Syllabus Art 309: Art for Children
Above is a "My Family" picture by a preschool child. Note that some people are shown upside down. This child does not yet use a baseline along the bottom.  Viktor Lowenfeld would have said this child is in the pre-schematic developmental stage. As we learn to recognize and acknowledge a child's developmental stage, we can more appropriately foster their growth and learning
Visit These Links for the
Art for Children Course
Class Calendar
First Studio Assignment - Montage
Field Teaching
List of Assignments

Fall 2002
7-22-2002 update
Marvin Bartel, Instructor

In order to learn to teach production skills in art we need to learn how to practice and foster perception, imagination, memory, and creativity.  Skills are developed with practice. Creative thinking is fostered by asking open questions and by rewarding unique solutions.  No work is copied from other artists or photographs.  All work is based on observation, memory, and imagination.

Learn to teach the structure of art.  This is its elements, principles, and styles.  Art criticism means that we foster intelligent and objective discussion about art.  It does not require a negative stance.

Learn to teach the nature of art, its purposes, and meanings. Learn to d efine art , beauty and ugliness in order to foster aesthetic experience.

Learn to teach art from other cultures and times.  To do this we learn to work from our own experiences and observations to foster better understanding of  ourselves.  From this we learn ways to better appreciate others and their art work.  The child's work is used to build a frame of reference to see the work of others.
In addition to DBAE we learn about about children's development in art in order to teach in age-appropriate and child centered ways.

---------- LEARNING METHODS    ---------- top of page

We make art. We experientially learn how artists get ideas, we practice seeing, we practice skills with materials, and we learn positive discussion and interaction skills related to our own and other art products
Your active participation is evidenced by your questions.  Each student is expected share without dominating discussions.
Early in the term you pass on some skills by teaching them to another person.
In the final month you teach several art sessions  to one or more children. Audio taping of these sessions is required to help your review. Video taping is optional.

We reflect on, question, and propose alternate ideas based on instruction in videos and possibly actual class observations of children making and viewing art.
Assignments based on the text, WWW pages, books, journals and other sources augment class work.
Exams include objective questions based on content studied. Other items describe learning situations. You are asked to propose instructional ideas consistent with educational philosophy learned in this course.
Most successful teachers know how to collaborate and learn from each other. Some of our assignments are done collaboratively. If you wonder how this work is graded, see the explanation with this link.

Weekly Schedule top of page
Some of this course is taught outside the classrooms . Substantial material for this course is presented through technology, with our classroom and our labs serving as a place and time to touch base.

Details of the schedule are not complete at the time of this update. E-mail the instructor if you need updated details.

In addition to class time, students are expected to spend an average of 4 to 6 hours each week on preparation for this class.  This time is used for:

  • reading e-mail from the instructor or from other art teachers
  • reading assignments
  • locating and studying material on the Internet such as WebQuests.
  • attending Topics and Issues sessions
  • listening to or watching tapes - some on reserve in library
  • writing assignments
  • working on art compositions
  • assessing art works
  • visiting and responding to art in galleries and museums
  • class preparation
  • completing assignments
  • field teaching
  • study time for tests
E-mail Required
Students should check E-mail before every class in a timely fashion to allow yourself time to prepare for class.  You may receive information that is tested on quizzes and tests, assignment updates, and other very important information by e-mail.  In most cases this information will be posted at least 24 hours prior to your class session, giving you time for any last minute class preparations. If you have an e-mail account at home that is other than your college account, be sure to configure your college e-mail account to automatically forward all your messages to your active account at home. The Shertz Computer Center staff can help you do this.  If this is does not work for you, please send the instructor your home e-mail address immediately so it can be added to the class list e-mail addresses.
Contacts with the Instructor
Phone 533-0171 until 10 p.m. E-mail at any hour .   The office is in the Visual Arts building in Room VA13.  The instructor's schedule is posted on the web. Phone or E-mail with your questions, comments, or for an appointment with the instructor.  Your questions, ideas, and input about the course are welcome and needed.

Art Education Journal/Sketchbook top of page

Each student keeps a personal Art Education Journal/Sketchbook. Binders and some paper will be provided in class.  The Journal/Sketchbook contains:
  • Dated sketches and other projects done in class as drawing ritual
  • Your thoughts about teaching/learning art - questions - lessons - theories - reflections
  • Artwork and your journal from the Pass It On assignment
  • Responses to Art Department Topics and Issues
  • Samples from Artsednet Talk - the e-mail discussion group of art teachers
  • The cover is designed by you as a Self-Portriat Photomontage
  • Other materials and assignments that we will add

The text in this class is Creating Meaning Through Art by Judith Simpson and others, 1998

How To Earn A Good Grade top of page
Attend Regularly
Teaching is a profession. A ttendance and punctuality habits rank very high for teacher employability. Any student with a poor attendance record or a record of arriving late to class will be passed over by most employers. Attend regularly (no automatic class cuts).  Use the phone at 533-0171 or e-mail to contact the instructor if you have a field trip, experience illness, or other serious problems preventing your attendance. You are responsible for what you missed (excused or not).  You grade is effected if the missed work is not completed or if the absence is not justified.  You grade is effected more if both incomplete work and unjustified absences occur.
Participate Actively
L isten actively and participate in class by voicing your share of  ideas and questions.
Use Technology
U se and become comfortable with computers and technology . Not all learning takes place in our classroom. Today we teach and learn in a virtual classroom. You are expected to check your e-mail before each class session. Generally, new material may be posted to you at least 24 hours prior to classes, so you can make last minute class preparation. You can expect information about timely topics related to our class, e-mail and Internet assignments, test items, additions and elaboration on reading and lectures, and so on. In today's schools, electronic communication is one of the ways that teaching and learning takes place. It should not replace face-to-face meetings, but it can add an additional way to communicate.
Do the Assignments Well
N urture your inner teacher and the collaborative learner within you. Be helpful, considerate and encourage others in class.  Turn in written work that is thoughtful, that is on time, is well organized, is proofread, is corrected, and is professional in appearance (no torn edges from spiral notebooks or computer form edges).  Handwritten papers are not accepted except when assigned to be written during class.  Late work gets a lower grade. Most of the assignments prepare you for field teaching. Some assignments are done in groups and you are also evaluated by your peers .
For a list of anticipated assignments click here .

In the F ield Teaching Assignment near the end of the term we practice some of the new ideas from the course.  Plan and teach your field teaching sessions the best you can. A partner or planning group is useful.

For a good grade in F ield Teaching :
a. Making contacts with parents and children promptly and be prompt and reliable.  Be professional.
b. Plan lessons that include all the parts of a good lesson (see Planning to Teach Art )
c. Teach the parts of your lessons or unit in the right sequence (see Planning to Teach Art )
d. Practicing ahead of time with all materials and visual aides used.  Otherwise, things get overlooked.
e. You must test the tape recorder ahead of time in the setting you plan to work. Be sure it picks up, records, and plays back properly in the setting you are planning to use it. Technical problems are not an excuse unless you can show that you thoroughly tested all aspects of the equipment before using it. Have extra cassettes and batteries (if needed) on hand.

L earn by Producing Art top of page
Develop skills and allow yourself to be creative in your art. In this category, serious effort, growth, improved skills, willingness to try things, are expected and graded.  The art itself is not compared to others in determining grades, but you are expected to improve with practice. * See Grading Philosophy below .  Even though you are not compared to others, this aspect of the course can be graded by assessing your involvement in your artwork, your willingness to try new things and experiment, the seriousness of your efforts, your ability to become totally involved in the creative process, and so on.  In some cases students earn credit for individual growth and development as an artist. We do use the critique process in relation to our own artwork, but the critique process is used to learn how to discuss and respond to artwork, not to grade it. If you take a college studio art class, your artwork will be graded because the goal of that course is related to becoming a professional artist. This is a teaching/learning theory class. Art work is practiced as a way to think about the art teaching/learning process.

L earn About Art
You are expected to gain knowledge about art, and this can be graded.  Knowledge about art includes things like visual elements, principles of design and composition, art styles, names of some artists, some art history, generally accepted cultural purposes of art, and generally accepted definitions of art.

Learn Art Education
Art Education is the art and science of teaching and learning art. Today, DBEA (Discipline Based Art Education) includes four disciplines. They are art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics. This of course is only one way to view what is done. For another perspective on what is learned in art education, see the state standards at the end of this document .

Tests are graded in the usual manner.  There are at least two tests and comprehensive final. Small tests may happen unannounced, or they may be only announced through e-mail. Those with the best scores get an A.  Those with lower scores will get a fair distribution of grades, but since the tests are not standardized it is impossible to determine a percentage point used to determine each grade. Tests will have both a factual component and a thoughtful component.  Most students do well to form a study group to quiz each other over factual material.  Additionally, such a group is a good way to discuss options for the thoughtful situation questions .  Good teachers solve many classroom problems through discussions with their peers.  I have put down some things that have worked for me to get better test grades when I was a student.
Click here to see the page.

G rading Philosophy top of page
A rtwork gets an A
Those who are attentive, show an interest, are open to their own creative ideas, and conscientiously work hard to learn art will get an A in their artwork in this class. Those who miss work sessions and those who display an "I don't care" attitude about their art may get a lower grade on their artwork.

Your artwork is not compared to others in this class, but it is expected that all work be completed and that you are fully involved in the process. Mistakes are expected. Mistakes are fascinating. These are learning moments. In this course we do want to learn about art, so we do learn to evaluate artwork, but this is not for the purpose of grading it in this class.

Even though it is not graded in this course, artwork is often graded. Click here to see an example of a rubric used by art teachers when evaluating artwork and/or when the grading of artwork is required by the school. Click here to see an artwork critique form that an art teacher could use to help students discuss and learn the merits of an artwork.

G rading other assignments and tests in this course
You are preparing to be a professional teacher in this class. Therefore, in your profession (teaching), you are graded more conventionally on the parts of this course other than artwork. You are not necessarily compared to others in class, but you are expected to learn the material and to attain professional standards as teachers of art to children. Grading cannot be avoided in college assignments in our profession. College grades remain one way to decide who is qualified to teach children.

G rading Collaborative Learning
Successful teachers know how to collaborate and benefit from each other.  Together we get better teaching ideas. Together we get better solutions to problems. We can enjoy helping each other and we gain the advantage of each other's support. A goal of this course is to help us learn to become teachers who help and benefit from colleagues.  A goal is help us learn that few problems are solved by complaining and blaming, but teaching gets better by creative experimentation and by sharing our best practices.

Children in schools are often better teachers than their teachers. However, we must be careful in how we form learning groups. Judith Harris, in The Nurture Assumption, 1999 , says, "When teachers divide up children into good readers and not-so-good ones, the good readers tend to get better and the not-so-good ones to get worse." p.242.  In a diverse group, every person in the group is expected to play a useful and unique contributing role.

Some of our assignments are done collaboratively. Students like the extra learning from group assignments and they enjoy the process of learning together. Those who complain about group assignments do so because they feel some students fail to pull their own weight in the group. When this happens, a mature approach is to see the group as a field teaching opportunity. Not all of us have the same ability to make traditional contributions to a group. We can all help the group by asking open questions. When we find ourselves to be experts, it may be too easy to give answers and solutions without using questions that help others in the group understand the concepts. Some of us may be less experienced and less knowledgeable, but we can be willing workers and willing learners. We can affirm the more experienced in the group to feel good about sharing what they know. We can be appreciative and responsive. We too can ask open questions.

Below are ways you are asked to provide assessment information so the instructor can evaluate your group efforts.  Review this form ahead of time and work to receive good assessments from your peers. top of page

Peer Assessment

Please rate each other person in your group in each of the following categories.  Use a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most positive rating.

Group member's name _____________________


_____  1.  Positive effort and contribution to group effort.
_____  2.  Careful and active listening.
_____  3.  Ability to clarify and explain things.
_____  4.  Ability to phrase questions instead of making negative comments.
_____  5.  Ability to encourage others to contribute.


List the names of the other persons in your group.  Place the person who contributed the most to the group at the top of the list.  Place the person at the bottom of the list who contributed the least to your group.  Place other names in the middle.




Note: top of page
None of us likes to be critical of our friends. However, learning to make assessments is part of learning to teach.

Teachers often complain about the need to give grades. Sometimes subjects like art are evaluated by other methods than by standard grades. The above form is used to grade group work on class assignments.  It would never be used to grade the artwork.  This link shows a rubric for artwork.

Links Updated March 2002

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