How to Plan Your School Year in Art | 2023 DSS Art Calendar

Teachers are known for being proficient planners and if you’re anything like me you love opening up a fresh planner.

But if those blank pages start taunting you to fill them and you just don’t know where to start, I’m here to offer a few guiding questions and practical steps to get you started.

Here are some guideline to follow as you start untangling the matrix of possible art lessons to use, assessing the standards you have to meet and your ensuring that your goals of providing an art experience that keeps a spring in your step, results in a happy art experience.

Download the 2023 Calendar below to get planning! (NOTE: We recommend downloading the freebie using Chrome or Safari)

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Guiding Question: What type of projects excite you?

Why is this important? It’s simple. Your students will pick up on your energy if you are excited. It may seem a bit woo-woo but if you ever had to teach a lesson you weren’t thrilled with, chances are, your students weren’t thrilled either.
And while your students won’t connect every single project they create, they will most likely give it a try if they trust you.

Practical Step: Keep a collection of lessons that interest you; organized by their grade level. Use whatever system works for you: Pinterest boards, printed or digital lesson plans in folders, etc. You may not use every lesson, and that’s okay. What matters is having a plan for where you will store the ideas and inspiration that excite you.

Tips on how to plan your art program | Deep Space Sparkle Curriculums for Art Teachers


Guiding question: What are the national, state and district standards that you follow for knowing which art concepts to teach to which grades?

Why? We’re teaching our students to value art, to be able to appreciate it, understand it, as well as being able to express themselves through it. We want to give them a well-rounded art education.  Here’s a great post about de-mystifying art standards.

Practical Step: Look at the yearly standards for each grade level and divide them into quarters or semesters so that they are less overwhelming and more spread out. For example, your list of Quarter 1 concepts for Kindergarten may include: line, basic geometric shapes, Piet Mondrian and the season of fall. Now it seems like a list you can work with, right?


Guiding Question: Which of the projects that I’m excited about fit an art standard I need to teach?

Why? A lesson doesn’t need to be absolutely spot on to teach a specific art concept or standard. You get the choice to emphasize a variety of standards when you are teaching a lesson. If you need a lesson on line and are excited about a crocodile project you saw inside The Sparklers Club lesson library, emphasize to students the different types of lines they are using to draw their crocodile. It doesn’t have to be complicated!

Practical Step: From your list of standards for each grade level, plug in lessons from the collection of lessons that you’ve saved. Once a lesson meets a standard, cross the standard of the list. If you exhaust your list of favorite lessons and still have standards to meet, leave that lesson spot open. Go back to step one and find lessons that excite you and see if they can be the missing piece in your curriculum puzzle.


Guiding Question: What if my plan gets messed up?

Why? Snow days, sick days, assemblies and fire drills will be quick to throw off your perfectly designed curriculum. Not to mention seeing the new Sparklers Club bundle for the month and obsessing over how you could squeeze a few of the lessons into your art program this week. It’s okay to swap out lessons, rearrange your plan and double-check that you are still meeting your standards. As a teacher, you know that planning on flexibility will serve you well.

Practical Step: See that beautiful, shiny plan you just created for your year in art? Nice job! Isn’t it a relief to have a plan? Whew! Enjoy your year in art!

Want in-depth lessons with accompanying standards and assessments? The Sparklers’ Club has thousands of fully standardized lesson plans to make curriculum planning effortless. Join the waitlist for the Sparklers Club!

2023 Art Teachers calendar

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  • Kerry Doran

    Thank you

  • Anna

    Thanks for the planning tips .
    Im actually keen to find inspiring clay modelling videos from years Foundation to Six – to meet the standards of the victoria Australia curriculum .
    Do you have any great links ?
    Many thanks.

    • wendymccracken@bigpond.com

      Hi Anna,
      See the Back to School Guide on this site – Elements of Art (form). Might be a good place to start. You can then match the clay projects to the Australian Curriculum.
      Wendy (also in Australia) 🙂

    • wendymccracken@bigpond.com

      Hi Anna,
      See the Back to School Guide on this site – Elements of Art (form). Might be a good place to start. You can then match the clay projects to the Australian Curriculum.
      Wendy (also in Australia) 🙂

  • Kathy Miller

    Very helpful and uplifting. I always get as excited as the kids about new wonderful art lessons that lie ahead. There never is enough time to do all, and I always tuck some away for next year, and even the year after that. Thank you again for your inspiration.

  • Paula Lubrano

    Thanks. Happy New Years!

  • Jannea B.

    LOVE this site! Your calendar just gave my return-to-school-planning the structure, inspiration and cohesive-ness I was seeking. It feels like my enthusiasm has direction now. Thank you! Happy 2022 to you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Lisa Eliuk

    I am teaching grade 4 and 5 next school year. How can I best teach art for them? Help! Do you have any suggestions?
    Sincerely, Lisa Eliuk

  • Abeer

    Waiting for the 2023 calendar 🙂

  • Stephanie Figula

    Do you have art for K-6 that students studying Faith Ringgold’s art can create ?

    • Bethany

      Hi Stephanie! We do have a Faith Ringgold inspired lesson. This lesson is only available inside The Sparklers’ Club Membership. The Sparklers’ Club is an affordable and flexible pay as you go monthly membership—perfect for anyone who teaches art to students aged K-7. To join the Sparklers’ Club waitlist and learn more about The Sparklers’ Club click here: https://deepspacesparkle.lpages.co/the-sparklers-club-waitlist/

  • Jodie Sellers

    I am a DSS member through my school. I love using DSS for my K-8 art lessons.

  • kalliopisamara@yahoo.gr

    thank you

  • Shelly Ivins

    I was just at the store today looking for a small desk calendar but couldn’t find one that suited me. I’ll be printing this one for sure! My year is mostly planned out until May but will likely have some changes. Due to the extreme cold in the Midwest, pipes burst at my school. There is lots of water damage, which Ivia email I heard hit the specials area hard. All of my yarn and lots of collected cardboard for looms were on my floor. I’m glad my room is not carpeted as much will need to be replaced, but since we are not allowed back in the building yet while professional dryers and cleaning crews are there, I have no idea how much of my room or supplies were damaged. My plan was to completely relax over the break since I had everything ready to go…now, I don’t know what I’ll return to. BUT, at least I’ll have my DSS planner printed and ready to go!

  • Kathleen Avina

    Thank you so much! I was shopping in Target today when it hit me: I need ART projects for the new year!

  • Tash

    Thank you for so many creative ideas that make artists of all ages and abilities feel good about what they make!

  • Seema+Shahzad

    amazing ideas and lesson plans

  • Marco


    Thank you for the calendar! I am looking for Art ideas for students with special needs. Please and thank you!

  • Elena

    Very interesting tips for us Art teachers!

  • Summer Cash

    This has been so helpful and has really helped me make my goals as an art teacher achievable! Thank you

  • Amanda Van der Merwe

    Yes! I agree… I get very excited to plan my art projects but I would love the students to plan for their projects weekly so that they are more disciplined in their approach to art as a subject. Also to prevent them getting overwhelmed!
    A termly guide for them would be good where clear objectives can be met by deadlines.
    What is really beneficial and realistic for them to sustain and eventually attain success?
    Thank you so much…
    Deep appreciation for your shared work.
    Yours in art

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