Design your Dream Art Curriculum

art-curriculum

The funny thing about heading back to school is that we dread it until we can’t avoid it any longer. Then we step into our classroom, decorate our bulletin boards, organize our brand new supplies and we start to feel excited and dare I say–actually look forward to the first day of school. Right?

To keep the magic going, the BEST thing you can do for a seamless transition is to make sure you have your art projects planned. Knowing what to teach on the first day and the second day and the seventh day can leave most teachers in a state of panic. The first few years of my teaching career always began with these questions:

What lessons are best for Kinders?

What supplies are best?

What techniques should the kids do first?

Is there a sequence of skills that should be followed?

I spent A-LOT of time thinking about these things and built this blog around helping other teachers make sense of what to teach to kids in elementary school.

 

Here are my best tips:

  1. DETERMINE WHAT SUPPLIES YOU HAVE & KNOW HOW THEY WORK
  2. BALANCE ART TECHNIQUES WITH A VARIETY OF SUBJECTS
  3. KNOW THE SKILL SET OF YOUR CHILDREN
  4. SOURCE PROJECTS WITH KID-APPEAL
  5. DO WHAT YOU CAN AND ALWAYS IMPROVE
  6. ELEMENTS OF ART CAN BE TAUGHT IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

Let’s break each one down:

1. DETERMINE WHAT SUPPLIES YOU HAVE & KNOW HOW THEY WORK

Design your Dream Art Curriculum

Most of us do not inherit a classroom full of fabulous art supplies and many of us have budgets the size of the coffee run for Starbucks. Don’t let this break your spirits. Supplies for art can be found anywhere. Will it take more work? Yes, but the students won’t know the difference. Ask parents to save cereal boxes: they make a great canvas for tempera paints and a great backing for paper collages. Use wrapping paper, newspaper and magazines for collages, use food coloring for liquid watercolor, etc.

If you don’t have fancy watercolor paper, don’t worry. Watercolors still work on regular drawing paper but mixing won’t be as great. Markers, crayons and pastels look amazing on card stock.

Figure out what you have and ROCK the lessons you are able to do.

 

2. BALANCE ART TECHNIQUES WITH A VARIETY OF SUBJECTS

Design your Dream Art Curriculum

One of the problems creative folks like us have is the desire to try every new art project we see on Pinterest. This is fine but be careful that you offer your students the chance to create with a wide variety of art techniques, supplies and subjects. There have been times when I looked in one of my student’s portfolios and realized that I did three flower-themed projects in a row. Not good.

 

3. KNOW THE SKILL SET OF YOUR CHILDREN

Design your Dream Art Curriculum

Knowing what projects work for a certain skill set (often categorized by grade level) is one of the KEY components of my success as an art teacher. Introducing an art concept that is too hard, or with too many steps, or not enough creative opportunities can leave a child feeling defeated. This can be avoided by experimenting, taking notes and using lessons designed for a specific age.

 

4. SOURCE PROJECTS WITH KID-APPEAL

Design your Dream Art Curriculum

Nothing–and I mean nothing–will stop creativity in its tracks more than offering lessons that are boring. Try using subject matter that is inspiring, relevant and fun for kids. The art techniques don’t change, just the engagement. This is the BEST way to keep your class full of happy kids, engaged and focused.

 

5. DO WHAT YOU CAN AND ALWAYS IMPROVE

Give yourself lots of time and opportunity to improve as your teaching career evolves. I started teaching knowing absolutely nothing about kid’s art. I remembered what it felt like creating art as a child and I experimented with ideas and supplies until I found what worked for me. Keep learning, keep asking, go to conferences and workshops. Your collection of fool-proof lessons will build and build.

 

6. ELEMENTS OF ART CAN BE TAUGHT IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

Design your Dream Art Curriculum

For a number of years I felt bad about not offering my students a form-based art project. I though FORM meant creating something out of clay or papiér maché. It wasn’t until an art teacher friend said that so many of my projects already include form through shading and space. I was so relieved! So do what you can and know that a single art lesson has the potential to cover all seven Elements of Art.


Thanks for spending some time with me!

I hope you will join my newest program for art teachers, The Members’ Club: get access to art lessons, artist units, training (like this one!) and community support.

You can check it out here: 

coming-soon-The-Members-Club

 

What do you think?

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  • melissa mckay

    How long does the art curriculum webinar training last?

  • Peta

    hello Patty
    I’m not an art teacher per se, but I set up arts and crafts summer/halloween./Christmas seasonal workshops for children living locally. I live in a fairly rural part of Scotland where there’s nothing much for them as far as anything creative goes!

    Can I pick up your programmes here in UK? I know the internet is probably inter-gallactic by now, but here we always have to contend with a less than fast broadband!

    kind regards

    Peta

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      Hi Peta,
      Live streaming is always a bit temperamental and will be affected by a poor connection, but there will be a replay sent to you if you don’t attend.
      Love what you do!
      Patty

  • Mary

    I plan on attending this Thursday at 4. I am worried our internet won’t hold out. It sometimes drops signal.
    Will I be sent a replay if I get kicked off? I need to hear all your great wisdom! 🙂

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      Yes, replays will automatically be sent to you. 🙂
      Patty

  • Kim

    Our art PLC created a scaled down curriculum using the national visual arts standards. Prior to this, our curriculum focused on very specific skills in connection to the elements and principles of design. This new cure. Is SO general and broad and also difficult to assess their thinking and/or process due to high # of students and time. Do you have. Any experience with the NVAS and if so, how do you manage it?

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      It’s actually much easier to create an art program using NVAS as the concepts are so broad. It does require more engagement from students but that is fun to incorporate. Still, you have to create something, so this is entirely up to you. I like to do a combination of many things as you will see in the webinar. Hope you can join us!

  • Mack Bishop

    This website is awesome….

  • Susan Thompson

    Hello! I am registered for Aug. 25 9 am PT. When I received first confirmation I did see the workbook but now the link won’t let me access it. I also tried with the confirmation I received today and I still can’t see the workbook to print it.

    Thank you.

  • Katy Taylor

    Hi Patty, Please can you send me a link to the webinar for this afternoon at 5pm (UK time) . Thanks, Katy

  • bigbratty1@hotmail.com

    The webinar this morning was cut short. Not sure if it was technical difficulties. I missed out on the packet that was available after it was over. ?is there any information available for those of us that were logged in?

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      We will be sending you a link to the full replay today…thanks for watching!

  • Rosemary Marifke

    I was also watching the 9am class. I was cut short also. Restarted it from the link. It stopped again at the same spot. I see the slides are on your site. I am interested I the curriculum book.

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      Yes, the replay was an exact replica of the actual recording. We’re sending you a replay of the most recent training that went the full length. The slides are not published anywhere but you’ll be able to watch the whole thing. Thank you for signing up and tolerating the technical difficulties!

  • Rita

    Hello. I signed up for today but didn’t realize it was Pacific time. I won’t be able to attend but can I still access the replay this evening or tomorrow?

  • Gloria Gray

    Patty, I signed up, but could not get onto my school division’s website. I knew they are making a change to it, but it was not supposed to be this soon. How can I access the information?

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      Hi Gloria,
      You’ll receive link to a replay via email. You cannily form any computer.

      • Taliea Strohmeyer

        Hi Patty,
        What would be the best kiln to get for kids art sessions?

        Thanks, Taliea

        • Patty

          If you search Blick art supply website, they have a great selection of kilns at various prices. I don’t have any specific recs.

  • kimtalley2

    Hi Patty! I just recently discovered you, while planning an art workshop for kids I want to teach. You’re such a wonderful teacher and podcaster! Thank you! I’m learning so much.

    I’m an artist but have never taught before. I’ve been listening to your podcast, following you on social media and reading your articles. If you have any pointers about teaching 8 week workshops to kids, I could sure use it! Thank you again for sharing your valuable experience with all of us. It’s such a gift.

    Sincerely,

    Kim Talley
    Redmond WA
    Instagram.com/kimtalleyart

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