Bedrock Format for Syllabi

Common Elements:

Art Education 303: Visual Arts in the Elementary Classroom

Bedrock Syllabus for GTAs: Please use this template to plan your course.


Please list your name, location, class meeting days and times, and office hours contact information.


Course Purpose & Description:


Art Education 303 is a 3-credit course that provides opportunities for students majoring in elementary education to explore the affordances of the visual arts for teaching and learning. This course will attend to issues of children's art making and respond in ways that will facilitate future teacher's understanding of the value of the visual arts as an integrated component for the development of literacy.


In this course, we will work with the idea of transmediating images, texts, gestures, and sounds--exploring a key idea from a text or artwork through multiple forms (photo, comic, movie, music) -- in order to help you: a) develop an understanding of the affordances of the various media and the meanings they open up or close down; and b) how working in these various media can upset (which is a good thing) the traditional hierarchies of book-based privilege in schools.  Suddenly, people who have always been seen as star students are struggling, and others who have been seen as poor students are the stars, as the work pulls on different sets of strengths and knowledges. Students will investigate the role of transmediation through course readings, careful consideration of appropriate materials and techniques for the classroom, active engagement with art making, and multimodal reflections designed to embody multiple ways of thinking and knowing. Major topics of inquiry and investigation for this course include: exploring contemporary issues in art and visual culture; attending to perspectives of children's artistic development; locating the visual arts in relation to such issues as narrative and story, environment and place, identity and diversity; and considering relationships between image and text



Course Objectives


·       Students will develop an understanding of meaningful visual art integration through participation in reflective practice, with particular emphasis on the role of the visual arts in children's developing literacy.

·       Students will develop an understanding of multimodality, considering the ways that the visual arts mediate children's engagement through multiple symbolic languages, experiences and forms of representation.

·       Students will develop an understanding of transmediation, reflecting on class experiences, their own andothers' learning styles, to consider affordances of multiple ways of knowing in elementary teaching.



Materials List and Supplies


[list materials required here]

Basic art supplies can be purchased as needed throughout the course. These art materials can be purchased at the HUB Bookstore, Uncle Eli's, Wal Mart, Michael's, or the store of your choice. It is your responsibility to be fully prepared for every class.


You will need to use a digital camera and digital video camera in this course. You can borrow a variety of equipment from Media & Technology Support Services for 24 hours, a weekend, or other specified time periods. Reserve prior to date you need it by calling 865-5400 or emailing Media & Technology Support Services, a division of the University Libraries, offers for student check -out a full range of portable audiovisual and technology equipment (Macbooks, LCD projectors, digital video cameras, digital still cameras, digital audio recorders, SVGA supported television monitor, 16mm projectors, overhead projectors, etc.). Media & Technology Support Services (MTSS) is at 26 Willard Building, 814-865-5400.


We will be using the video editing software iMovie in AED 303. While we will be reviewing the basis of imovie in class, students may choose to use the Digital Commons for assistance with their iMovie assignments. Digital Commons is a resource for students and faculty that offers complete support in media production. See the iMovie page here





[list any required texts here]


Readings can be found on the ANGEL course website for AED 303.





Visual Journals (your sketchbook) 15%

Students will keep visual journals to serve as a process portfolio and future reference. This is your personal journal; you may customize it. Your visual/verbal journal will highlight your process of constructing meaning, not serve as a final product of your understanding of art and art education.  In it, you will document your artistic media explorations, ideas gained from interaction with other classmates (your future colleagues), and research notes.  You should also include your reflections on implications for classroom practice, artistic creations, found images, art lessons, and found education-related articles. This journal should serve as a reference for you as future teachers and aid you in continuing a reflective practice as you grow in your profession. In addition to the visual journal, it is highly recommended that you establish an organized system (e.g. a binder with dividers; a hanging folder file) that allows you to collect and organize lesson plans (your own and your colleagues'), readings, projects, and other activities in class. This organized system allows you to create a "book" or file system on arts integration that you can then use in your teaching practice.


Student-led Reading Presentations (Groups of 4) 15%

Summarizes reading, ties to artists works, prompts for peers in small group discussion, whole group sharing, culminates in a relevant art activity. This format also supports students in practicing a leadership/teacher role within the class, while reiterating similar qualities in the mini-lesson: researching, planning, and implementing. The student audience is responsible for reading the required reading that their peers are presenting. To ensure participation each student is required to write a minimum of 3 (in any combination) questions that arise from the reading, 3 quotes that are key ideas to the reading, or 3 anecdotal connections or reflections from the reading. Presenters are required to present the main ideas of the text, supported by key quotes, questions that arise from the readings (that the audience should address, anecdotal connections or reflections on the reading, the curricular framework/approach to art and/or art integration, and/or presentation of a particular art activity or lesson embedded in the reading. This is usually a 30-40 minute presentation/exercise.


Student-led Mini-Lessons 20%

Focuses on a target elementary grade audience, and integrated with reading/literacy, but also can include math, science, social studies, or health, and-includes rationale, outline of steps, inclusion of facts or steps to facilitate/teach, and culminating in a relevant art activity. This provides opportunity and experience in researching, planning, and implementing an arts integrated lesson plan to peers, who are to provide written and verbal feedback. Usually a 30-40 minute presentation/exercise.


Digital Video Story Project 15%

This project explicitly addresses the concept of transmediation--an underlying concept that unifies the Arts & Literacy block. It is also designed to familiarize you with your imac computer technology using the imovie application.  Specifically, a single fairytale chosen early in another block class, transposed into digital media, often acted or use of puppets, music video theme, movie trailer, moving drawing, or manipulated still life to tell/retell the story from a unique perspective (counter narrative, continued storyline, prequel, or critical rendition). This project is time consuming and you may want to begin early orientation to this assignment 2-3 weeks in advance of the due date. This project is due Week 11 in the course in order to accommodate the other block projects related to transmediation.


Arts Integrated Unit Plan: 20%

This is the culminating Final project for the course. You will be expected to design a UNIT lesson plan that will encompass 4-6 detailed lesson plans relating to the unit topic. The last class will be devoted to presentations of your unit lesson plan, which will include all five lessons. Guidelines will be provided in class. Your final project will include the following components:

1.     A one-page rationale explaining why this unit is important and how it integrates the arts and literacy.

2.     A description of the educational setting, class size, and grade level for the unit

3.     A list of materials and resources needed for the unit (paint, clay, books, posters, etc.)

4.     A sequence of 4-6 detailed lesson plans as part of the unit (these can span 4-6 weeks, or be "chunked" over a series of days

5.     Assessment activities such as rubrics or reflections that you would use to evaluate student learning during the unit of study

6.     Standards met by the unit lesson

7.     Accommodations for students with disabilities



Class Participation and Attendance Policy 15%


A sign-in sheet will be available at the beginning of each class. If you are late, you will need to see me at the end of class to be sure that you are marked tardy- this is your responsibility. Tardiness and leaving early will lower your grade by two points per incident.  Your grade will be lowered with each unexcused absence (after two) as you will miss vital information. Three points will be deducted from your grade each time that you exceed the maximum of two unexcused absences. Only written religious, collegian sports, military or medical excuses will be accepted as excused absences.  Please email me as soon as possible if you are absent.  It is your responsibility to obtain missed work and note this will not alleviate the absence in relationship to grading policy.


Grading Scale:

A          95-100 points (or percentage, if you are not using a point system)

A-         90-94 points

B+        87-89 points

B          83-86 points

B-         80-82 points

C+        77-79 points

C          73-76 points

D          65-72 points



A Note To Students With Disabilities


It is Penn State's policy to not discriminate against qualified students with documented disabilities in its educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for modifications in this course, contact your instructor and the Office for Disability Services (located in 116 Boucke Building) or the Disability Contact Liaison at your Penn State location. Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible. You may refer to the Nondiscrimination Policy in the Student Guide to University Policies and Rules 1997.



Academic Integrity


On March 23, 2001, the faculty of the Penn State School of Visual Arts adopted the following statement on academic integrity:


University Policies and Rules Guidelines states that academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University's Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.


Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to acts such as cheating on exams or assignments; plagiarizing the words or ideas of another; fabricating information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; claiming authorship of work done by another person; submitting work completed in previous classes; and/or submitting the same work to multiple classes in which a student is enrolled simultaneously.


Safety Information


The School of Visual Arts will endeavor to comply with the intent of state laws or acts and the University Health and Safety Program in an effort to maintain a safe academic and working environment.  Efforts will be made in this class to comply with this intent. Students in the School of Visual Arts may find themselves working in the shop or in their studios or classrooms using a variety of materials and power and hand held equipment, which may cause injury. Given this possibility, equipment is provided and ventilation systems have been installed that are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure the safety of all students working in classrooms, studios and the shop. Students should use the shop only after having received an orientation in the use of such equipment and when supervised by faculty or shop personnel. Should any injuries occur in the shop, studios, or classrooms in the School of Visual Arts, please report them to Jerry Bierly, Shop Supervisor, Room 108-A Visual Arts Building. Phone: 814-865-3962. Email:


Class Schedule of Readings and Assignments


The mapping below of week 1-15 will help you think about planning the course. While you do not have to follow this timeline exactly, your course lessons should roughly follow this flow. For the actual syllabus you hand out in class, please follow the standard practice of listing the date, course topic, readings due, activities or projects due (you might find the table format helpful for this). Please follow Penn State's syllabus guidelines.

Week 1: Overview, introduction, and beginning studio activity: exploration with media or warm-up activity. Readings should focus on rationale for arts integration (Why, what students learn)

Week 2: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos. Readings should broaden students' ideas on what is art (Art 21 video and lesson series is a good choice for a reading or in-class viewing) and/or how it connects to literacy (e.g., Olshanky's chapters from the Power of Pictures).

Week 3: studio engagement/readings/demos (e.g., see NAEA 10-page document on arts integration. Make sure you also introduce the PA/National arts and Humanities standards, available on ANGEL)

Week 4: Student presentations on reading materials re: arts integration curriculum

Week 5: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos

Week 6: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos

Week 7: Group mini lesson presentations

Week 8: Introduce Transmediation-iMovie workshop (schedule visit from Media Commons to teach this to your class)

Week 9:  Museum visit, readings on art interpretation. Alternative, plan (Optional) School visits (e.g., Bennett Center) to teach mini-lesson.

Week 10: work on transmediation projects, readings

Week 11: Transmediation Projects are Due - in class presentations

Week 12: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos. Make sure your readings include "how to" material concerning unit planning - review Walker's chapter on Big Ideas if you have read it previously, or walk them through how you plan a unit of study, or refer to some other text (I use Blythe's Teaching for Understanding)

Week 13: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos

Week 14: studio engagement/readings/arts integration demos

Week 15: Class exhibit/presentation of Final Unit projects. Since classes are big, you can structure this as a "rotating" exhibit. (e.g. 4 students exhibit work at a time for approx. 20 minutes while the rest of the class views and comments on that work, then the next group presents, etc.).



Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Coded Data from Questions 4, 7, & 8 from Survey 1
4). What is your opinion concerning the value of art? Cr=creativity ExIE=express ideas emotions Im=imagination In=individuality Dm=deeper meaning L=looking…
Q. 3). What would you like to learn from this course?
@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.notranslate…
Q. 2). What were/are your concerns or apprehensions about this course in particular?
@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.notranslate…