Week 4: What is Theme?

3 Min Read  •  Arts Appreciation

Welcome to The Art of Curriculum Design Week 4: What is Theme?

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

The first few weeks were devoted to the “how and why” of the curriculum design process. During the current portion of the series, we are looking at weekly objectives, outcomes, and assessments designed for the Arts Appreciation course (links to the entire series can be found below). The full curriculum, including daily lesson plans, handouts, and assessments, will be available at the completion of the series.


-When Planning Like an Artist, everything is designed with the end performance in mind. So, as the course was designed, we remained focused on our ultimate goal of the course and the final assessment/performance task; how the students are going to demonstrate the goal.
-Aim: After this course, it is our hope that students have the ability to articulate an appreciation of all art forms, while defending artistic preferences.
-Final Assessment/Performance Task: Students will design an arts company and create a performance season utilizing a common theme, based on their personal artistic preference. They will then present their performance season to a board, in the form of a proposal, for funding as a way to articulate an appreciation of all art forms.

Week 4: What Is Theme

Before we head into week four, let’s do a brief recap of what we’ve covered so far: Week one built a class definition of art, while the second week focused on applying the class definition to artistic work. Then, the third week helped students to identify artist intent.

Students should be able to identify the intent, defend the intent, and determine the effect of artist intent on the emotional landscape of the art as viewed by an audience, and as viewed through the lens of the class definition of art. Through the viewing of controversial art, students continue to defend what they believe art “is” and “is not,” and acknowledge the emotion behind the art, as well as identify the artist’s intent.

This fourth week rounds out the foundational information students need in order to actively view art by taking a look at theme.  The ability to identify what is theme behind the art will help students create their final project.  At the completion of this week, students will be reintroduced to the final project, where they will build a performance season based on a chosen theme.

Week 4 Objectives

At the completion of week 4, students will be able to:

  • Effectively apply classroom routines and expectations
  • Apply class definition to art work
  • Perfect discussion/debate skills through the use of sentence stems
  • Identify artist intent while viewing multiple pieces
  • Defend emotions evoked while viewing art
  • Describe what is theme and how theme is portrayed through art
  • Justify and defend what is theme in multiple art pieces
  • Compare themes across multiple genres of art
  • Continue to build artistic brand by fine tuning personal artistic preferences

Week 4 Outcomes

At the completion of week 4, students will demonstrate:

  • Proper discussion and debate protocol
  • Synthesis of class definition of art, the emotional impact of art, the artist intent, and the theme of art pieces
  • Defense of personal views on what art “is” and “is not”
  • Application of arts vocabulary to class discussion
  • How the artist intent impacts the audience view of art
  • How the artist intent helps to define what is theme of the art
  • Clarity and justification in personal preference of art work

Week 4 Assessments

At the completion of week 4, students will be evaluated on:

  • Effective and appropriate demonstration of class discussion/debate procedure
  • Quality contribution to class discussion/debate
  • Articulation of artistic intent as it pertains to personal emotional response
  • Defense of what art “is” and “is not” through application of class definition
  • Development of personal artistic preferences
  • Identification of theme within artwork
  • Applying the definition, artist intent,and theme as a way to describe the emotional landscape of art work

Series Links
The Art of Curriculum Design
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “Why”
The Art of Curriculum Design: The “How”
Arts Appreciation: Planned Like an Artist
Week 1: What is Art?
Week 2: Talking Art
Week 3: Artist Intent

Next Week: Week 5
Week 5 of the Arts Appreciation course, including lesson plan objectives, outcomes, and assessments.