Modifying Teaching to Clarify Instructional Outcomes

4. Content Knowledge – The teacher uses content area knowledge, learning standards, appropriate pedagogy and resources to design and deliver curricula and instruction to impact student learning.

4.2 Setting Instructional Outcomes
All the instructional outcomes are clear, written in the form of student learning. Most suggest viable methods of assessment.

When teaching students about art and design, it is important to not only utilize academic learning standards, but to also communicate to students how to use mediums and materials correctly. In order for instructional outcomes to be clear, they need to be written clearly but also demonstrated in a manner that students can understand; in other words, how will students achieve the production of a final piece of art? Also, students need to be guided to express themselves creatively. This can be a particular challenge with creative projects. While guidelines need to be provided to students, their work should also display their individuality and self-expression.

Prior to setting instructional outcomes and teaching a given lesson, an art teacher must also carefully plan how students will use materials to create their work of art. This is similar to teaching any core subject material. It is important to begin with the learning standards then determine what resources are available to guide students to learn how to meet those educational goals. For the following lesson, the learning standard is GLE:1.1.4 Applies, analyzes, and creates the element texture when producing a work of art (Dorn et. al., 2014, p. 129). In this particular lesson, students are experimenting with block printing materials in order to create reduction prints, showing implied texture rather than actual texture on their final pieces. While the goal of the lesson is to have students better understand how using a given medium will create implied texture in diverse ways, students also need to understand how the materials are appropriately used to do so. Figures 1 and 2 are images of the materials students will use to create their block prints. Prior to allowing students to use these materials, they must be shown the process of block printing in a series of demonstrations. One block printing assignment needs to be taught in a series of lessons, showing students each step of the process. Students will address the learning target and objective of the project, but may not fully address and reflect on this until the final critique, when the series of lessons are completed. This is because students must experience the process prior to fully reflecting on their learning experience.

On day one of the lesson series, students can be introduced to the learning target, “I will compare visual, implied textures using a reduction printing process.” Students will examine samples of various block prints and will be presented with a rubric addressing the goals/outcomes that are expected of the assignment. Then students will be briefly introduced to the reduction printing process. They will need to understand that they will make three-layered minimum prints with 3 minimum colors. Each layer will need to have a reduction or a layer carved away from their printing blocks. They will examine and share how different prints show different types of implied texture. The teacher will then have students sketch concepts on paper that they will later be transferred to their printing blocks. While students could immediately start sketching ideas, it is important that they understand the basics of the process and the goals of the lesson, prior to planning out sketches for their final piece of art.

The next day, students will prepare to finalize their sketches into final drawings and will then transfer the drawings to the soft cut printing blocks. The teacher will gather students for another demonstration in order to prepare them to perform this process correctly. Students will also be informed of the carving process, and the challenges of using carving tools and how their drawings may need to be adjusted in order to be practical and easier to carve out. Students will be reminded of the learning target and the objectives of the project, will then transfer their sketches to the blocks, and will outline their sketches with sharpie.

On day three, students will be introduced to the full carving and printing process. This should be done in unison so that students can plan their carving and printing steps, further understanding the design, reduction, and layering process. They will be shown materials that they are most likely unfamiliar with. The teacher will outline expectations and care for these materials as well as processes to get varying results and textures. Students will also be made aware of the responsibilities of allowing plenty of time for cleanup. The printing process is expected to move at different paces for students. On the first day of printing, students are expected only to experiment and sample paint colors on different backgrounds, further planning out their final designs. Students should be made aware that they should spend the full class period doing this, potentially even longer. Most students are usually excited to use these materials and need to be shown how much paint to use, how to roll the paint effectively on the carved block, how to lay and line the prints up, how to press the print using a transfer roller, and how to create the next two layers of color using a reduction process.


Figure 1: Print rollers and block printing ink


Figure 2: Standard block printing materials from

On day four, students will review the printing process with their teacher and will be asked to share any surprises or frustrations they had when experimenting with the medium. Students should be questioned to see if they have any relevant feedback in regard to how they found new ways of creating implied texture through their processes. The teacher will then demonstrate how students should print their finals, using a large manila envelop as their canvas. Students will be asked to use what they learned from their experiments to create a pattern on the envelope using implied texture. The remainder of the period and the next class will be utilized to allow students to finish their projects. While many students may still be carving, this preview allows others to continue their projects and remain engaged in their project. Pacing and flow of a project can be a particular classroom management challenge in an art room with multiple projects. Appropriately transitioning into each activity by diversifying instruction for a variety of learners helps eliminate many classroom behavior problems (Marzano, 2007).

As final projects begin to develop, students will prepare for a classroom critique. Because students will work at a different pace throughout the project, the critique is to be scheduled in advance to motivate slower workers to complete their projects in a timely fashion. Student work will be posted on the wall and evaluated by peers and the teacher based on a set of guidelines such as those shown in figure four.


Figure 3: Sample of final block print


Figure 4: Critique guidelines

After co-teaching and seeing students create these prints, I made several modifications to the initial lesson as it was planned to include various discussion points and a critique at the end of the lesson sequence. Having learned that some students were not as motivated as others to thoroughly plan out their designs, the discussions and addressing the learning targets during each new period were effective ways to deliver curricula and instruction to facilitate that students understood that there were clear expectations. Also, a critique at the end of the project is an appropriate method for students to express their understandings of the learning target while also providing feedback to their peers. In college relevant design courses, this form of discussion is another element to persuade student engagement in the activity and to allow them to reflect and demonstrate student voice.

After experiencing this project, I’m going to plan methods to overlap project phases to make adjustments for students work pace, in order to help effectively manage my classroom. I also intend to have additional motivational activities for students that finish early and may have early finishers help with other tasks such as cleaning the kiln and maintaining the classroom space. Lastly, I intend to have students critique each other’s work, in order to maintain appropriate evaluation and reflection of the project’s objectives. Students will also be given an opportunity after critiques to evaluate their individual work and to grade themselves using the rubric, prior to me grading their project. While the lesson itself was effective, these subtle changes will help students develop a deeper understanding of the project and the goals of the objective.


Dorn, R. I., Kanikeberg, K., & Burke, A. (August 2014). Washington state K-12 the arts: Options for implementing the arts standards through visual arts by grade level. Olympia: OSPI.

Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.




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