Hi Sarah and welcome to our family of art teachers. While I have never
taught on the elementary school level that doesn't mean I don't have words
First of all if there is a curriculum that would be where I would start. If
there isn't I would go to your online education department and see if your
state has any arts standards. I would use either the curriculm or the arts
standards as the framework for what I taught. I say to my students all the
time "I am the art educator (or tug boat) and you are the student (or boat)
and I am here to teach and guide you. Otherwise you could just do whatever
you want at home in your basement and you wouldn't need me". Break your
curriculum/standards up into doable chunks (you decide how and when, i.e.
weekly, monthly, marking periods, whatever). Now, you can develop these
chunks around 2-D experiences, or 3-D experiences, or themes, or artists, or
historical periods or whatever. So for example if the art curriculum says
that the 2nd grade will have mastered the concept of line by the end of
second grade (again, I don't teach this level, so I am just randomly picking
LINE), then you can do line with paint, or string, or investigating a
sculptor who used line like Calder, or using line to create a continous
drawing, or do patterning with line and look at Matise's work. You want to
come up with experinces that would emphasize line. Then the next concept,
i.e. color, and so forth. I would make my next experience remphasizing line
and then add COLOR, so that these experiences are cummulative as well.
Of course all of this depends on your organizational abilities, supplies
available, storage available, classroom time and most importantly ,
"VISIBILITY" (in other words what will it look like when displayed, and how
and where will you display the students' work).
As art educators we need to expose our students and make them aware of
concepts and techniques, and I have found that building and adding from one
lesson to another gives young artists much confidence.
Do any of you have any words of wisdom for a first-year teacher? Should I
work on developing a themed curriculum, or should I base my project ideas on
what the kids are interested in at the time (whether it's random or not)?
So far, I have been doing the latter.
I'd appreciate comments or suggestions you may have!