Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist

4 Min Read  •  Arts Appreciation

Welcome to The Art of Curriculum Design Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist

In this six month series we explore the fundamentals of curriculum design, via an Arts Appreciation course created through arts collaboration.

During our first week, we defined the language that will be used throughout the series (see intro article here). Then, the second week we took a look at why curriculum needs to be designed (see that article here), and last week we went through the steps to Plan Like an Artist (review that article here).

This week we are going to put theory into practice!

Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist .

Step 1: Standards.

For the Arts Appreciation course, we began by looking at the National Core Arts Standards.  Our goal was to find a way to satisfy the arts standards, without including a performance component.  The arts standards are separated by four major components: creating, performing/presenting/producing, responding, and connecting.  After looking at the standards, we then determined our ultimate aim; what we wanted our students to walk away with after the course.

Step 2: Aim

After this course, we hope that students have the ability to articulate an appreciation of all art forms, while defending artistic preferences.  With this in mind, we needed to create a way for students to demonstrate this aim in a realistic, and tangible way.

Step 3: Assessment

We needed to decide on the best way our students can demonstrate the standards, while still maintaining the integrity of our aim.  Our final assessment needed to be a compilation of everything our students should learn in the Arts Appreciation Course.  We brainstormed many ideas, but settled on having students design an arts company, and create a performance season utilizing a common theme.  We made it even more realistic by deciding that students would present their performance seasons to a board, in the form of a proposal, for funding.

Over the course of the semester, students should design their artistic brand and as the creative directors of their own companies, build a performance season that includes theater, music, and dance revolving around a common theme.  Then, they will propose their company’s performance season to the Board of Directors (their classmates), who will choose the companies they want to fund for the upcoming season.  This gives students a real life experience, while helping them demonstrate an appreciation for the arts, and distinguishing their artistic preference.

Step 4: Rubric

Furthermore, we determined the value of the process by organizing a rubric to evaluate the final assessment.  We prioritized what was most important for the students to demonstrate, and detailed what an exemplary project would include.

Step 5: Milestones

Then, we specified the major milestones the students will pass, in order for them to complete the final project.  We knew we had to introduce the course and final task. It was decided that the final task will have students experience the design process for the three main art forms we would study, demonstrate appropriate language for each of the art forms, build their artistic brand, design their performance season, and present to the board.

Step 6: Map

Now that we had the major milestones for the final performance assessment, we started the mapping process.  Using a blank calendar, we first plotted important school dates; the days for the finals, any holidays or days off, testing dates, performances etc.  Then we worked backward.  We determined how many days the students would need to present their companies and how many days they needed to prepare their proposals. With the major milestones the students needed to demonstrate plotted, we finally determined how much time we had to experience each of the three art forms we would study.

Also, we included introductory information detailing items such as; how long it would take to go over the syllabus, different procedures for the structure of the class, and days devoted to learning the proper ways to have class discussions and presentations.

Step 7: Topic & Outcomes

Once the calendar overview and the mapping process was completed, we moved into the specific topics and outcomes that would need to be accomplished each week.

Step 8: Daily Lesson Plan Objectives

Finally, we designed the daily lesson plans.  We solidified the plan for each day, including the objectives of each lesson, materials and resources for each day, and exit slips that would help determine if students could demonstrate the intended objectives.

By designing our curriculum in a backward fashion, and with a final performance assessment, we had the ability to plan the entire semester like an artist.

Piquès & Pirouettès

Next Week: Week 1
Now that we have the course planned, we will go through each week of lessons.