Fall Semester, 2009


A.         Introduction to Art: Middle School


B.         Teacher name and email address: Cara Yahrling   cyahrling@mvpcs.org


C.        Course Description: This will be a class introducing middle school students to the many aspects of the visual arts, philosophies and techniques. The most important of which is the MVPCS Art credo, Patience is an integral part of talent. This fundamental introduction to art course will explore how the elements and principles of design make up a painting or a sculpture and how these are important as words are to sentences. Students will learn to recognize the possibilities of visual communications as visual literacy in how they interpret and express themselves through their artwork.  Students will explore the elements and principles of design and how the manipulation of these may change the effects, thus encouraging more experimentation.  Students’ awareness to areas of intellectual and intuitive endeavors in the visual arts will be fostered with the objectives of understanding art as a non-discursive mode of self expression, key in the role of building self confidence, and as a means to better understand the one thing that is our civilization’s oldest sort of history.


D.         Textbooks and Readings, videos and DVDs: Visual step-by-step task objectives for every assignment followed by a standard self-assessment and art room community critique. A video entitled, Against All Odds, the tale of the Harlem Renaissance; America’s Renaissance will be viewed as a means to illustrate how African American artists used their art to promote non-violent peaceful change and to depict the culture of the great migration in Harlem, NYC.     


E.         Requirements to successfully complete the course:


List of assignments necessary to successfully complete the course:


            1. Hand-Made Sketchbook - You will create and keep a sketchbook to record the process, steps, ideas, and tasks that will become part of your final assessment for this course and as a means to see the progression of your ideas and thoughts throughout the courses.  SKETCHBOOKS are stored IN THE ART ROOM AT ALL TIMES!  (except over holidays). 

            2. Responsible Participation- in your own learning process for every project assigned- Every assignment is open-ended in how it can be solved, refusal to         participate in a project is not an option as each project is strategically designed to allow for a wide breadth of personal significance and support is enthusiastically available for technical (materials or conceptual) anxiety. 

            3. To be present daily in mind, body, and spirit, art is a unique learning opportunity and safe place to take risks and experiment, to be successful by simply fulfilling the project task objectives and by using your imagination, despite whether you are having a bad day, presence is required in order to successfully address any issue in a unique and personally significant way. 

            4. Competence for every project assigned-You should demonstrate competence by completing each project assignment, the criteria for each assignment is outlined clearly at the beginning of every new project including the due date.  If more time is needed, it is encourage that students communicate this with me (in a timely manner, not the day of) so we can agree on a new due date.  I

             5. A one page “written paper” (editorial style) about any topic about art.  Students’ opinions are highly valued.  A published journal (zine) will present students’ papers.  Then name and the graphic layout of this will be determined by students as a project where students are split into groups each with a task.  This is scheduled for the end of the semester. 


List of policies necessary to successfully complete the course: 

            Readings-Students not prepared for class by not reading assigned articles or handouts, should plan on handing in a short summary of what the reading was about the following day in order to be “in the loop” of what we are discussing as community of learners where every opinion is important, thus the readings!

            Papers- Introduction to Art only has one “paper”, students are given the forum to talk (write) about what they learned, liked, or didn’t like about ANY aspect of art  which is later published in a journal for the semester.  Name of journal and graphic layout is yet to be determined by students.       

            Projects and presentations-All projects in Introduction to Art will eventually be presented in a more communal and constructive environment that lends itself to presentation naturally due to the nature of art and critiques.

            Sketchbook entries- Students are expected to participate in frequent journal studies, conceptual idea webs, and prep-work for projects

            Homework assignment policy- There may be occasional homework assignments in Introduction to Art, based mainly on students who are behind in their project deadlines.  This kind of work immediately becomes homework with a new mutually agreed upon deadline. 

            Class participation policy- Students are expected to participate in their own most natural and comfortable way while maintaining a presence of mind, body, and spirit that shows engagement in the current project.  Refusal to work results in removal from the art studio and the current project becoming a homework assignment due in the form of writing.  Opinions are acknowledged.

            Lateness to class policy- Students late to class without a reasonable explanation, must stay in during their lunch the following day in order to catch up on what was missed at the beginning of the class. More than three lateness will result in a P.E.P.


F.                Calendar:


¨All project assignment deadlines are determined by the complexity or material being used and are given at the very beginning of the project introduction


¨Field Trip to ICA, date TBD (not before mid semester)


¨A Semester of Work EXHIBITION! To be held in the New Upper Art Studio before December Break accompanied by a Soup and Salad student-hand-thrown bowl fundraiser for the arts (visual, music, theater, and dance) at the Charter School. 


G.               Assessment Dates:  The last week of each semester is a formal student assessment of each project assignment from the entire semester including sketchbooks.  Students have the opportunity to see their work as a body of work and the growth encountered over time.  Students are encouraged to participate in the end of the Semester Show to be held after our assessment.