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Designing Your Art Curriculum

Designing Your Art Curriculum

As art educators, we want to share our passion and knowledge of how art impacts student growth. We live for those moments where students really “get it.”  However, sometimes it is a challenge to navigate curriculum design and helpful strategies to get our students to those special moments of discovery. In this course, participants will plan, develop, revise, and implement curriculum for a course or grade level aligned with their teaching philosophy. Students will incorporate action research, standards supported backward design, scaffolding techniques, and more to create an applicable art curriculum for their art rooms.

For the official course description, see the course syllabus or Graduate Catalog.


Required Materials

Additional Materials

  • Computer with basic audio and video output equipment
  • Internet access (broadband recommended)
  • Basic computing skills (see AOEU’s Technology Requirements)
  • Access to AOEU’s online learning platform, Brightspace, to view course content, submit assignments, and engage in discussion (provided)
  • Word-processing platform (Microsoft Office, Pages, Google Docs)
Graduate Credits
All courses will now close at 11 PM Central time on the 27th of each month. Graduate Credits 3 Graduate Credits
Price Graduate Credit $1197.00
Mon 8 Sun
Feb 7 Weeks Apr 3
Upcoming Course Run Dates
Feb 7 Apr 3
Mar 7 May 1
Apr 4 May 29
May 2 Jun 26
Jun 6 Jul 31
Only 5 days remaining to enroll in the next section of this course.
AOEU Course Code
Morningside Course Code
EDUC500 AOE007

Course Objectives

  • Integrate culturally responsive practices into teaching and curriculum development.
  • Design lessons and other curricular materials.
  • Critique the impact of new and historical trends on art education.
  • Develop curricula that align with national, state, and/or district standards, support the unique needs of individual learners, and are appropriately scaffolded by grade level.
  • Assess and produce various visual arts K-12 curricula for alignment, engagement, and bias.

Course Breakdown

Week 1
Reflection & Inspiration
  1. Explore current and historical art education methods, reflect on current classroom practices and write a research question to inform personal curriculum development.
  2. Discuss the importance of Action Research in curriculum design.
Week 2
Big Ideas & Backward Design
  1. Analyze the basics of curriculum building, including backward design, to create curriculum concept maps and theme/idea integration. This curriculum map will be designed with participant art rooms in mind, making maps applicable to current teaching situations.
Week 3
  1. Decode and then identify learning standards that are applicable to the backward-designed curriculum concepts from the previous week.
  2. Differentiate between vertical and horizontal alignment when it comes to scaffolding. As new knowledge is gathered, curriculum maps are adjusted and revised almost weekly.
Week 4
  1. Differentiate between “assessment” and “grading”, identifying how formative and summative assessments bring various data to the table for reflective opportunities. Applicable artifacts for the art room include establishing an assessment routine, supporting Essential Questions and learning standards.
Week 5
Decoding Differentiation for the Art Room
  1. Identify gaps within current practices and curriculum design when it comes to differentiation strategies.
  2. Design a mini-lesson and continue ongoing contributions to curriculum maps, ensuring that learning is elevated for all types of learners. Applicable learning includes the more detailed elements of a growing curriculum map, lesson plan ideas and the opportunity to create a presentation for stakeholders as a communication tool for intentionality in curriculum design.
Week 6
Growth Mindset Strategies for the Art Classroom
  1. Explore the foundations and essentials of growth mindset strategies and art curriculum.
  2. Critique peer work and reflect on constructive feedback to polish curriculum maps, research for additional supportive resources and build a reflection tool that fosters the growth mindset in the art room.
Week 7
Scaffolding Maps
  1. Differentiate between levels of scaffolding and alignment through research and exploration of supporting resources and examples.
  2. Through backward design practices, first build a program and then course/grade level scaffolding map for current art room experiences, creating applicable tools to use and assist with future designing and planning.
Week 8
  1. Accumulate created artifacts throughout the course in a portfolio.
  2. Reflect on your innovative thinking journey from the beginning to the end, considering feedback from peers and leaders and making any final portfolio adjustments.

Reaching all Learners

A sample experience from Week 5 of the class Designing Your Art Curriculum

1. Research

Using Step 4 of Action Research (analyzing data), include additional learning to the beginning structures of the curriculum map from week 2. Elements should include knowledge of Big Ideas and Backward Design (week 2), Standards (week 3), assessments (week 4), etc..

2. Discussion

Share current drafts of curriculum maps, both gathering inspiration and sharing feedback with peers. Use knowledge shared, gained and researched to create an intro “mini lesson”, referencing curriculum map essentials so far.

3. Practical, Hands-On Application

Choice of either creating a lesson plan template (addressing how strong, dynamic and consistent inclusion and differentiation is ensured) or building a presentation for stakeholders (structured to advocate and enlighten the intentional nuances within art curriculum design).
"I very much enjoyed the experience of writing my curriculum during this class. Focusing on one component at a time allowed me to create quality subject matter that deeply explores each standard. There are also many resources that were shared that I saved."
Alina Z., MA
"This course helped me gain more knowledge, organizational skills, and resources for building an art curriculum. We are currently writing my district's curriculum and this course really helped guide me through how to write a strong curriculum! "
Sara C., PA
"Writing a curriculum is time-consuming and it is a lot of work. I am happy to end this class with a working document that will help me to teach my class and write more curricula for other courses."
Kelly K., MN
"This course made designing a curriculum way less intimidating than I thought it would be. The curriculum planning guide was a great assignment to aid in further grade-level development."
Rachel T., NH

What do past course participants think?

Hundreds of art teachers have taken the course Designing Your Art Curriculum. Here’s what they actually think — without cherry-picking.
(12-month rolling average from all post-course survey respondents – Updated 1/28/2021


Course content was relevant and current.


Instructor was knowledgeable and provided value-added contributions.


I achieved the goals I set at the beginning of the course. 

Let's Get Started

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