Curriculum Rationale for 3 Community Themed Units:
Junior high students are entering into a time of turbulent emotions, self-concept development, and exploration. Kerlavage (1998) states “students in this stage will move from unconscious imaginative activity to critical awareness, develop visual attention to reality, express dissatisfaction with their visual representations, and place increasing
emphasis on the final product rather than the working process” (p. 54). Identifying where they fit within their global, local, and nuclear communities will help them in their transition from childhood into adolescence.
Junior high students are going through many changes. Kervalage (1998) describes their emotional and moral development as a roller coaster of highs and lows (p. 56). Identifying their roles in relation to the adults in their immediate communities will help them navigate these highs and lows. The students are also developing socially, so it is important to help them think about where they fit within their friend groups and social networks (p. 57). Each unit touches on a different aspect of community in an attempt to give the students opportunities to look outside themselves to see larger concerns.
The first unit addresses the pre-adolescent’s need for representational drawing. Kerlavage (1998) notes that learners in this development age “prefer to draw from observation rather than from imagination, and they like to have examples and models from which to work” (p. 54). Kerlavage also mentions that although “students have a strong interest in drawing, painting, and modeling the human figure,” this developmental stage is when “they have the least confidence in their ability to do it well” (p. 55). This unit provides step by step guidance through the process of drawing a realistic self-portrait, but also allows for “presenting various viewpoints” and “experimenting with altering reality” (p. 54).
The second and third units address the pre-adolescent’s need to create meaning and respond to social issues. According to Kerlavage (1998), students at this age “begin to work expressively, create mood in a work, or use design creatively” (p. 54). The host country of Indonesia provides a plethora of opportunities and experiences from which the students can pull ideas and inspiration. The international school environment allows the students to observe and interact with their multicultural peers from Korea, Indonesia, India, America, Canada, Taiwan, China, Japan, and Europe.
The transient nature of an international school makes it important to define community in a more expansive way. Students say good-bye to friends constantly, so teachers must be sensitive to past students who are still very much a part of the class community, regardless of whether or not they are still physically present. This larger idea of community is helpful when applied to the larger global community.
The objectives and standards for these units are taken from the National Core Art Standards (Visual National Arts Coalition, 2014). The following essential questions are taken from the National Core Art Standards. These questions will be used to
motivate student thought throughout all three units.
1. “How does understanding oneself better help one understand others better?
2. How does the presenting and sharing of objects, artifacts, and artworks influence and shape ideas, beliefs, and experiences?
3. How does art help us understand the lives of people of different times, places, and cultures?
4. How do objects, places, and design shape lives and communities?
5. What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking?
6. How do artists and designers learn from trial and error?
7. How does collaboratively reflecting on work help us experience it more completely?
8. What criteria, methods, and processes are used to select work for preservation or presentation?
9. How do objects, artifacts, and artworks collected, preserved, or presented, cultivate appreciation and understanding?
10. How do images influence our views of the world?
11. How can the viewer “read” a work of art as ext?
12. How is a personal preference different from an evaluation?
13. How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help us to create works of art and design” (Visual Arts National Coalition, 2014)?
Students will build upon skills and ideas as each unit progresses. Students will sketch and master pen and ink shading techniques in unit one. Students will transfer their knowledge of shading techniques to colored pencil in unit two. Unit three will see students using patterns created in unit two to design a batik fabric swatch. The amazing local resources will be utilized in the form of a batik demonstration from an indigenous artist. Throughout each unit,
emphasis will be placed upon creative problem
solving and critical thinking. Students will come away from this curriculum with a better
understanding of themselves, their peers, and their larger communities.
Kerlavage, M. S. (1998). Understanding the learner.
In J. Simpson et al., Creating meaning
through art: Teacher as choicemaker (pp.
23–72). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Visual Arts National Coalition for Core Arts
Standards. (2014). Common Core Art
Standards. Dover, DE: Authors. Retrieved