ELEMENTARY ART PROGRAM
The elementary art program is a unique and time-tested system of instruction and support that has evolved since the program was begun in 1981. At the heart of all the components is this document, the curriculum, which represents a comprehensive approach to art education and reflects the Alaska Content Standards in the Arts. This curriculum works because of the other aspects of the program, wherein teachers are trained, supported, and provided with teaching materials to assist them in providing a strong art education for their students.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Art Curriculum is comprised of:
1) Written Curriculum - This document outlines what teachers at each grade level should strive to teach their students. The elementary written curriculum is divided into three sections according to student actions: Producing Art; Reflecting on Art Critically; and Perceiving Art from a Contemporary, Historic, and Aesthetic Perspective. These, in turn, directly reflect the Alaska State Standards expectations that all students will have some instruction in art production, historical/ contemporary studies, art criticism, and the consideration of the beauty and meaning of art.
2) Art Specialists and Classroom Inservices - The art specialists are certificated teachers who travel as a team around the district. They visit each school a minimum of three times per year and teach in every classroom. Each visit features a newly developed, comprehensive lesson that will later be available as a kit. The main purpose is to train teachers to teach art (many enter teaching with little or no training or confidence teaching the arts). Teachers must stay in the classroom and participate, either assisting the art specialist or doing the lesson. They will then be prepared to teach these kits in years to come.
3) Art Kits - After a lesson is taught during an “Art Round” (30-45 classrooms), it is transformed into an art kit. These kits are comprehensive and include the lesson plan, art reproductions, and any specific directions. They also include any esoteric materials required, but do not include easily available art materials. These nearly 400 kits may be checked out by teachers on a two week rotating basis.
4) Three Grade-Level Artists, Their Biographies, and Reproductions - Every grade level has been assigned three artists. These selections were made in the early 1990s during a curriculum rewrite. They were selected considering student age and interests; social studies themes; and a historical, multicultural, and gender-based overview. The biographies of these artists are included in the curriculum document, as well as on the back of all the school-based reproductions. Each school has a set of six reproductions for each grade level (two for each artist) and the biographical information is also there to read while viewing. Artists are listed in the curriculum and on the grade-level art charts.
5) Grade-Level Art Charts - Charts were designed and produced (copyrighted in 1994) to hang in the classroom to assist teachers when teaching art. They prompt teachers on what to teach, how to talk about art, and who they need to teach about at each grade level. These charts were designed by art specialists to be colorful and appealing and, therefore, aesthetically pleasing to have hanging in classrooms. All of the above components combine to make the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Art Curriculum. It is only through this multifaceted approach that we have been successful in training teachers and assuring a quality art program for our students.
Full text PDF of Elementary Art Curriculum: