Wednesday, October 23, 2013

common core in ART?!

This was  a dandy of a little art lesson based on color theory and (*GASP!*) writing. That's right, folks...descriptive writing in the art room. This attention-getter was the first 5-minute lesson I used in my unit on color with my fourth graders. 

I got all these paint chips at my local Home Depot (I grab a handful every time I go in...I have quite an extensive collection!)

"Purple is the color of the flowers I got on my first daddy date". I die.
What lessons are YOU doing to bring Common Core into your art classroom?! Please share!


  1. Oh wow! This is an awesome idea! I'm always stealing paint chips too! :)

  2. "descriptive writing in the art room"

    As someone with a BFA this saddens me to no end. To try to bring linear thinking to art classes is an atrocity.

    I realize that as a teacher you must teach within the confines of your curriculum, but I also know that at heart, you must agree that this is not a good idea.

    1. Your words 'saddens me to no end' expresses exactly what I feel. This is not a good change for education.

    2. Yikes! While I think descriptive writing does have its roots outside the art room, I believe exercises like these are good to initiate a proper response to talking about art! How many times have you lead a critique or discussion about art and the words "fun" or "cool" or "I like it" are used?! Common Core doesn't require as HUGE of a paradigm shift as everyone thinks! I don't write with them every day....but I have noticed that the more vocabulary and art-rich "talk" exercises we do,
      The more meaningful their thoughts (and writing!) have become about art.

    3. Oh dear, I didn't mean to inspire a 'yikes'. I do believe in, as you say, "vocabulary and art-rich 'talk' exercises"; I always encouraged meaningful discussion about art. And I know that from state to state, how the Common Core is being introduced and the new requirements vary greatly. It's just that for so many the focus seems to be on writing, testing, assessing, documenting, and gathering data, and less on actually using art materials with higher level thinking. As I said below, I was trained to facilitate the use of art materials as a way to solve challenges, express feelings, explore creativity, etc. so I feel that's where the focus of my art program should go. I have nothing against your writing exercise however, and I do think the kids did an excellent job. Please accept my apology if I offended. Here in NY the Common Core rollout has caused great controversy and much stress.

    4. Phyl, no need to apologize, I certainly am not offended by your opinion!

      I think Common Core is getting a bad rap...I'm not totally for it or against it, I'm just kind of going in the direction, and paralleling the subjects/areas that are applicable to art without totally taking away the production aspect of art. I think what Common Core is TRYING to achieve (in a crazy, not-well-thought-out-way) is to have students understand that writing is not it's own thing, and science is not it's own thing, nor is art. That they all parallel each other in one way, shape, or form. I saw a cartoon interview last week on Facebook which was spot-on. The girl being interviewed didn't think she could write a proposal about solar energy, which included scientific data and math equations. Common Core is getting students to think about those things, that all their "subjects" in school ARE related.

      I think teachers choose writing because it is the easiest to assess, and the easiest to assign. As an art teacher, writing seems like the most "art-like" (being creative) way to reel some of these students in. In FL, specials area teachers, guidance counselors, speech therapists, etc are all graded on their school's aggregate data as a part of their performance pay. That means that I am assessed based on how my fourth graders write and my fifth graders read. It has NOTHING to do with what my students know about art, or how well they can produce art. fair? Most certainly not. Reality? For sure.

      So for now, my focus should really be on expressive writing in art class, one sentence here or there, to meet both CC standards and to TRY to help raise the aggregate scores of our students so I can receive a good evaluation. Isn't that crazy?!

      So, in a long-winded, roundabout way, no offense taken!!! I value and respect your opinion and wish I could just stick with higher-level thinking as it pertains to art, but reality is reality...and it stinks!

  3. A wonderful post. I pinned it to the Teacher Board on the Container Board that I am a member of.

  4. Reading the other comments and I have to pipe in. This is a nice writing exercise, BUT... I think it's sad that you have to do it. Art class time should be spent making ART. So glad I retired last year; I would have been written up for insubordination for refusing to do all the testing and writing. Here's the thing: I am a trained visual ART educator. Most of us are not trained in teaching writing, yet suddenly that's what everyone is having to do. Don't get me wrong; I want kids to write, and be literate, but I also want them to learn to express themselves using art media, and I want them to have a rich tactile experience in the brief time they have in art class. I want them to be doing their writing during other parts of the school day, not during art class! Am I wrong?

  5. I'm no expert in art instruction, but I'd like to say thank you for being an awesome teacher. As a student I never enjoyed art class, and always chose choir for my elective. I regret that choice. As a mother of small children I wish I was more creative and artistic. If I had, had an art teacher who let me use language as a form of art I may not have loathed it so.

    All kids have different interests, and all subjects are connected. Bravo for acknowledging that.

  6. Joanna, on this point...

    "So for now, my focus should really be on expressive writing in art class, one sentence here or there, to meet both CC standards and to TRY to help raise the aggregate scores of our students so I can receive a good evaluation. Isn't that crazy?!"

    I am with you! My problem implementing this, is I am not sure exactly what each teacher's expectations are for writing. (I teach K-3)

    When it comes to Math and the CC, it feels a lot easier to make those connections regarding craftsmanship, perseverance, measurement, and geometry. That doesn't scare me so much. But it is true that if we are going to be assessed by these standards that we do have to do just one little sentence so we can get a good evaluation.

    And I would love the link to that video you mentioned.

  7. I have a master's in Art Education. While I am not necessarily for Common Core, I don't understand the big deal about writing here. Writing is thinking. I had to do plenty of writing during my training to become an Art Educator. I had to write artist statements, read in Art History, written art critiques, journaling about ideas and projects, written responses. I feel that writing and art go together, they are both expression of ideas.

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