I have used the Art Talk and Understanding Art books from Glencoe-McGraw
The Understanding art book is intended for grades 6-8, but the
reading/comprehension level seemed to actually work better for high
school. The Art Talk book worked well for 7-12 grades, I had already
used the Understanding Art for several years before ordering the Art
Talk books. I preferred them. I found myself using bits and pieces from
each book, rather then just following it. If I had stayed at that job, I
would have divided up the books and used a bit of them both for each
Be sure to order the resource materials, they are excellent, WELL worth
the investment. I think I would have been disappointed in the books had
I not bought all the transparencies and worksheet books also. Just an
"art book" was intimidating for my students, but they enjoyed the extra
activities and worksheets, and it made the book easier to follow.
What I did when I was assessing texts was to write a "grocery list" of
artists, art periods, art techniques, and art fundamentals I covered in
each class. Then I looked in the summary for each book (all I looked at
had a week by week, month by month, quarter, or semester lesson plan
breakdown) and looked which books were most closely aligned to what I
wanted to teach. Where something was different, or missing completely, I
considered just how important it was to what I wanted my students to
learn. I looked at each text to see if there was something else covered
that sufficiently replaced what I felt was missing.
Ask other art teachers in your area. I would have been lost without
their advice. I called or e-mailed about 5 art teachers I knew and asked
their input. (And kind of ironic, I went against the advice of one and
got the Understanding Art series instead of the Art Talk series. Now I
understand why she made that recommendation.
Brookings Middle School
From: Marvin Bartel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 6:44 AM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Any good art texts?
>This is my second request for recommendations for a good art textbook
>for 9-12th grades. Someone PLEEEEEZE help. I have the money in the
>budget but don't want to purchase before seeking advice as to what has
Marsha in Orlando
You may find a "good" art textbook, but their may be even better
WHAT IS A TEXT FOR?
What are your own strengths and weaknesses as an art teacher? In my
opinion, those of us who are well prepared in teaching studio work
should seek expert resources (books, educational films, etc.) that
supplement the important areas of our own weakness. I have always felt
that I am a far better teacher when I can teach from my strengths than
when I try to bumble through my weaknesses.
For many high school art classes, students might be better served if the
room has a set of standard art history texts sold for college survey
classes in place of books published as school textbooks? By selecting
an art history text that is up-to-date, well illustrated, well written,
and inclusive of cultures, styles, genders, etc. high school students
may be better prepared for life and for their college/university
For a high school art teacher who is well prepared in art history, might
it be better to order a set of college level drawing, design, sculpture,
painting, ceramics, jewelry, or photography text books? I like to pick
an essential area of expertise that I wish I knew better. When I have
done this, it has been very helpful in making me a more competent
teacher. As I assign learning from a good book, I also learn the
material. We question, experiment, and answer things TOGETHER.
Conversely, I hate to assign things from a book if the material would be
more interesting and challenging if I presented it myself.
PREVIEWING BOOK SELECTIONS
I write, call, or email the publishers and request a free examination
copy of every book that is being considered as a text. If a publisher
refuses, I sometimes order a used copy on the Internet and pay for it
myself or use department budget funds.
Dr. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus Goshen College, 1700
South Main, Goshen IN 46526 studio phone: 574-533-0171??
"Art is me when I am myself." ... a kindergarten girl when asked, "What
"You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before." ...
a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.