Engaging contemporary curriculum: leading change as an art educator

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Engaging contemporary curriculum: leading change as an art educator
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McGee, Kelly Quinn
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College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
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This research looks at the process of developing contemporary art curriculum my colleagues and I underwent in the Fall of 2013 and the months leading up to that time. Discussions between art educators about what needs to change and how to implement change in art education curriculum were an integral part of the study. The project focuses on the work of several art educators attempting new curricular practices in their art classrooms. Participants were surveyed about their implementation of the new art curriculum, and the results were critically analyzed exploring the experience of teaching the new curriculum at the beginning of the school year. The survey results document my exploration in current practices in art education and journey through collaborative curricular change. The research was summarized in a manuscript to be submitted for possible publication to art education research journals.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Kira Krall.
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Art Education terminal project

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ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM 1 ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM: LEADING CHANGE AS A N ART EDUCATOR By KELLEY QUINN MCGEE A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MAST ER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM 2 2013 Kelley Quinn McGee

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ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM 3 Acknowledgements The journey through graduate school wa s a difficult but a rewarding experience allowing me to learn more about art educ ation The University of Florida's online art education program and its professors provided me with learning experiences above and beyond what I thought I would have as a transfer student from an on campus program. The knowledge and commitment of each inst ructor provided me with the tools I need to continue my education and apply it in my everyday life. I especially want to thank my committee chair, Jodi Kushins, for the amount of time she worked with me to understand my research, along with the truly inspi ring instruction that she gave throughout the general courses. I also want to acknowledge Craig Roland for his work as my committee member The insight into curriculum development he shared during the curriculum co urse inspired my research. The on campus s ummer studios would not have been the same without the inspiring instruction of Patrick Grigsby, and his theories in artmaking have heavily influenced my work as an artist. My husband deserves a big thank you for his understanding of the late night reading the trip to Florida, and all of the time that I have had to dedicate to school instead of time with family. I want to thank my grandmother for financing my graduate studies because it would never be possible without her. Along with this, I want to thank my school district for allowing me to complete this study and the Denton School Foundation for contributing a scholarship to help with the on campus expenses of summer studios.

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ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM 4 ABSTRACT OF THE CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE AR TS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORDIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREEOF MASTER OF ARTS ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM: LEADING CHANGE AS AN ART EDUCATOR By Kelley Quinn McGee December 2013 Chair: Jodi Kushins Committee Member: Cr aig Roland Major: Art Education Abstract This research looks at the process of developing contemporary art curriculum my colleagues and I underwent in the Fall of 2013 and the months leading up to that time. Discussions between art educators about what needs to change and how to implement change in art education curriculum were an integral part of the study. The project focuses on the work of several art educators attempting new curricular practices in their art classrooms. Participants were surveyed abo ut their implementation of the new art curriculum, and the results were critically analyzed exploring the experience of teaching the new curriculum at the beginning of the school year. The survey results document my exploration in current practices in art education and journey through collaborative curricular change. The resea rch was summarized in a manuscript to be submitted for possible publication to art education research journal s

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ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CURRICULUM 5 Table of Contents Title Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 1 UF Copyright page ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 2 Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 3 U F Formatted Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 4 Table of Contents Page ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 5 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 7 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 7 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 Assumptions of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 10 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 10 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 12 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 13 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 17 Subject Selection, Site, and Descri ption ................................ ................................ ............ 19 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 20 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 21 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 21 Finding: Enacting Change, Slow but Steady ................................ ................................ ..... 24 Finding: Communication is Key, You Must Listen to be Heard ................................ ...... 26 Summary across Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 28 Conclusion and Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ 30

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! 6 Discussion and Interpretations of Findings ................................ ................................ ........ 31 Significance, Implications, and Recommendations ................................ ........................... 32 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 33 Appendix A ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 34 Appendix B ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 35 Appendix C ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 36 List of Figures and Figure Captions ................................ ................................ ............................... 46 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 47 Author Biography ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 50

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! 7 My curiosity about developing an art curriculum beg an two years ago when I was placed on my school district's art curr iculum writing team. Using the b ackwar d d e sign m odel of curriculum design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011) a group of two other art educators and I set out to write the curriculum for the element ary schools in our district. Before this endeavor, the district had not developed any curriculum for elementary art. After a year and a half, we found ourselves in a d ebate about the value of teaching elements and principles of design and the importance of big ideas in art curriculum. The elements and principles have been the prevailing approach to teaching art in our schools for several years; while the use of big ideas to create more meaningful art lessons has become more predominate in recent years (Stew art & Walker, 2005). We realized then that we were all in different places based on how we were trained and what we knew about contemporary art curriculum practices and their influence on art education. This situation raised many questions for me about wh at an art curriculum should look like and how I could make suggestions to my colleagues Through my capstone research, I studied the process of making change and contemporary curriculum practices for art educators. To this end, I produced a survey that d ocumented the implement ation of a new art curriculum in our school district. Then I wrote a n article that summarizes the results and recommendations that emanate d from the first six weeks of implementing the new curriculum. Statement of Problem My resea rch relates to the adaptation and implementa tion of contemporary curriculum practices in the art classroom. I have come to the realization that change is constant in education and educators need to be supported in our efforts to learn and grow professional ly. Art educators should be informed by current art and educational theories in order to implement best

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! 8 practices in curriculum. Through discussion with art educators in my school district, I have found a disconnect in what is being presented in university courses and in contemporary publications in art education, and art educators' ability to put recommended concepts and strategies into practice. This disconnect is recognized as an issue in art education, and I think that this is attributed to art educator 's tendencies to stop learning and reading literature as they leave their university studies. I believe that this problem is relevant to art educators beyond my school district who are similarly looking to instruct students using contemporary art education practices. Purpose or Goals of the Stud y The purpose of my research was to investigate the process of designing and implementing a new art curriculum in my school district. For my capstone project, I examined how the art educators in my school district approach ed the changes presented in the new district art curriculum. I produced an online survey to initiate discussion among my colleagues about contemporary art curriculum practices to capture the changes that have already been made and t o facilitate f uture planning for our district. The results of the district art educator survey will aid in future planning for the curriculum implementation. Research Questions This project was guided by inquiry into how curriculum is developed by a team of art educa tors at the local level. Within the challenge of implementing curricular change within my school district questions arose about the state of contemporary art curriculum and how art educators are demonstrating best practices in their classrooms. My r esear ch questions were as follows: 1. How do you enact change in art curriculum?

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! 9 a. How do previous teaching experiences affect a n art teacher's willingness to change? b How do past education al paradigms affect changes in art curriculum? c How do c ontemporary studio art practices inspire and inform art education practices? 2. How does a professional learning community develop reflection among participants? a. How does technology bring people together when introducing curriculum? b. How can the process of discussion b uild a sense of a community of practitioners? c. How does the process of ongoing feedback build a sense of community? Rationale and Significance of the Study I discovered observed a gap between what I know and have l earned a bout contemporary art education and what art educators in my district often implement I initially saw this through my first meeting with the art educators in my district that included each art teacher sharing their favorite lesson plan. There wasn 't a set curriculum we needed to follow, so we were all teaching different concepts, skills, and techniques to our own interpretations of the state art standards. Many art educators seem deeply entrenched in past art education al paradigms while others are open to change and implementation of best practices. The reason behind the study is the need for art educators to have opportunities to discuss the practices being presented in contemporary publications in relation to the practices enacted in their classr ooms and to be able to act meaningfully on those discussions

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! 10 The art teachers who participate d in teaching t he new curriculum in my district and reflected on it for my study had the opportunity to develop ideas and converse about the ways that they are implementing new art curriculum practices This project provide d art educators an avenue of discussion about contemporary art and art education practices as they engage in the process of implementing changes in our district art curriculum. Assumptions I assume that changes need to be made to art curriculum to bring them in line with contemporary theories and practices of artmaking, teaching, and learning I believe this process can be prompted by access to professional development related to contempora ry art education I also assume that individual art educators who so choose to enact change may sometimes struggle to have a voice in presenting current practices to their colleagues Based on my personal experience I assume that other art educators are e ncountering challenges in their attempts to promote contemporary practices in their districts Definition of Terms Art Education Paradigm. A paradigm is a pattern or model of art education practice that a community of art educators value or practice. Cha nges occur as art educators accept and implement different paradigms. Changes in the model of curriculum over time include looking at the continuity, revision, and depth and breadth of instructional practices in art education. Through the practices of educ ational visions, the conceptual system shared by a group of educators becomes a paradigm (Efland, 2004). Backward Design Model Backward design is a method of writing educational curriculum based on targeting the knowledge and understanding students need to have as a result of the instruction before selecting the method of instruction or assessment. In the three

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! 11 stag es of writing curriculum using backward d esign the creation of the lesson plan is the last step. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe developed the backward d esign model The format looks at critical questions and focuses on what students truly need to understand for more meaningful instruction ( Wiggins 1982). Big Idea s B ig idea s is the term for core concept s, principles, theories, and processes th at serve as the focal point s of curricula, instruction and assessment. Big ideas create a connection between art and subjects in general education. These concepts guide the curriculum and are similar to themes, topics, or issues that reflect big questions that are investigated over time (Stewart & Walker, 2005). Creative Self Expression This is a modernist movement in art education focusing on the individual personality of the child through the concept that children are instinctive artists Freudian psycho analysis and expressionist aesthetic lead to the child centered pedagogy in Progressive Schools in the 1920s. In this model, c hildren are seen as innately creative and influenced to create by the artist teacher The idea of art education being free from re strictions and based in children's experience began through finger painting, which led to the ideology of self expression through child art as popular culture (Stankiewicz, 2001). Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE). This is a movement in art education t hat focuses on aesthetics, art criticism, art history, and art production. This model provide s opportunities for students to discuss and respond to artwork in addition to artistic expression. The five year project "Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge" (TETAC) built upon DBAE theory and practic e in art education leading to interdisciplinary teaching with a comprehensive approach to arts education (Stewart & Walker, 2005).

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! 12 Essential Question. Essential questions are used in the backward design model of curriculum writing. The essential question organizes your unit of study for student reflection on a real world, experience driven question. Essential questions engage and focus learning with life questions that foster thinking about a concept or i ssue (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011). Integrated Curriculum Integrated curriculum is instruction based in connecting social, historical, cultural, or other subject area content with the art instruction. In the context of the school curriculum, the subject area s can include, but are not limited to, science, social studies, history, language arts, or math. In an integrated curriculum different subject areas are blended together to create meaningful connections (Stewart & Walker 2005). Professional Learning Comm unity (PLC). The purpose of professional learning communities is development of collaborative learning with colleagues in your field. They are used in schools to aide teachers working in groups for sustained improvement in the schools and districts. Profes sional Learning Communities are built with a common goal, mission, vision, and values with the purpose of reducin g isolation of teachers (DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008). Visual Culture. Visual Culture Art Education is the practice of studying culture throu gh historical, cross cultural, aesthetic, and social contexts. Visual Culture Art Education is focused in enriching and enhancing student learning through connections to art. In art curriculum, artwork s are studied in their contexts with the history of the images for authentic instruction based in issues that affect student's culture It allows students to begin to question and understand the contemporary world around them by viewing the artistic process behind each visual idea they view, and addressing how the images and designed objects are meaningful to visual culture (Duncum, 2002).

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! 13 Limitations of the Study This study had limitations due to its focus on a sampling of discussion between art educators that I know and who were willing to participate The study did not include art curriculum recommendations that should be used as contemporary best practice, but rather a collection of data to support implementing change. The study is limited to the discussion of participants in my school district who commi t t ed to participating in the survey and had a small sampling of about twenty, elementary art educator's opinions and experiences. Literature Review Paradigms throughout the history of art education led to idea s reflected in contemporary art educatio n pra ctice (Efland, 2004) Art classroom practices changed over time reflect ing prevailing theories about what art is and how it is made and best taught. Several scholars have explored the modifications and development of art education scholars including Freed man (2011), Gude (2004), Efland (2004), Stankiewicz (2001), and Duncum (2002). Through their work we learn that art education is always changing. A Brief History of Art Education By understanding past movements in art education, art educators can cultiv ate new ideas and practices as leaders in the field (Freedman, 2011). Based on the research of R ousseau and Pestalozzi, Friedrich Frobel initiated a child centered curriculum known as kindergarten for young children focused in the development of sensory, c reative, and hands on learning (Sienkiewicz, 1985). When art education was brought into higher level classroom s it was viewed as a means of teaching representational drawing from nature for the development of technical skill. With the decorative and repre sentational arts, the Industrial Revolution allowed for the emergence of the art specialist as the expert to provide constructive art education in

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! 14 technical drawing skills (Stankiewicz, 2001). As art education began to evolve in this country studies based on research of children's growth and development took the forefront in giving students imaginative, self expressive, learning experiences (Eisner, 2004). These beginning initiatives set the foundation for ar t education as we know it today Based on the id ea that anyone can draw, visual arts formed as a language all students could learn through public education (Stankiewicz, 2001). Cr eative self expression was founded in emerging social reform about childhood and artmaking in the twentieth century (Duncu m, 2002). During this time, children were seen as instinctive artists who followed universal developmental patterns (Stankiewicz, 2001). After art education turned from structured study to creative self expression, art became a means to make life special, to occupy time away from work, celebrate community history, and bring people together (Stankiewicz, 2001). The addition of aesthetics or aesthetic theory led to the emphasis of analyzing visuals and forms as a part of art education. The beauty and appreci ation of art led to the development of terminology to discuss artwork. Building on the work of Arthur Wesley Dow terminology was developed to discuss artwork with the elements and principles of d esign (Walkup, 2001). The elements and principles of design have had a profound impact on the teaching of art production and discussion since the early twentieth century and are seen as a way to judge and evaluate an art product. The use of the elements and principles of design are still seen in con temporary art classrooms, and are often the foundation of the curriculum As art education evolved over the twentieth century, Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) was instituted as a framework for creating a rigorous curriculum focused in art production, art history, art criticism, and art production (Stankiewicz, 2001) Research on the influence and reformation of Disciplin e

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! 15 Based Art Education (DBAE) was explored and implemented through the Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge (TETAC) (Hutchens & Pankrat z, 2000). TETAC was a task force of art educators from six regional organizations that worked to develop curriculum guidelines (Stewart & Walker, 2005). The reform in curriculum continued to progress through the development of National Standards for art ed ucation over the next few years. C ontemporary art education curriculum reform efforts include multicultural education, visual culture art education and thematic integrated curricula guided by big ideas (Efland, 2004 ; Stewart & Walker, 2005 ). These movem ents look at educating students through the examination of art from diverse cultures, the examination of visual experience in everyday life, and blending art with other school subjects. Amid the change, there is still ongoing, and unquestioned dependence o n past models of art educational practice in contemporary art curriculum. In some cases, t his has led to the lack of addressing the contemporary best practices of teaching 21 st century skills and big idea s that are a part of contemporary movements in art curriculum (Anderson & Milbrandt, 2005). W riting curriculum based in big ideas and addressing critical questions provides art educators with the ability to focus their teaching on what students truly need to know and understand (Wiggins, 1989). The Art C urriculum There is the educational saying that you teach the way you've been taught With these past, shifting models in art education, there are often misconceptions about what should be placed in contemporary art curriculum. A rt educators are taught abo ut current practices through their courses of study during their professional training Student teaching and professional teaching experience further shapes the knowledge and effectiveness of art educators as they get a classroom of their own.

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! 16 There is a n overwhelming amount of information on the different approaches to creating art curriculum A ll of the past movements seem to find their way into contemporary art curriculum. Gude (2004) addresses the need to move away from past traditions in contemporary art curriculum. She specifically speaks to the need to move away from the modernist philosophy that the elements and principles of design are the essence of artmaking in art curriculum (Gude, 2004). The constant exploration and restructuring of art curric ulum is often a pitfall for the misconceptions and lack of support for art education and art educators. By knowing the past of art curriculum in schools, one is able to understand how other art educators have been trained in the past. When writing art cu rriculum using contemporary practices, big ideas allow for teaching for understanding over the basic knowledge and skills (Walker, 2001). Big ideas allow for art educators to build meaning beyond basic elements and principles of design and focus on real wo rld, life concepts and issues. The elements and principles of design could each be seen as big ideas, but instruction is not solely based on the design concepts. This interdisciplinary approach to art education allows for students to reflect on essential q uestions This reflection connects art to real world experiences and builds knowledge on a topic throughout life encounters with the subject matter (Stewart & Walker, 2005). The use of big ideas and essential questions fall are a fundamental component of t he backward design model of writing art curriculum. Through this model, educators are able to look at what they want students to understand and be skilled at first, so that they are able to then create a lesson or unit that builds to the knowledge students need (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011). Through connections to and progress from the past art educators can develop changes in art curriculum as effective advocacy and leadership for art education. When defining curriculum, it can roughly be defined as "what s tudents have an opportunity to learn (and not)

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! 17 (May, 1990). The process of implementing new art curriculum practices leads to many points of view about art curriculum. May (1990) describes the theoretical framework of implementing change and reveals the di fferent lenses in curriculum deliberation. The lenses include the teacher's personal knowledge, the collaborative conversations, and the context of the formal meeting. As I found in my research, t hese discussions rely heavily on the communication between a rt educators and lend themselves to the formation of professional learning communities among art educators. Community built between educators allows for organization of teachers development in accountability quality pedagogy, and increased understanding of teaching standards (DuFour, DuFour, & Eakers, 2008). Methodology This study was completed as participatory action research. Lodico, Spaulding, and Voegtle (2010) define action research as studying the process of enhancing and improving current practic es in a specific classroom, school, or district. In participatory action research, we study a process that we are a part of and use our own experiences to gather information we reflect on to learn more about ourselves and our communities (McGinty & Waters Adams, 2006). The aim is combining knowledge and action for change and community improvement This study combine d experiential knowledge and action to make recommendations for how curriculum is revised. The initial collection of data occurred during curric ulum writing meetings through documentation of discussions between the three art educators writing the district art curriculum The participants in the study analyzed the process of implementing curriculum by conversing and reflect ing about current researc h and curriculum theory Along with the conversations, a survey was taken by each participant to reveal their improvement and

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! 18 practices in the art classroom after the implementation of the curriculum. The action research study focuse d on the perspectives o f the art educators and the examination of their experiences. The new curriculum was written based on the backward design model template provided by our school district. The cu rriculum writing team consists of two elementary art educators from my district and myself who wrote the content of the curriculum. The curriculum implemented in the study was written by the three of us over a two year period of time during district organized curriculum planning meetings. Using the backward design model as our templa te for the art curriculum, we began by establishing the desired results of our student learning including goals, student understandings, essential questions, and big ideas. The art curriculum was written according to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skill s (TEKS), which are the state of Texas standards for students. The TEKS were recently updated and adopted for implementation in 2015 The art curriculum is written with the new changes in mind following the newly adopted TEKS. Along with the art curricul um format, we have developed several resources for interpreting the TEKS and implementing big ideas. Some of the resources include a big idea bank that lists suggested big ideas, essential questions, and contemporary artists that art teachers can select t o teach in their lessons a rubric evaluating student performance levels according to the district's standards based report card, and a media chart displaying when the TEKS define which materials and techniques must be used by each grade level. Each art tea cher in our district has the ability to select their own big idea and learning plan to meet the criteria of the learning goal of the unit and the evidence of learning on the district rubric. The art curriculum is seen as an outline of what student should k now and be able to do by the end of each unit, while each art educator has the ability to instruct according to their own learning plan.

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! 19 The research took place when the art educators participate d in the implementation of the new art curriculum over a six week period. The study also included training in contemporary art education practices, and the backward design model provided by Daisy McTighe, Nancy Walkup, Dr. Christina Bain, and the curriculum writing team. Participants were encouraged to contribute to discussion occurring in the district professional learning community meetings, and use d the time to reflect on their understanding of the art curriculum. The participants were asked to complete a survey at the end of their new art curriculum implementatio n, as a resource for reflection on the continued journey of writing curriculum The Survey Instrument The participating educators completed an anonymous survey to help the curriculum writing team learn more about the art education community in our distri ct. Participating art educators gave information from their teaching and life experiences by logging on to a survey website that displays five questions with a space for typed responses. The survey asked for information on the art educator's experience wit h art curriculum and curriculum changes. 1. What big idea did you implement in the new 5th grade art curriculum? And, how did you teach it? 2. What do you feel worked well in the new art curriculum? 3. What do you wish you had more information about rela ting to the new art curriculum? 4. Where did you see a need for improvement in the new art curriculum? 5. How do you think we should implement the new art units of curriculum next year? What is doable for you? These questions built on the professional lea rning community discussions, and provide d additional opportunities for the participants to express thoughts on their experiences. Some may

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! 20 have found it easier to be honest in the anonymous survey than in person I aggregated the r esults of the survey and created visual s that displays the results of implementing new art curriculum and changes suggested by the participants. The data was recorded and used to update and continue the process of writing contemporary art cur riculum for the school district. Subje cts In addition to implement ing the new backward design model curriculum the g roup of elementary art educators who participated in this study were also asked to complete a survey Participants included the twenty (out of twenty one) art educators from my school district that committed to taking the anonymous survey and implementing the new art curriculum. I expect ed this group of educators would offer different perspectives in the process of implementing change The survey was conducted online, and disc ussions that took place in our professional learning community through meetings in the schools and via email The research took place over the Fall 2013 semester, and was used to generate the supplemental resources and information that came from the partic ipants' discussions. Data Analysis Procedures I analyzed the data collected through the survey for themes based on big ideas, participation, and aspects of the curriculum (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010). Through discussion occurring at the professio nal learning community meetings, the art educators were able to discuss the success of implementing the art curriculum The discussion was mined for trends, patterns, and themes, and then used to create visuals that interpret the discussions of the partici apants Looking across information collected from the participants via the survey, I was able to create generalizations about the process of implementing contemporary art curriculum. I

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! 21 aim ed to explore interpret, and understand the context s of the partici pants teaching situations through observation of the discussion and taking an interactive role in understanding the experiences of each art educator. All of the information and data collected is reported using narrative rather than numbers (Lodicio, Spaul ding, & Voetle, 2010). To analyze the information and discussions found in the online survey the data was entered into visual organizer s The participant's responses were placed in charts and tables to group participants with similar ideology and relay i nformation about t he growth of the art educators. The survey data was analyzed thematically, coded, and categorized and put into the graphic maps. When the maps were completed, member checking by participants occured for feedback on the display of their id eas (Creswell & Miller, 2000) Limitations Due to the span of the project, the implementation and survey took place over a six week period of time. It was also limited to participants that I had contact w ith and c ould participate within the time span. F indings The goal of the study was to explore the process of applying contemporary art practices within a school district, and the exploration of art educator's growth through reflection and training in curricular practices. This was investigated through t he collaborative development and implementation of new art curriculum written in the backward design format featuring fifth grade instruction at twenty elementary schools. This was done while questioning the process of enacting change in art curriculum and the development of reflection in the professional learning community. This section looks at the experience of the twenty art educators as they implemented the

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! 22 new art curriculum and reveals the discoveries in the process of making changes in a district wide curriculum implementation. It also reports on the building of community among the participants in the study as they engaged in the art curriculum implementation. A nalyzing the survey, I was able to see what big ideas the participants were comfortab le with using during their first implementation of the art curriculum. Though the art teachers in the study were given a resource with twenty six big ideas listed with connecting essential questions and contemporary artist, the participants were most comfo rtable with using six different big ideas. The big ideas used in the first implementation included community, communication, environment, fantasy, history, and perspective. The most commonly used big idea was community followed by environment. The results of the study in relation to the use of big ideas can be seen in Figure 1 Figure 1. The use of big i deas by participants in the new district art c urriculum Information about the implementation of the art curriculum in relation to the participants cou ld also been seen in their suggestions about the curriculum in the survey. As seen in Figure "! #! $! %! &! '! (! )! !"#$%&'(%)*+#,%!+-+%.,+*/% *+,-./!01!23/456573849!

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! 23 2 the participants overwhelmingly felt that student understanding was improved through the implementation of the new art curriculum. The participants also felt th at the use of big ideas was a successful aspect of the art curriculum. Part of the curriculum the participants felt worked with the implementation of the curriculum included improvement in discussion about art, using essential questions, provided resources and help with organization. The participants were also asked in the survey about what didn't work well for them during the first implementation. The participants' felt that they need more time and training in regards to the new art curriculum, and that i n the next meetings together we should share lesson ideas and provide examples of the curriculum's learning plans. One participant stated, It would have been nice to see a completed lesson plan. An example of what you chose as the big idea and what lesson plans you used to support that idea." The results of this question can be seen in Figure 3 Overall, I found that change is a slow process and though I may be able to change my teaching practices in a short period of time, others implementing the same a rt curriculum may find it a challenge and require more training or encouragement to continue on the journey of change. Figure 2. What worked well when i ns tructing with t he new c urriculum "! '! #"! #'! :596+99508! ;-0+4!;/4! <958=!>5=!?@.39! <958=!A99.8453B! C+.945089! D.90+/6.9! E.B758=!F54G! H/=385I34508!! J4+@.84! <8@./9438@58=!! !"#$%!0-1+*%!+22/% *+,-./!01! 23/456573849!

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! 24 Where do we need to improve? More planning time. More dialog ue about curriculum. Planning time together. Collaboration on lesson planning. Provide examples. Figure 3. Where do we need to i mprove Enacting Change, Slow but Steady At the beginning of this process, it took the curriculum writing team a lot of reading and research to understand the importance of backward design Also, this was the first time my school district has implemented any type of district wide art curriculum. Though we did not have one hundred percent participation with this first imple mentation period in August, the survey showed an eagerness to accept the changes and learn new concepts to continue implementation thr oughout all of the grade levels (s ee Figure 4 ) Even with the professional development in the area of current art educatio n practices, the art educators felt that they still need more training in understanding big ideas and there needs for simplification of the formatting grid work of the art curriculum. A participant stated, "I don't feel like I am familiar with the new curr iculum. It was like a crash course with a lot of information presented quickly. While I understood what was presented, I feel like I don't know it well enough to use it. I would like to learn this in pieces." This finding reminds me that this study is just a glimpse into the start of a long journey of change. I now know that slow and steady collaboration with

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! 25 participants of this study will encourage change and the continued implementation of the backward design model art curriculum. Figure 4 Visual representation of p articipants from my school d istrict One example of the slow process was seen in the art educator's discussion during our professional learning community meeting about future implementation. As you can see in Figure 5, the participant s are leaning towards only implementing the backward design model for one grade level throughout the next school year. Out of the six grade levels that we teach, only one would experience the new curriculum building on the first unit taught this school ye ar. The art educators were hesitant about implementing more units without a full understanding of the units they just completed. With further training and continued support the process of enacting change is gaining support. "! #"! $"! 3#-$'4'5#6$,%.,'6(%7+8% 9:--'4:2:;% 3#-$'4'5#6$,%70$%.,'6(% 7+8%9:--'4:2:;% 7:;<+-%0=%3#-$'4'5#6$,% *+,-./!01! 23/456573849!

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! 26 Future Implementation Rate Numb er Supporting Multiple Grade Levels 6 A Single Grade Level For a Year 9 One Grade Level Half a Year 4 One Unit 1 Figure 5 Suggested future implementation r ate Communication is Key, You Must Listen To Be Heard Through out the process of implementing the new art curriculum, the art educators in the district have begun communicating with each other about teaching practices more often than in previous years. In the past our professional development mainly included museum and technical training. Though those resources are important components of classroom instruction, the meetings about the new art curriculum, training on big ideas, and discussion about the changes helped us create a community of reflection and discussion. The creation of the professiona l learning community within the elementary art teacher group allowed us to find a common goal and mission. We have shifted the focus of our professional development to be about contemporary art education practices, making sure that each art teacher underst ands the teaching practices and potential to enhance student learning The art teachers involved in this project have started relying on each other through constant email communication with questions and resources they have found. Through online communic ation the participants are gaining a better understanding of the art curriculum implementation process. The development of a professional learning community amongst our

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! 27 art educators has developed a sense of mutu al understanding, with a common goal along w ith the mission and values of our group. The use of professionally learning communities (PLC) in my school district started six years ago. During the implementation of the PLC, the art teachers in the district at that time were able to develop a mission f or elementary art education in our district. We used this mission to develop a goal for each school year. The PLC was a source of strife between the art educators in the district for the first couple of years due to the debate over what should really be ta ught in elementary art and how students should be evaluated according to the implementation of standards based report cards. Since PLC s were started throughout the district, administration then provided the elementary art PLC with meetings dates throughou t the year. It started with two meetings one in August and one in January. We have stressed the importance of these meetings and this school year we were provided with two in August, one in October, and one in January. Two years ago I became the leader of the PLC and started the process by making a goal of helping the art teachers focus on learning ab out contemporary art education. I have used this position to help provide literature and resources for the art teachers to read and respond to during our meeti ngs, and I have brought in several presenters to help support this endeavor. Through the frontloading of information, resources, and presentations two years ago, the art teachers were open to the training the curriculum writing team presented at the beginn ing of the art curriculum implementation. Over the past two years, the PLC has come to rely on each other and with each meeting we become more knowledgeable about art education together. This format of community allows for communication amongst all the me mbers that allows for open and honest reflection. The use of email communication, and the online survey

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! 28 served as a way to bring people together when introducing new art curriculum (s ee Figure 6 ) The use of an email group evolved as a result of our profes sional learning community meetings and included all of the participants allowing for quick discussion relating to questions, concepts, and resources. It allowed for instant communication with others and allowed for a sense of community. The discussion tha t occurred digitally and in person allowed for increased opportunities for collaboration. Figure 6 Photograph of professional learning community after f irst c urriculum m eeting Summary Across Findings The commonalities in the findings reveal the balan ce between open and honest communication with the participants' acceptance of the proposed curricular changes. The findings reveal that during the process of implementing new art curriculum, art educators need to be able to communicate with each other to f oster a willingness to change. The professional learning community became a place for teaching new concepts with honest feedback, along with being a venue for discussion about the new art curriculum.

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! 29 Surprisingly, teaching experience or length of time in t he school district did not become a major factor in the participants' wiliness to change. Though the art educators involved in the project had different teaching experience, their acceptance of the art curriculum relied on their readiness to change not upo n their understanding of their past teaching experiences. The past educational paradigms came up in our professional learning community discussion, as we talked about the changes in current trends in art education. Through discussion we found that there ar e important past practices, but the process of implementing the new art curriculum revealed how the past paradigms have evolved into the current art curriculum. This was seen during our lesson sharing and art techniques session during our professional deve lopment. The participants each shared an art practice or skill they use to inspire their lessons. The art techniques and skills were then discussed in relation to big ideas and the backward design model of curriculum. The practice of artmaking is the skill students should gain by implementing the art education practices. The feedback given anonymously through the online survey allowed for honest responses to the implementation of the art curriculum that will help direct the course of future implementation as seen in Figure 7 Throughout this process, the curriculum writing team has continued to meet and write the full curriculum for full year elementary art curriculum. The curriculum writing team will use all of my findings through the survey results to a pproach the implementation of the other new units we have written. Though the survey feedback did not build a sense of community due to its isolation and anonymity, participants were able to give feedback in open discussion during our professional learning community meeting. We were able to judge people's comfort levels with the implementation, and identify areas of needed improvement in the curriculum and resources.

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! 30 Figure 7 Sample participant survey r esponse Conclusion and Recommendations The goal o f the research was to investigate the process and practice of applying current art curriculum in a district setting. Contemporary art education practices are a reflection of the changes throughout art education history (Efland, 2004). The use of big ideas and critical questions within the backward design model of curriculum allows art educators the ability to focus on what students need to know and understand (Wiggins, 1989). Through the backward design c urriculum format, my school district began the proces s of implementing new district wide curriculum. The participating art educators from my school district implemented the curriculum through training, discussion, and professional development. Dialogue and inquiry are a foundation for curriculum reform allow ing the needed time and space for collaboration (May, 1990).

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! 31 After the implementation, participants completed a survey displaying their understanding of big ideas, along with their needs for continuation of the curriculum. As an active participant in th e process, I was able to enhance and improve my own teaching practices alongside the other participants in this project. I found that change is possible if people are willing to imagine new possibilities and be reflective about their work Accepting the ne w art curriculum was aided by the administration's push to support the new curriculum though there is still a need for continued discussion and training. All but one participant actively engaged in implementing the new curriculum in their classroom. Disc ussion and Interpretation of Findings This study reveals the beginning stages of implementing new art curriculum in a school district. The writing of the art curriculum, training of the art educators, and resulting feedback allow for a glimpse into the pr ocess of implementing new art curriculum in the backward design format. Going through this journey, I have learned about the amount of resources and ideas that are available to those writing curriculum, but I have yet to find many art educators that have e xperienced writing district curriculu m I feel that the process is never ending, but with the implementation of the first unit this year I was able to see the practical implication of the unit we created and the slow process of change. I have come to the r ealization that providing the tools and resources for change allow s art educators to build their own experiences implementing new curriculum. It is impossible to make someone change that doesn't want to change, but the collaboration and communication among st the participants allows for art curriculum reform. The pressures from the administration and continued requirement of implementing more units will provide practice to those who are building on the units they added this year. This will allow time for tho se who didn't participate to find their place in understanding the new art curriculum.

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! 32 The results of our collaborative writing group have been successful and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow and develop. Though our art curriculum is emphasizin g the importan t concepts and standards that should be taught, the slow and conceptual discussion that has come from the writing is the biggest take away piece I have seen. The process is a slow moving tanker ship charting a new direction rather than a spee dboat changing course. Significance, Implications, and Recommendations The significance of this study is the personal experience I share about writing and implementing new art curriculum with my colleagues. Art educators are often isolated in their class rooms. T he steps my district has taken to create a professional learning community amongst the elementary art educators have allowed for discussion, inquiry, and training of the art educators. The findings of this study are valuable to any educator impleme nting new art curriculum practices, building a group of educators, or looking to make a change in their school district. Within the area of art education and art curriculum reform, I believe that it should be district policy to delegate time for art educ ators to come together to discuss art education trends and complete professional development together. Building a community together is in the best interest of student learning, and the collaboration between art educators leads to the enhancement of the di strict's art education. Along with this, the importance of professional development for educators in the field of art education is revealed as necessary for collaboration and training within the field. As I c ontinue forward, I plan to conduct additional research within the backward design model and implementing new art curriculum. At this point, the curriculum writing team is meeting again to discuss the results I received in the survey. We will take the next step in

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! 33 curriculum implementation next August with a second presentation to the principals and art educators who will have to take on teaching using the backward design model and big ideas for the entire school year. Conclusion My personal journey of research in the backward design model and curricu lum writing over the past three years preceded the research done in this study. This in depth study has lead to reflection into the process of implementing change on a large scale through a school district. Though it is just the beginning of the process, I believe it is an important description of one art teacher's experience writing and implementing a new art curriculum with twenty of her colleagues. I am submitting a summary of my experiences over the past three years to a peer reviewed art education publ ication in the hopes of sharing my story with a wider audience. Though I started the journey of writing art curriculum before entering my graduate studies, the research and learning I have done throughout this program has shaped the entire process and has helped to allow me to reflect on the process and observe the uniqueness of my experience. The growth in our ability to enact and engage change, as well as the development in communication amongst the art educators has surpassed my expectations. The survey results allow us to reflect, improve, and engage in dialogue to keep this process moving forward. Change is not something widely accepted over a short period of time, and the transformation in our instruction will be developed in the years to com e.

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! 34 Append ix A CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH Engaging Contemporary Curriculum You are invited to participate in a research study conducted by Kelley Quinn McGee, a master's student in the art education program at University of Florida. This research is being co nducted as part of a graduate capstone project, supervised by Jodi Kushins and Craig Roland of University of Florida. Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary. Please read the information below and ask questions about anything you do not unde rstand, before deciding whether or not to participate. This project is designed to examine the development of contemporary art curriculum in elementary art classrooms through discussion on a blog and a survey concerning your experience implementing the cur riculum in accordance with the school district's backward design model for elementary education. If you volunteer to participate in this study, you will be asked to do the following things over a period of eight weeks: 1. Read blog posts and participate in re lated discussions among your peers. 2. Brainstorm ways to enhance and improve the current district curriculum development practices. 3. Post responses, articles, images, and other resources as comments on the blog. 4. Participate in a survey about your personal exp erience implementing new curriculum concepts. The written information you provide will remain with me, the principal researcher, but findings from the research will be available to the public through University of Florida. Your names, titles and other pri vate information will be kept confidential including all blog posts. Though blog posts will not be anonymous on the blog site, each participate will be given an alias when discussed in the study like Blogger #1. Any materials I collect will remain in a loc ked filing cabinet or password protected digital folder throughout the study. The principal investigator is hopeful that your participation in this research will result in us all learning more about contemporary curricular practices in the classroom and be coming more aware of how to create meaningful experiences for students. There are no potential physical risks or chances of physical discomfort that will take place during this research. You can choose whether or not to be in this study. There is no pena lty for not participating. If you volunteer to be in this study, you may withdraw at any time without consequences of any kind. You may also refuse to answer any questions you do not want to answer. If you have any questions or concerns about this researc h, please contact Kelley Quinn McGee, principal researcher at 817.845.3747 or email kquinn2@dentonisd.org The University of Florida's Review Board has reviewed my request to conduct this project. If you have any concerns about your rights in this study, please contact the IRB Compliance Hotline at (352) 294 5549 I understand the procedures described above. My questions have been answered to my satisfaction, and I agree to participate in this study. I have been g iven a copy of this form. ____________________________________ ____________________________________ Printed Name of Subject Signature of Subject Date

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! 35 Appendix B New Art Curriculum Survey

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! 36 Appendix C Survey Responses By Participant Participant #1 Participant #2

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! 37 Participant #3 Participant #4

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! 38 Participant #5 Participant #6

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! 39 Participant #7 Participant #8

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! 40 Participant #9 Participant #10

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! 41 Participant #11 Participant #12

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! 42 Participant #13 Participant #14

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! 43 Participant #15 Participant #16

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! 44 Participant #17 Participant #18

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! 45 Participant #19

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! 46 List of Fi gures with Captions Figure 1 The use of b ig ideas in the new district art c urriculum ................................ .................. 22 Figure 2 What worked well when instructing with the new c urriculum ................................ ...... 2 3 Figure 3 Where do we need to i mprove ................................ ................................ ....................... 24 Figure 4 Visual representation of participants from my school d istrict ................................ ....... 25 Figure 5 Suggested f utur e implementation r ate ................................ ................................ ............ 26 Figure 6 Photograph of professional learning community after first curriculum m eeting ........... 28 Figure 7. Sample participant survey r esponse ................................ ................................ ............... 30

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! 47 References Anderson, T., & Mil brandt, M. K. (2005). Art for life: Authentic instruction in art (pp. 7 14). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1982). Qualitative research for education Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determin ing validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into Practice 39 (3), 124 130. DuFour, R., DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (2008). Finding common group in education reform. Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Duncum P. (2002). Children never were what they were: Perspectives on childhood. In Y. Gaudelius & P. Spiers (Eds.) Contemporary issues in art education (pp. 97 107). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Efland, A. (2004). Emerging visions of art education. In E. Eisner & M. Day (Eds.), The handbook of research and policy in art education (pp. 691 701). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Eisner, E.W. (2004). Handbook of research and policy in art education Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. F reedman, K. (2011). Leadership in art education: Taking action in schools and communities. Art Education 64 (2), 40 45. Gude, O. (2004). Postmodern principles: In search of a 21 st century art education. Art Education 57 (1), 6 14. Gude, O. (2007). Princ iples of possibility: Considerations for a 21 st century art & culture curriculum. Art Education 60 (1), 6 17.

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! 48 Hutchens, J., & Pankratz, D. B. (2000). Change in arts education: Transforming education through the arts challenge ( TETAC ). Arts Education Poli cy Review 101 (4), 5 10. Lodico, M., Spaulding, D., & Voegtle, K. (2010). Methods in educational research: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. May, W. (1990 ). Art/music teacher's curriculum deliberations Manus cript submitted for publication, Michigan State University, Available from The Center for the Learning and Teaching of Elementary Subjects Institute for Research on Teaching http://education.msu.edu/irt/PDFs/ElementarySubjectsCenter/esc022.pdf McGinty, M ., & Waters Adams, S. (2006). Action research in education Retrieved from http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/actionresearch/arhome.htm. Sienkiewicz, C. (1985). The Froebelian kindergarten as an art academy. In B. Wilson & H. Hoffa (Eds.), The history of art education: Proceedings from the Penn State conference,1985 (pp. 125 137). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Sinek, S. (Performer) (2010, May). Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action. TEDX [ Video podcast ]. Retrieved from http ://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html. Stankiewicz, M.A. (2001). Roots of art education practice Worcester, MA: Davis Publications Steward, M. G., & Walker, S. R. (2005). Rethinking curriculum in art .Worcester, MA: Davi s Publication, Inc. Walker, S. (2001). Teaching meaning in artmaking Worcester, MA: Davis Publication, Inc. Walkup, N. (2001, September). Arthur Wesley Dow: The father of foundations. School Arts 101 (1), 23.

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! 49 Wiggins,G. (1989). The futility of trying to teach everything of importance. Educational Leadership, 47 (3), 44 48, 57 59. Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2011). The understanding by design guide to creating high quality units (pp. 70 88). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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! 50 Author Biography I began my undergraduate journey at the University of North Texas' College of Visual Arts and Design My concentration of study was art education, and I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts Studies. I graduated with my Bachelors i n Visual Arts Studies in December 2009, and applied directly to graduate studies through the University of North Texas. Concurrent with my graduate studies, I worked three times a week as an art classroom volunteer with a local Denton art educator. My gra duate studies started with a concentration in art museum education, but the following August I was offered a position as an elementary art educator After my first two years of teaching, I went back to my grad uate studies by applying to the Master's progra m at the University of Florida in art education. I am currently a part of the district curriculum writing team, the leader of the elementary art professional learning community, a member of the district's fine arts council, my school's social committee cha irman, and a member of the school's leadership council. I currently live with my husband and our three dogs in Fort Worth, Texas. We just moved into the home we designed and built together. We are fully involved with our family and friends, and spend our free time relaxing and traveling. I enjoy mixed media watercolor painting, and am currently working on a c ollection of work for a teacher art exhibition.