Essentially the core thread for grades K-8 is encouraging young artists to find personal meaning through art making. Young artists will develop an art literacy which enables them to communicate through and about their art and the works of others. Overall, my ultimate goal is for students to establish a life-long enjoyment and appreciation for the visual arts.
The primary grades are about the exploration of various visual media, such as painting, sculpture, clay, drawing, printing, and more. Young children naturally communicate through their work. We begin to establish a more sophisticated language as we discuss the elements of design, like shape, color, line, and texture. Artists, styles, and cultures discussed vary according to the concept being taught. (i.e. Matisse for organic shapes). Collaboration with other disciplines is encouraged when appropriate to broaden a concepts understanding.
The intermediate grades continue to expand on the variety of art making tools, possibly adding more technology and photography as resources allow. The art language expands to include more principles of design, such as pattern, balance, contrast, and rhythm. Projects involve more steps and more development through sketching and brainstorming. Many opportunities for collaboration with other subjects can further enrich and develop art ideas as well as understanding of other discipline concepts. For example, 4th graders learned about figurative language and idioms in language arts and continued developing their understanding through drama games and illustration in their art class.
The middle school students are encouraged to seek the visual arts as a means of self expression and personal enjoyment. While more advanced projects and sophisticated media require intense concentration and craft, the exploratory and experimental stages gained in the primary years should never be forgotten. Students continue to formulate an art vocabulary. Students respond orally and in writing about their work through self evaluations and engage in positive peer critiques. The 7th and 8th grades choose art electives dependant on their interests, such as ceramics, digital imaging, or painting.