The Daunting Process of Going Under Curriculum Review

Have you ever sat through a curriculum review process? If so, I feel your pain! Putting a bunch of right brained art teaches in the same room and asking them to agree on a philosophical conclusion of how art should be taught is not for the weak of heart. I am happy to say I came. I saw. and I lived to tell the tale…but it wasn’t necessarily pretty.

Our team went under curriculum review and of course, the most logical idea was to put the math leader at our school in charge of the art team. The left and right brains collided. Big time. When you stand up in front of a group and say ‘Well, I’m not sure why they put me with you, but we get to spend the next year together designing your curriculum,so I ordered a bunch of art textbooks for you to look through and decide on one to go with.”Ugh. This isn’t math class, lady! We are art teachers. Plus, you want me to chose a TEXT book? No thanks.

This, paired with the fact that the woman’s regular speaking voice was a constant shout (earplugs, anyone?) made the whole process feel a bit like torture. I am here to say the process doesn’t have to be. It’s my personal philosophy that every art teacher should have a hand in designing his or her OWN curriculum. You know your students best. You know where your strengths are, and it’s a learning and growing process to put together a complete curriculum.

Despite the initial bumps in the road, we got a TON done during our curriculum review process. Here are all the things we actually decided upon during our review:

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 2.33.03 PM

Quite the list, huh? We had a ton of organization tools to help us too, such as planning matrixes, year at a glance sheets, and common documents to help each teacher plan their own lessons and fit them appropriately into the curriculum. (I actually packaged up a bunch of these resources to share here and here). We walked away with ‘year at a glance’ sheets, monthly and weekly planning guides and were still able to keep our favorite art lessons as part of the new curriculum.

Planning Matrix

Yes, going under curriculum review is daunting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding! I should mention it’s a work in progress. Did we have technology integration for every lesson? – absolutely not – but we at least planted the seed, incorporated it when we could, and will continue to work in this area. It’s fun to refine and build on your curriculum once you get a solid foundation.

Have you ever went through a curriculum review?

Tell me about the process.

Did everyone agree on concepts and standards? Was it difficult?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

More from Jessica