April 27, 2013 – Saturday – NVAS: Standard 2


National Visual Arts Standards – Standard 2
Using knowledge of PRINCIPLES and FUNCTIONS

Frank Korb

As I have said in previous posts, there are 6 OVERARCHING GOALS that my  students work toward and focus on EVERY DAY during the year in all of my art classes. These standards are modified, but not “dumbed down,” from the National Standards for the Visual Arts so that they make more sense to the students and parents who are working with them through their art making and other art experiences.

AS I use GOALS in my classroom (in any classroom for that matter) the essential part of the process of the goal is that it fires up and activates the neurons in the brain and gets the artist (student, teacher, whomever) focused on the work that will be undertaken. This OPENS THE FOLDER to learning.

This is the second in the series that we will look at and “unpack” so the standards (or GOALS at this point) are known about (declarative knowledge). It is important to note that, when the goals are given to the students, they are restructured (a smidgen) so that they are meaningful and pertinent to the day’s activity. Notice, they are not agenda items but rather bigger thinking topics.

The National Standards for the Visual Arts are now GOALS that are clear, measurable, observable, and understandable to the students, parents, and community. The use of goals is to keep the mind open to the idea of learning and focused on the act of learning, By combining both declarative (mind) and procedural (application) knowledge the intentionality is focused on the combination of art theory and art making as well as the investigating the close relationship between the two.


Standard #2: Using knowledge of PRINCIPLES and FUNCTIONS

As an art student you will demonstrate the ability to:

  • 2.1 form criticism about artworks that work to accomplish
    •      2.1.1    commercial
    •      2.1.2    personal
    •      2.1.3    communal
    •      2.1.4    or other meanings

Critiquing is an essential part of the reflection process as we make our art and work towards the development of the skills we need to make successful art. The use of the critique allows artists to be self-reflective while also being able to be critical (constructively hopefully) to their fellow artists (in the classroom, around the coffee shop table, via the internet and collaborative discussions.

  • 2.2 evaluate the effectiveness of artworks

What is working and what is not. The thought about the use of materials, communication of messages, asking deeper questions about the successful and unsuccessful aspects – with deliberate and specific parts of the work in mind.

  • 2.3 create artworks that solve visual challenges

By the simple act of making marks, the challenges and struggles that MAKING art can allow for solutions to be dealt with.

  • 2.4 compare different points of view regarding composition and meaning in artwork

This is great to hear when one has a group of kids / artists. Getting more feedback (formative and summative) from more than one person is great. It is also a great thing for the kids to hear from their classmates and NOT JUST FROM THE TEACHER!

  • 2.5 defend personal evaluations

Being able to justify and stand behind the works through the use of ART VOCABULARY is a great way to help the artist learn to SPEAK ABOUT THEIR ART. I have heard MANY BAD discussions and I hope that my students walk out with the skills and confidence to be public speakers who can voice their opinions and back them up with evidence.

  • 2.6 create multiple solutions to visual challenges that show understanding in relationships between composition and meaning of artwork

Here is the place that making a lot of work is key. 10 sketches, 3 drawing, 7 sculptures, 100 bowls… all in the name of becoming stronger int he solution of the challenges that are at hand. Relationships, forms, balance… you name it and all of these will be realized (and more) as more and more art is made.


Keep in mind that once you open the door, you also need to close it.  During the last couple of minutes of my classes, we take time to reflect, to GENERALIZE the relationship to the goals and the day’s work. This is the CLOSING THE FOLDER that allows the neurons to settle down and pack away the learning, the experiences, until the following day.

You can find these (and more) in my Visual Arts Handbook HERE.

Thanks –


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