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I think your biggest chore is to create credibility for your program outside of the
classroom teachers' wants. They probably have no idea that art ed has moved well beyond
seasonal/holiday/"happy hands" type projects into a discipline of its own.
If you haven't done so already, you might start by typing up your curricular units in a
standard format so you will have them to show people that art is indeed a serious
subject. Since you teach so many grades, you might be able to save some time by tying
together all your drawing units, say, with common objectives that can be easily adapted
for different grades.
Although my own program enjoys a good reputation by the adminstration _and_ faculty at
my HS, I still have each unit typed up, mostly for my own records. This is the format I
use: Objectives (what the students will learn); Concepts (any background knowledge such
as history or cultural tie-ins); Materials (I often refer to this part as I prepare to
teach a unit); Procedure (steps I and students will take); Assignments (preparatory
assignments and final product); evaluation (criteria by which I will grade them). By
using this format, I have been able to clarify my own reasons for teaching certain
When a classroom teacher comes to you with a request for Pilgrim hats, you can sit down
with her/him, pull out your typed units, and explain how, though there's a place in the
classroom curric for that sort of thing, it really isn't teaching the students anything
about art. "Here is what art learning looks like!" you say, as you hand over your
I hope you're brave enough to stand firm about this, without making a lot of enemies.
If there's some way to display your students' work where lots of teachers,
administrators, and parents will see it, get it out there. The displays I put up are
extremely effective in advertising my program. Add a simple interpretative sign listing
what the students have learned.
Best wishes to you in the coming year.