class and a couple of challenging projects. Because I do different projects for every class, I photocopy quite a few of these pages as I like to have at least one sheet of art project ideas per class. I use stickers to group projects into themes (standards, artist appreciation, units, etc).

I keep my class list (8) sorted according to grade level and keep things like class size, number of inclusion children and seating charts in this section as well.


This is a shot of one of the Art Lesson Log for a grade 6 class. Because I do so many different lessons per grade level, this page is extremely helpful in keeping me on track with how many painting projects vs pastel projects I’ve done, or how many artist studies compared to a free expression project the children completed. It also helps to jot down when the project was completed and how long it took for the kids to do the project. I like to take note of this for my blog and PDF lesson publications but also helps to gauge the rhythm of the lessons. I like to balance short lessons with one long lesson (so the kids don’t get too bored!).

Do you have the Art Curriculum Workbook? How do you use it? What are your favorite pages? Any suggestions for improvements for future versions?

Want to save time and effort in your curriculum planning? Check out The Members’ Club….Enrollment happens twice a year…don’t miss out!



  1. Thanks again for this info … I have been following your website for almost a year now. Recently I have been asked to do art classes for some homeschool children, ranging from kindergarten to 3rd grade. How do I corporate your courses. Also, some of the kids are free spirited and don’t necessary follow instruction well. Do we as instructor show them step by steps how to draw/paint? I have a hard time visual things out 🙂 Another questions, seems like all the kids are afraid to use water during water color/ painting session (so their paint are mostly almost dry). Any ideas how to show them that it’s OK to use water for painting?


    December 17, 2013

    • Hi Grace,
      Have you taken my Teaching Arty 101 e-course? It helps answer so many of your questions: how to teach painting techniques, class management, teaching different age levels, etc.
      I like to show kids techniques and allow them to do their best with their artwork. That’s probably obvious though if you read my blog! I’m not sure why the kids are afraid to use water. they probably just don’t know the proper technique.

      Patty Palmer

      December 17, 2013

  2. I love this! I purchased the curriculum planner at the beginning of the year. School had already started so I ran out of time to use it. During Christmas Break I plan on getting organized!!! I taught 3rd grade last year and due to a major cut in teaching positions I was shuffled to art. I am not artistic by any means. In fact in college my only C’s were in my art classes. But I LOVE teaching art. I may not be the best at it but thanks to your website I can pretend!

    Thanks so much!



    December 18, 2013

  3. I love the curriculum workbook! This is my first year teaching art, so this was especially helpful for me to get started with getting organized and planning lessons.

    I have a binder with tabs separating each grade (I teach grades 1-8), so I just made some extra pages for 7th & 8th grade since yours only goes through 6th.

    Within each tab/section I have my class lists (student names), then the page that describes the kids right after. I especially love these pages…it is a great reminder about “who they are” before planning something new for them. Next I have your curriculum pages with suggested lessons…I’ve already used several so far this year! Next are the blank curriculum pages for my own lesson ideas, then lastly the art project planner sheet. That’s where I put the standards covered, project title, skills/techniques/elements & principles learned and the date I did them jotted off to the side. My principal doesn’t really check these things but I want to be ready if she ever does 😉

    I found that I didn’t need some of the other pages for now (lesson plan template, elements of art sheets, or the weekly planner), so I try to include all that info on the art project planner page. For the actual lessons, instead of a template I just make an example (or have my own kids do one at home…that way I get to practice teaching it once before going to school to teach!), and then jot down notes about what I want to cover with my students. I think I didn’t need the weekly planner because at the beginning of the year I was given a school calendar (which I put at the beginning of the binder) that lists all meetings/special events so if I need to plan art schedule changes around those things, I can use that, as well as jot down which lessons I’m doing on which days. At the back of the binder is where I have all the “review” type pages about best/worst lessons…but I have to say there have been no bad lessons so far 🙂

    Thanks again for creating such a useful resource! It has been a lifesaver for me! And it looks great too, I love how colorful and well-designed it is.



    December 18, 2013

  4. I love your spirit, generosity,art, lessons, and organizational tips! You and your lessons are always an inspiration and reminder to maintain the JOY in creating and teaching!
    I’d love to do “different projects for every class” for the wonderful variety that would give the hall displays and art shows…and I see how you keep up with that in your plan book…but how do you keep from repeating a project with some students year to year?
    Do you pull all 3rd grade lessons from a certain group? For example, would you only teach Van Gogh “Sunflowers” to 3rd graders to be sure that you didn’t duplicate it with half of a 4th grade class that comes to you next year?
    And how can you stop yourself from teaching “Sunflowers” to every third grader when it’s such a beautiful project?Are there some lessons that every student gets, every year?
    or have you answered these questions in one of your packages?!
    Happy New Year!


    January 2, 2014

    • Hi Laura,
      Great questions! I do only teach a certain project to certain classes so that I don’t risk repeating projects with combo classes, etc. Using your example, I do a Van Gogh lesson every year with my 3rd graders but I mix it up. One year I’ll do Sunflowers using tempera paint, the next year I might do Sunflowers with oil pastel. The next year, I might do Starry Night with tempera paint. Basically, I’m teaching a Van Gogh art lesson and hi-lighting his techniques. It does take a certain amount of organization to do this and quite honestly, it might be easier to have tow full art curriculums that offers similar techniques and standards but have different lessons. Then, you can alternate the curriculums every year. This is what I used to do in my early days of teaching.
      Hope this helps!

      Patty Palmer

      January 2, 2014

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