Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Do Your Part! Help Review the New National Visual Arts Standards!

On June 30th, The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards publicly released the new in-progress standards for 5 areas: Visual Arts, Media Arts, Music, Dance, and Theater, all Pre-K-8th grade.  This will give the general public a chance to view the updated national standards that teachers of the arts have been anticipating.  The high school standards will be released at a later date due to the fact that the standards will not be focused by grade level, rather by accomplished goals and settings.

With the release of the math and language arts common core standards, many teachers are being asked to switch from their current state standards to the national common core...including the arts.  With the core arts standards and the science standards still in progress, many teachers are waiting patiently for these standards to be complete, as to not confuse their current curriculums.

Reasons why its important to review the standards

Since the standards are currently released to the public for review, the writing team wanted the general public and all teachers involved to read and respond with their thoughts.  The standards are meant to be public-friendly, with an understanding of WHY the arts are important in a child's development, as well as HOW the students should be introduced to the concept within each grade level.

Even if you are a general classroom teacher, you should look over these standards.  Why?  There are elements in each standard that can still be connected to what you do within your classroom.  For example, the three visual arts standards in focus are creating, presenting, and responding.  While many schools are focusing on "project-based learning," you are using all three elements in the process.

The creation of the standards

There were 10-12 writing team members selected from each content area back in December of 2011.  Since then, the teams reviewed many state standards, gathered input from many teachers across the country, and worked with many national groups that promote the importance of these specific areas of the arts in a student's education.  On top of having a writing team, there were many reviewers selected to look over the standards even before being released to the public.

Your deadline

Since the core arts standards are set to be released to the public in the fall, the writing team is in need of the public review by July 15th, 2013.  And since I am writing this in my blog, I am begging you to share your opinion.

How to participate

Please visit http://nccas.wikispaces.com/NCCAS+June+30th+Public+Review for a list of the standards in the 5 content areas.  You can visit any content area you wish, or just the ones you want to focus on.  The links on the page will direct you to the draft of the standards, which are broken down by discipline, anchor standard, enduring understanding, and essential question(s).  Like the math and language arts common core standards, these break down by grade level as well.

The link also contains the surveys for each content area for you to fill out.  The surveys are in depth and give you a chance to review each component of the standards provided.  It will take you some time, but if you are unable to complete it in one sitting, there is a way for you to save and come back later.

Why I love this

I'm still working on the survey, but I was so excited to review the standards, I just had to share with you why I felt it was important to be a part of this process.

First, you are offering your voice in the development.  The writing team is listening to the general public on what you feel is important for a child's creative development.

Second, the standards are focusing more on WHY this development is important and WHY these components need to be included in a child's education.

Third, as an example from the visual arts standards, there are components you many be lacking in your own curriculum (like presenting) that you may need refinement in, and the standards may help ease the process of introducing how to display works of art for a more engaging purpose than hanging a work on a wall.

Lastly, these standards help to anchor the arts in the well-rounded curriculum.  Goodbye STEM, hello STEAM!!!!!

For an orientation into the review process, please click here for the video.  The video is around 25 minutes in length, but a good watch into the process of how the standards were created and how to break down the review and surveys.

Lend your voice into this process!  It may be summer, but you can make the time!

If you have participated in reviewing already, I was wondering...what was your take?  How do you feel about the standards?  After patiently waiting for the standards to come to completion, I am craving a conversation!


  1. Thanks so much for the info in this post! I did a quick post about it on my blog linking it to your blog post! I'm also e-mailing my visual/performing arts colleagues so they can take a look also! Thanks again! :)

  2. Thank you, Mrs. C! I really appreciate it! I love your blog too :)

  3. Hi Heidi!

    I just stumbled across you blog while doing some research for my masters class about integrating technology into the classroom. I didn't even know that the new standards were out and I'm excited to look them over. Last year the elementary art teachers in our district were told to align our curriculum with the common core standards and we had a whole professional development day to do it. Then we heard that not all the grade level homeroom teachers were even teaching to the standards. It was very frustrating to think students had prior knowledge from their homeroom class about what I was teaching, and then to find out they didn't. It would totally screw up my time line, because I would have to go back and teach things I thought they already knew. Again, looking forward to looking over the new art standards. Thanks for the post!


    1. Thank you for reading Angel! I've been following the start of the national arts standards since it was introduced to the board of directors of NAEA in 2009. When the writing team was assembled in 2011, it was like a dream coming to reality. I informed my district right away that this was happening, and even though the state is asking the art department to incorporate the math and language arts standards, I told the district I would fight tooth and nail for the state's "patience" in the completion of all the common core standards, including science. Common core needs to be introduced slowly so everyone's on board, not just a select few. Good luck, and thanks again for reading!

    2. I agree about introducing the standards slowly. It would be nice if everyone was on board and were on the same page. It is hard to do cross-curricular work as an art teacher when there is misunderstandings in the curriculum! I have you in my RSS feed. Looking forward to more posts!