O – Offer an organized and challenging curriculum.
People do not grow very well if they are not first challenged. This is an important principle that I teach by which takes a great amount of work done behind the scenes. It means that I carefully plan out each lesson, making sure that it will be challenging for the entire classroom. Since everyone learns differently, it takes extra time and effort to make sure that each student is given the opportunity to grow. Every student is challenged at different levels, so I design my curriculum to be aligned to my school’s standards and the overall state standards. This keeps my teaching organized and focused on the most important piece of the classroom: the students. I use the flexible nature of my curriculum to meet students where they are and use the class’ challenges to further motivate them to grow.
O1. – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.
How do I offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes?
I base my instruction on the overall standards of the private Christian school that I teach under and align that alongside state standards. I know that my instruction is developmentally appropriate because I am constantly assessing student learning and growth to see where they are at. It is important for me to challenge students by holding them to high expectations, but these objectives need to also be attainable. In my visual art classes, students engage with the subject matter at many different levels. This reflects the reality that these elective classes have everything from freshmen to seniors which creates an interesting class dynamic.
The private Christian school that I teach at has teachers make curriculum maps for their classes which are outlines of the goals, objectives, and strategies for each class. In my internship, I was given the opportunity to create a Curriculum Map for the high school Video Production class that I teach. I collaborated with the other visual art teachers at my school to make sure that we had the same vision. The school gives us “Essential Questions” (Curriculum Map, pg. 1) that we are to answer throughout our curriculum, then asks us to explain the class assessments that we will use alongside those questions. I was told to keep this map concise to focus on the main ideas and questions. This experience allowed me to create organized curriculum for this Video Production class that were aligned to the school’s overall standards and mission.
An example of how I use the Curriculum Map to implement organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes can be seen in the Color Correction Unit for my high school Video Production class. My Color Correction Lesson Plan shows how I base my lessons on state standards. The overarching learning targets were based on the Visual Arts EALR 2: The student uses the artistic processes of creating, performing/presenting, and responding to demonstrate thinking skills in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. This was revealed in the following objectives for this unit: Students will apply color correction effects in Premiere Elements and practice applying their creativity throughout this process. During these lessons, I continued to refer students to these learning targets because I believe that it is important to give students goals to reach. I use learning targets to keep my curriculum organized and professional, which in turn supports student learning.
The Lesson Assessments (Color Correction Lesson Plan, pg 1.) demonstrate how important formative and summative assessments are in my visual art classes. I use these assessments to evaluate the students’ understanding and application of the subject matter that they are learning. In this unit where students learned how to color correct their video footage, the Color Correction Activity was an important assessment that I used to analyze the students’ growing knowledge of color correction and proper use. The three examples of the student’s completed “Color Correction Activities” (as seen below) gave me important feedback on the student’s progress towards reaching the learning targets. I am then able to analyze, evaluate and reflect on the outcome of the assessment which informs my future instruction and next steps.
These student work samples show how the students took their raw video footage, then applied accurate color correction and used their own creativity to make a theme and feel through color correction. The results from this assessment showed me that after students were able to practice color correcting, they did understand how to use the color correction effects in Premiere Elements to enhance their video footage. The students especially did a wonderful job when using color correction to create a theme or feel for their footage. However, I also found that the results from this assessment show that students did struggle with the accurate color correction. Many students seemed to over-do these effects to the point where footage did not look accurate and instead looked over-edited. An example of this can be found in Student A’s video where she over-saturated her footage for her “accurate color correction”.
This assessment revealed the need for further clarification of how to develop an eye for color correction which I was able to then implement in the following classes. Throughout this unit, students expressed that color correction is an appropriate challenge that they appreciated because of how much it enhanced their projects. The assessments allowed students to convey the need for more practice in the art of applying color correction well. Through the Color Correction Reflection (pg. 2, Color Correction Lesson Plan) students were able to communicate their desire to continue to grow in this skill, as seen in Student B’s Example. Based on this information, I was then able to dedicate a large amount of time in the next video activity for students to practice applying color correction to their video footage.
I offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes by basing my curriculum on the standards and values of my school while also aligning them with state standards. It is important for me to have these at the heart of my curriculum because that directly affects the students’ learning.
O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.
How do I offer appropriate challenge in the content area?
It is crucial for teachers to really know their students so that they can accurately meet them where they are and encourage them to grow. I was actually challenged in this area during my internship through my creation of the curriculum for the visual art classes that I taught this year. The challenge was that not only were there so many different learning styles and levels of knowledge and experience with technical design, there was also different grade levels. For example, the high school video production classes that I teach has everything from freshmen to seniors, 504 plans to foreign exchange students. Based on this knowledge, I had to then create a challenging curriculum that honored each student’s right to learn video production. I did this by first creating flexible lessons, instructions, video projects and assessments that would give me the room to meet students exactly where they were. I quickly was able to find the students who would excel and need further challenges, and then the students who would struggle and need further instruction. One solution that I created was to grade the students’ daily ability to stay on task, the effort that they put into their work, and their involvement during lessons. I am happy to say that this approach has worked very well and has motivated students to do their best.
As seen in my Color Correction Lesson Plan (above), I build each unit on previous lessons and the knowledge of what students already know how to do. I begin my visual art classes by assessing the students’ knowledge of the content material that the class will focus on and then adjust my curriculum accordingly. This curriculum is also based on my research of what students should be able to know and comprehend at their individual grade levels. Once again, since I have multiple grade levels in each classroom, it is important to keep a flexible outlook and constantly assess student learning to then make the necessary changes to the curriculum.
I not only provide students with curriculum that challenges their knowledge, but also their growth as designers. Since every one of my classes includes some aspect of design and personal expression through art, it is important for me to challenge students to grow in their perspectives as creators and designers. I use these opportunities to teach students how to make decisions, how to use art to explore worldviews and how to develop their own perspectives.
An example of challenging students to be designers can be seen In my Junior High Visual Arts class. We spent a great deal of time in the Photoshop unit learning how to be graphic designers. Since Photoshop can be a bit overwhelming, I taught students graphic design skills in step-by-step scaffolding lessons and projects. In the last unit, students completed the CD Art Project where they not only had to meet the projects requirements and Grading Rubric, but they also had to fulfill the elements of good graphic design. This proved to be a positive experience because students were challenged to utilize the design skills that they had been practicing throughout the unit while also using their creativity to explore design. As seen in Student D and E’s completed projects below, they utilized the design elements learned in class and exhibited their own unique perspectives in the process. In my written feedback I explained how the students showed good use of balance and contrast. Student E was encouraged to explore the effects of color in his design to make elements pop while Student D was encouraged to further explore Photoshop’s text tool.
These pieces of evidence reveal my goal to always keep my curriculum relevant so that students are interested and involved in what they are learning. I have seen students’ passion and interests fuel projects further than I would have ever expected them to go. In my flexible approach to teaching the elements and skills of visual arts, students are challenged to reach high expectations. Each student is at a different level of growth, which is why I meet them where they are and challenge them through my curriculum and instruction.