How to Design a Course's Curriculum: High School Edition
July 27, 2014 3:11 PM   Subscribe

What curriculum design frameworks and resources should I use to develop a high school level art course?

I've always been in elementary schools teaching content in a predetermined way, and I only had one very frustrating class on curriculum development while getting my masters from a pretty well-regarded teaching program within the UC system in California. Now I've got the chance to teach at my old high school and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be hired regardless of my ability to design a course, but I know I am going to need to do all the work myself since it'd be a new program at the school and the admin are pretty hands off when it comes to course design. I am a professional artist with both a credential in elementary education and art, but I only have multiple subject experience, not single subject.

What should I know so I can at least do a decent job building a framework for this new class? I believe I'm going to need to design coursework for both 11th and 12th grade.
posted by Hermione Granger to Education (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If this is in California, I'd start with the Standards, they have Proficient and Advanced. The curriculum is already in place, all you need is lesson plans!

I taught English and between the Sunshine State Standards and the Six Traits, my lessons planned themselves. Any gaps I filled in with stuff from the textbook and newspapers.

Don't reinvent the wheel. Take anything that isn't nailed down that sounds cool. There are SO MANY RESOURCES for lesson plans. Google away!

Also, theory in elementary teaching is all good, but you're really going to need to bone up on Classroom Management. 11th and 12th graders are BIG and they will take over if you let them. I'm not kidding.

Good luck to you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:20 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good call on the Proficient/Advanced standards! The course will be a graphic design course for a California charter school, in case that matters. I will have a lot of leeway, but I prefer to plan extensively before I get into this role so that everything is good to go as I get situated to working with high school kids.
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:28 PM on July 27, 2014

Are you using a textbook or a particular program? That will help a ton! Again, don't reinvent the wheel:

Penn High School

Natomas High School

Davis Art

Strath Haven High School

You get the idea.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:39 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're teaching graphic design, I would imagine you'd need Adobe - photoshop particularly.

My teaching partner and I have a desktop publishing class that focuses on advertising (analysing and then creating both print and video ads), then creating in photoshop, then we incorporate as many opportunities to do real-world audience problems. From stuff like designing ads for school events to making websites for the creative writing class to designing ads for Nerdfighteria - all of those are ways our students published and shared their work for a wider audience than just us. Their skills increase when you are not the only audience.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2014

As a media/art high school teacher I think I can help!

I got lucky this year and for my Media class the Academy already had a curriculum they wanted me to adopt. It is fantastic to teach. - you can find it here:

You can create a free login and the whole year's worth of curriculum which is California Art's Standard aligned as well as aligned with I believe the national media/tech standards. I use these units and lessons to give me options and I often heavily tweak it - but it straight is a well balanced curriculum.

A good book for high school traditional art is: Studio Thinking
My mentor teacher during credential program used this framework to teach from, and it was adopted for Mill's College credential program for all of the English/History/Art group.

My personal process for developing curriculum is technically not "standards first" as we are told to do. I fist outline all the units I am excited about and want to teach. Each Unit has three things: Concept or Theme - Essential Question - Medium. From this end point I then develop the lessons backwards from that point and start pulling in the standards from there.

For example:
Self Identity (Unit 1)
What about my history background and family values makes me who I am today?
Found Items imported into Photoshop Collage - With image of self (student)

Then I ask : How do I get them to this point - and what standards will it cover?
Good Luck - I love teaching Media; for my students it is like teaching them magic because they have never seen anything like it before. :)
posted by mariecheri at 7:32 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

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