Ah… The days of summer are quickly flying by. As I sit and listen to the neighbors mowing their lawns, the robins chirping in the trees, the wind rustling the leaves of the trees, and my daughter asking, “You still work over the summer break?,” I appreciate the time a bit more. “Yes, I still work over the summer break.” With the Common Core State Standards making significant changes to the rigor and curriculum of the core classes (Math, English, Science, Social Studies) the elective courses (hardly a term I enjoy when I think of the importance of all of our classes) are also in need of review.
As a professional artist and educator, one who firmly believes and practices looking at standards and setting goals, I was pleased to see that the National Arts Education Association was deep in the thick of it rewriting the National Standards for the Visual (and the rest of the) Arts. Dance, Theater, Music, Visual Arts all got a good going through in the redesign. What I especially enjoyed about the National Standards prior to 2014 was the ease in which they were laid out and written. While some students and I (along with a wonderful Student Teacher) met and worked to unpack the old standards a few years ago, we got a good feeling as to what they all meant. The ideas and philosophy behind the 6 over arching ideas. The NEW standards are broken into 4 sections with a few more standards underneath each heading… a total of 11 (which can be found on my site HERE, in the NAEA site HERE and HERE) give a bit more to think about.
Using the GANAG method of lesson planning (Goals, Accessing Prior Knowledge, New Information, Applying New Information, and Generalizing – Janie Pollock at Learning Horizon, http://www.learninghorizon.net/) is the tried and true process I have been using to plan and structure my lessons and the day to day of my classroom, the new Standards are going to ask a bit more of me this year. I am not complaining in the least. Do not get me wrong. The best thing any of us can do is look back at the progress we have made and revisit the ideas with new eyes and new goals (or at the least reconsidered old goals). The new standards will give me the opportunity to see that the art works my students are creating give them the larger picture of the importance of art in their lives and culture, as well as the skills and grit that are required to become successful artists and members of the larger society. As I have rewritten my webpage on the National Standards in the Visual Arts, I realized that the ideas that are behind them are very important, not only as a student of the arts (or teacher) but also in what the artist ought to be aware of as a professional. I know that I will be working to make certain that each and every day of the school year, the standards are the jumping off point for my art students and that they are fully aware of the importance and direction we, as a class, are heading in the pursuit of realizing and grasping those standards.