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Lesson Plans

What absolutely, positively should be taught in HS Art II?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sharon Barrett Kennedy (sharonbk)
Fri, 3 Sep 1999 20:48:24 -0400


I'm very new to the list and am looking forward to reading posts and getting
ideas from other art teachers!

I'd like to jump right in and ask your opinions:

I'm teaching at a small private school, grades 5-12. Over the summer I came
up with a curriculum for my 3 levels of students which was somewhat similar
to what's being taught in public middle and high schools.

While the school is college prep and not really for children with special
needs, I've learned many of my students have not had success in traditional
schools, for one reason or another. And one week into this, I'm considering
making some radical changes, based on my observations of my Art II kids.

I'm trying to come up with a curriculum that will cover what "should" be
taught in a HS art II class. It will include the disciplines of drawing,
painting, printmaking and sculpture along with art history and aesthetics
(preferably in an integrated manner) and some projects that are DBAE in

All that being said, however, I've got a few students (about 6) who really
think outside of the (proverbial) box. These are some of education's
"rebel" students, and a few of them are *extraordinarily* talented, skillful
and creative. Already they're complaining about having to do drawing (for
example) when they really want to do sculpture--or vice versa!

After thinking this through for a couple of days, I decided to pitch an idea
to them--they do what they "need" to do for my class and we'll cover what we
"need" to cover. Beyond that, through a written proposal on their part and
a contract which is mutually agreed upon, they will then have the freedom to
explore areas of art that especially interest them.

Guidelines will of course be related to the nature of the project (and
subject matter), cost of materials (i.e. is it something we already have or
would special supplies be needed?), size and area of class space needed for
independent work, etc. If we can work out these aspects, then they can go
for it. I honestly don't want to hold some of these kids back and can't
wait to see what they'll come up with.

I approached the headmaster about this today and he said that as long as we
were covering what "should" be covered in a HS art II class and if all of
the contractual items could be met, he thought it was a good idea.

These kids (like all kids) need some areas of success in their lives and art
may be the avenue through which they can attain it. I'm amazed and
delighted that I have the freedom and flexibility to consider moving outside
of the box, myself, as a teacher, but now I'm back to thinking about my

So, what, in your opinion (and based on state SOLs), really SHOULD be taught
in HS Art II in order to give kids a well-rounded, structured and
traditional understanding of art? Many components of my current curriculum
will stay; I feel they're important and necessary--and do-able for the
majority of the students. But if I agree to cut it to bare bone basics for
the advanced kids in order to allow them to pursue independent work, what
absolutely, positively should be taught in HS Art II?

Thanks for your help!