Meta-Reflection for Curriculum Design

The way that a teacher constructs their curriculum can either make the class or break it. Before taking this class, I had a basic idea of how to construct my curriculum in ways that would present the information. However, after this class I realized the importance of developing a kind of curriculum that will be tailored to students.

I had prided myself in the way that I differentiated my classroom, but after reading Curriculum Leadership: Readings for Developing Quality Educational Programs, I realized that there are so many more ways that I can play to my students strengths. In addition to building my tool box in building student strengths, I also realized the importance of clearly spelling out standards for that content area. After this class, I feel like I can say with confidence that I am meeting the HOPE principles O1, P1, P2, P3, and P4. These principles call the teacher candidate to….

  • O1 – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.
  • P1 – Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction.
  • P2 – Practice differentiated instruction.
  • P3 – Practice standards-based assessment.
  • P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction

According to Curriculum Leadership, to have a well constructed curriculum you need to “create the desired balance between acquisition of content and mastery of processes, sequencing of content, incorporating students prior knowledge, identify methods for assessing student learning, determine the short-term versus long-term performance, and quality versus quantity (Parkay p. 301)”. As an instructor of the visual arts, I especially felt strong about the idea of quality versus quantity. The biggest thing that I have learned through my internship is that students work about four times slower than expected. It is because of this reason that I make my projects smaller than I think they need to be. For example, on our final project I asked students to create a hybrid animal, something with wordplay, or a ceramic shoe. I assumed that three weeks would be more than enough time to create a sculpture. However, much to my shock many students are still not done constructing something that is smaller than the size of an open hand. I appreciate that they are taking their time to create a quality piece of art, but I almost wish I would have made it simpler for a final.

Final Choices

(Student Options (differentiation)

Smart Car


Smart Car

Cold Turkey


Cold Turkey



bottle nose dolphin


Bottle Nose Dolphin

Final Project

Time Flies Sea Legs

Another area that I really developed in was assessment of student learning. The chart included below really helped me think about how I would be assessing students during a project and after a project.

photo 1 (1)

(Curriculum Leadership; Parkay. Page 403)

When I started my internship, there were no official formative evaluations that had been developed. Partially from this class, I developed a form that helped student perform a mid-project critique of themselves and evaluate what they needed to do to improve and how far they were on their way to completion.

In conclusion, this class has given me the upper hand in creating a curriculum that will be effective and informative while playing to the strengths of my students.


Project Details

As mentioned in my last post, I want to teach a unit that was easily adapted to different mediums and different levels of learners. If you have not yet read my first blog, read What I want to Teach and Why. This will get you up to speed so I can better explain the project details.

This project would be broken down into several areas: assessments, color wheel, color theory, color psychology, advertising with color, and a final project

The project would ask students to analyze an advertisement simply by looking at the product and the color scheme. This would require students to understand the color wheel, how colors were created, and the psychology of color in advertising.

To begin with, there would be a pre-assessment given to students to determine how much they knew coming into the project. This pre-assessment would ask students simple questions like..

  1. What does the color red represent?
  2. What kind of emotion does the color green create?

These questions are ones that may be confusing to someone who didn’t understand color or color theory so it would be important that these pre-assessments did not effect the grade of the student.

After taking this pre-assessment, students would then launch into understanding color theory. They would watch a YouTube video on the color wheel and experiment in creating colors by mixing. This would then launch students in their understanding the origin of color and how it is created.

The next part of this project would be an investigation into the psychology of color. This s video that gives a brief introduction to the importance of color psychology and understanding how it affects the way we interact with the world around us. After watching a brief introduction to this, a more in detail explanation could be given through the use of PowerPoint and having students follow along and come to their own conclusions about what the colors are meant to do to the human brain.

After learning this portion of the unit, then students could begin creating pieces of art that are meant to evoke specific emotions. This could be assigned by prompting the student with a statement like…

  • Create a piece of art that causes the viewer to feel relaxed and calm.
  • Create a piece of art that calls attention to a specific area of the canvas.
  • Create a piece of art that causes frustration and anxiety.

Having prompts such as this could easily be adapted depending on the achievement level of students.

After creating a project that was tied into a specific statement, students could take a test that would ask them to analyze an advertisement and product and determine what the goal of the advertisement was.

This project is one that can be extremely in depth, and also easily simplified.

What I want to teach and why


Being that  I am visual arts endorsed teacher candidate, I have several mediums that I could be teaching in. Knowing this,  I wanted to research and create a unit that would be easily adapted and relevant for things that are two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and digital. This unit is meant to explain the psychology of color specifically in advertising and labeling.

To begin with, students will first need to understand the color wheel. Students will need to know and learn …

  • Primary Colors
  • Secondary Colors
  • Tertiary Colors
  • How to mix these colors

A resource that I great for this is a YouTube video that I created. It can be found at the following address

This video can be used by students to watch and listen to, while filling out the following paper.

Color Wheel

These are several materials that I have created that can easily be adapted to many different grade levels, learner levels, and content areas.

The next part of this that I wanted to research was the psychology of color and how this is used in advertising. A resource I found for this area is a website where both the psychology of colors are addressed and also how these are used in advertising specific  products.


I think that a way to help students best understand this is by giving them a pretest where they would guess and explain what each color represented or what they felt from it. By giving a pre-assessment, this could help set the base for how much students knew coming into this project. The final part of this project could be a post-assessment where students were given a specific label or advertisement and had to break it down looking specifically at the color. By having both  a pre-assessment and a post-assessment, students could be evaluated on how much they learned and how successful instruction was.

Having a project that is this broad would allow for it to be adapted easily according to student achievement levels. For ELL students, this could be easily translated to their native language and example could be given from their country of origin. Students who are low achieving could have this project simplified so they would just explain colors and then maybe create a final project where they expressed a specific emotion. As for high achieve students, this project could be adapted to really push their understanding and have them create their own product that they were advertising and trying to sell.

As mentioned previously, teaching color is something that is relevant to all areas of visual arts. This also ties in with the Washington State Standards for High School Proficiency. In addition to color, this project could also incorporate shape/form, and line. In this way this unit plan would be closely related to the Seattle Pacific University HOPE principle O1 that calls candidates to offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.

Zombie Based Learning

The zombie apocalypse is not a typical subject that one would expect in a geography classroom. For David Hunter, he sees a Project Based Learning assignment what will get students excited about geography. Developer and founder for “Zombie Based Learning” (ZBL), David was inspired by the lack of motivation that he had in high school due to the traditional lecture based instruction. As mentioned previously ZBL is a project based learning curriculum. This is “an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question problem or challenge”. These questions are meant to challenge students to think creatively about problems they may be presented with. For example, thinking about a geographical stronghold in a post-apocalyptic landscape. This gets the students thinking about things like what a good location would be considered as, what a bad one would be, the layout of the land, protection, and natural resources.

As an art teacher getting students to get excited about projects is very important to me. David helped encourage me in this area when he discussed what kind of topics to pick. He suggested picking topics that students are interested in. This calls teachers to be aware of what their students are interested in. The way that I do this is I ask students how their weekend was, what they did, ask about their friends, family, sports, etc. Engaging with your students helps you to build report and maintain respect. In my internship, I have experienced this first hand and have come to learn about trending interests like movies, clothes, sayings, and hobbies.

From what I have learned from both my internship experience and David discussing his project based learning, I have begun to create units that are based off these ideas. I want to really deepen student learning by posing questions and asking them to find answers, find authentic ways to assess learning over time, and have strict guidelines to projects but also give them a choice.


For more information on Zombie based learning please look at David Hunter’s website


HOPE principle E2 takes that teacher candidates must exemplify collaboration within the school [1]. For me, this calls teachers to be involved both in their content area and others [1]. In my internship, I helped to create a district assessment by collaborating with teachers both in school and in the district [2].

photo (5)

This assessment is given as a pre-test and post-test for ceramics specifically. This was a way to figure out where students were starting from and then where they end up at the end of the year. This gives us an idea of how successful instruction was for that semester [3]. From this test, we were able to see students raise their pre-test scores from an 8 to 18 out of 20 [4].

Because of this huge score raise, we were able to tell that our instructional methods for the semester had been successful. Specifically I had incorporated vocabulary, critical thinking activities, and self-reflection [5]. To better increase effectiveness of collaboration in a school, I think that I can continue developing materials for the district and school, while also participating in other content areas. It is my hope that in the future I can incorporate history or biology into a subject for art so students can get information from several content areas [6].


Principle O2 states that teacher candidates are supposed to offer appropriate challenge in the content area [1]. In my opinion, this calls me to create assignments that are interesting and allow students to make the project as easy or as hard as they would like or have time for [1]. As I have mentioned previously in my blogs, I scaffold my lessons to let students have more and more freedom for their projects. With the first few assignments, students had to follow a strict guideline of expectations. Now that we are at the end of the semester, I have developed a project that can be easily modified and have several options [2].

For the final, I have given students that option between 3 projects: Word Play, Animal Hybrids, and Shoes [5]. Originally students were asked to replicate a ceramic shoe. However, I felt like giving an option allowed for differentiation in the classroom and let students really show what they had learned [2]. Word Play is a playoff of English compound words. Some examples for this are as follows, Cat Fish (a cat and a fish), Bed Bug (A bed that looks like a bug), or Octopi (Octopus Pie). Many of these projects can be simple or very complex, but it allowed for students to create an assignment that showcased their work. Hybrid Animals is a blend of 2 animals that previously exist on this planet, but the combination is a completely new species. The example I gave for this project was a hummingbird frog, or a giraffe with wings [3].

By giving students the option for projects, they wanted to create something. They did not feel like it was a requirement but rather something they had created and felt proud of [4]. I think that creating lessons where students feel like they have the most control is the best way to run a classroom. I hope that with my own classroom and curriculum I will better be able to bring students opinions into assignments [6].

Final Project

Word Play and Animal Hybrid

(Time Flies and Fish Human)

Final Choices


Options for finals


HOPE principle E3 asks teacher candidates to exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and polices [1]. To me, this means that as a teacher I need to maintain my role as teacher and know what to do in certain situations [1]. Coming into this internship, one area that I was extremely anxious about was students having a friend relationship rather than a teacher-student relationship. Quite often, I have been placed in a situation where students will disclose information to me that I am than legally obligated to report [2]. Throughout the school year I have dealt with students “sexting”, discussing party plans, and endangering the safety of other people. Upon hearing things like this, I have now learned who I need to speak with and what needs to be done. I think that students forget that while I may only be four or five years older than them, they need to treat me like they would any other teacher [2].  On a lighter side of things, I also think that principle E3 discusses the need to maintain school expectations in the classroom. One such thing is student expectations. I expect my students to dress appropriately, treat each other with respect, and also keep the classroom a functional place to learn in [5]. To help remind students of this, I have a sign that states some of the classroom expectations [3]. These are all things that were created by the students and agreed upon. Revisiting and reminders of rules are frequent to maintaining an atmosphere that is professional [4].

photo (3) [3]

 However, I also think that E3 also calls candidates to be responsible and do things like attend staff meetings [1]. Even though I am an intern and student teacher, I have made an effort to attend all the staff meetings and participate in the activities. When I am a real teacher and have my own classroom and school, effectively implementing these professional responsibilities will be something that I will need to change for that specific school.


Principle H2 states that teacher candidates should honor student’s access to content material. To me, this means that a good teacher should not only provide materials to help students accomplish goals for the assignments, but they should also teach the students how to use materials correctly. In my classroom, I go through a fairly long process of explaining the classroom and how it functions.

All of my information that is given is a scaffold structure where I slowly remove the support as students gain confidence with the new materials. For example, during the first week of class students don’t even get a chance to construct something until we have covered classroom layout, rules, and materials. After making sure all students understand the general workings of the classroom, I introduce specific projects. The reason I take the time to set up my classroom is because of an article I recently read by Harry and Rosemary Wong. According to this article, “the first two to three weeks are critical in determining the how well students will achieve for the remainder of the year”. I want to set up classroom norms and expectations during these first few weeks so that my students are more likely to perform well throughout the school year. With every project, I have an observation period where students look at projects from previous semesters, a PowerPoint which provides visuals and explanations, a handout of the project instruction for students to refer to, and a rubric which explains what I will be grading on. I do this so that going into a project, students are sure to understand the goals and be able to perform tasks without having to explain everything multiple times.

To further help with their understanding of material and content, I will also perform mini lessons throughout the course of a project. In these, I will demonstrate a specific technique to complete the project accurately. For example, during the tiki project I demonstrated how to begin constructing the base and creating successful coils. This not only gives students a verbal and written explanation through the PowerPoint and handouts, but also a visual demonstration to further their understanding.

The reason that I go through so many different steps to convey information is because I know that my students learn differently. Some prefer reading instructions while others like to have things demonstrated. By offering a wide variety, I am sure that students will relate to at least one form of presentation.

Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. How To Be An Effective Teacher THE FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL.


Principle H1 states that teaching candidates are to honor student diversity and development [1]. In my opinion, there are several ways in which a teacher can honor student diversity and development and even more recognize their individuality [1]. In my classroom, I have had the opportunity honor student’s growth by tailoring assignments to best fit specific students. In addition to accommodating and modifying assignments for students with 504’s, IEP’s, and those who are English Language Learners, I have adjusted assignments to fit student’s religious practices, phobias, and interests. For example, one of my students is a Muslim. She has been told that she is not allowed to create anything with a face because it is considered to be making an idol. When this student first approached me, she was very embarrassed and shy because she believed that she would be making an inconvenience for me [2]. I let her know that it was not an inconvenience and we both found a project that satisfied the GLE’s that would be addressed in her peer’s projects (See Example Below) [3]. By keeping her included in the project, she feels validated by me and therefore important. I think that as teachers, it is important we recognize student’s differences and do not ignore areas of their life that are impacted by our instruction. In an article written by Sylvia Hurtado, she addresses linking diversity and educational purpose in the classroom and how it affects student development.


“The weight of empirical evidence shows that the actual effects on student development of emphasizing diversity and of student participation in diversity activities are overwhelmingly positive … there are many developmental benefits that accrue to students when institutions encourage and support an emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity” (Hurtado 2001).


This information reassures and reaffirms the importance to being inclusive and aware in the classroom of diversity. To set this up in a classroom, it is important that you get to know your students personally. Ways that I do this is paying attention to sport uniforms, asking students about their weekend plans, or if they have siblings. By showing this appropriate special attention to students, they know that you value them for more than just brains to dump information into [5]. This is one of the biggest ways that I can honor diversity and development. By taking the time to talk to my students, I learn things about them that otherwise people may not know about [4].


Peer Project

 bottle nose dolphin

Bottle Nose Dolphin

Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey

Smart Car

Smart Car

Modified Project

Nesting Bowls

Student taught herself to throw bowls on the wheel.

I graded her on symmetry, uniformity, and overall composition for her nesting bowls


Hurtado, S. (2001). Linking Diversity and Educational Purpose: How Diversity Affects the Classroom Environment and Student Development.Diversity Challenged: Evidence on the Impact of Affirmative Action (). Cambridge: Harvard Education Publishing Group.