Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Core Curriculum in Art

Out county is adopting the Core Curriculum this year (if you don't know what that is, it's basically our state standards cut down, simplified and focus on learning less things really well, rather than just touching on a lot of things), so I am doing my best to teach core curriculum in art...and for those of you who are panicked about the idea or just completely against it, I promise it is both possible and a great idea. 
It is a requirement (something I'll be evaluated on) to incorporate the core curriculum. However unfair it may seem, I am being evaluated with the same expectations of regular class room teachers. So I have to find ways to hit all of my requirements in 40 minutes, every grade, every class, every time....
You don't have to stop art class to have a math lesson (and you're not expected to), a good way to help is to implement the same strategies and teaching methods to your own curriculum. here are some examples I've come up with so far:

The CRQube
A CRQ is a Constructed Response Question (or for those of us who took AP classes in high school, you remember them as DBQs- Data Based Questions/Death by Question). Instead of simply bubbling in answers, students will be expected to read a bit of text or view a mathematical graph and answer, in writing, a question about that information. So for practice, I made the CRQ Cube, or CRQube.
It's a simple 5"x5" box covered in paper (kept to my color scheme). On each face of the cube (and yes, you can, and please do, talk about faces, vertices, angles etc. in art class!) there is a question. I kept them vague because I wanted to be able to change out the artworks that go with it. Questions are things like What is the story in this artwork? Do you think the artist was a man or woman, why?  I use this for my 3rd grade students. It makes it a bit more like a game and changing out questions and artworks frequently keeps their attention (there's no, "But I've already done this one!") Students can work at their tables. They each get an artwork then roll the cube like a die. Then they all answer the same question about different artworks. 

for my 4th & 5th grade, I've set out some questions at the I'm Through, What Can I Do? station. When they finish early, or for whatever reason aren't working on the same thing as the rest of the class, they do a writing. It's the same idea as the cube, but the questions can be more specific because the artworks don't change. 
Compare & Contrast these images. Here is a bit of Frida Khalo's biography, how can you see it in her artwork?
Younger grades (1st & 2nd) work on comparing & contrasting, categorizing, sequencing, and problem solving with various games to introduce the new art project. I know that we don't have the students for nearly as long as we'd like, and games take time and monitoring. However, you can have the best art project ever and the students will not care if they are not introduced to it properly. Having them discover information for themselves is an excellent way to get the excited and allows them to learn so much more that will be retained.  Trust me, losing a day of project for a game is a fair trade. For instance, before our Rousseau project in 3rd grade, we talk about animals  & habitats (science standard). the students each get an animal (either a figure or a card) and move to the appropriate biome, which are labeled tables. 

Today, I had 2nd graders compare & contrast Japanese culture and American culture to get ready for our Koi fish project. No materials required! Have some on hand information on both cultures, give the students whiteboards. When you say a thing, such as biscuits, the students write Japan, U.S., or both. (fun fact, no biscuits in Japan)

This stands for Know, Understand, Do, another Core Curriculum requirement. Teachers need to let students know the KUD for each lesson and have them posted for the students to see and add to. But I have 6 grades a day, 5 days a week! How can I post those, I don't have enough walls! If you're anything like me, you hate a cluttered wall Sure, you can write it all on the board each class, but who wants to rewrite things when you have to re-say them anyway? Tri-fold boards are your friend. Have 6 (one for each grade, so you don't change out between classes, who has time for that?!), use sheet protectors so that information can be easily changed. Display the KUD board while that grade is in the room them swap it out when the next class comes in. If your scheduling is nice, you change those about once a week with no troubles and all standards are met! Another option is a digital KUD. Make a model for your KUD (or 6, one for each grade) and simply display it as a PPT slide. You can take it down easily when the kids aren't there.
*picture coming*
Hope that helps! Let me know what you do!