Instructional Philosophy

  • Every day, students are expected to perform at an inept level to prove their competency, but never considered are the countless acts of trial and error that led up to that finished, polished product.  I myself am interested in those struggles and desire to learn at the most basic level of understanding, whether through the introduction of new mediums or the opportunity for self-discovery.

    How is it possible for our students to learn if they are molded to fit such a specific standard?  In actuality, it is how each student can achieve that similar goal, but through a process unique to themselves. The goal is to cultivate an experience for students to feel welcomed into while developing the necessary skills to develop a breadth of work.

    Art is a process that takes time to achieve, and though it is thought that art is an inherent natural talent, each student has the ability to succeed given the right tools.  When you enter this classroom, you are an Artist as well as an Explorer. You are Important, Loved, Respected, and a Friend. What defines this experience from being like any other is the opportunity to explore.  Never enough are our children being given the opportunity to discover what a lost art looks, sounds and feels like, nor diving into a culture so far removed from their own.

    It is that in which my classroom aims to achieve on a daily basis.  The goal is to then give validity to the student’s experience, whether through the introduction of Modern & Contemporary Artists, or worthwhile projects that challenge their well-being.  The steps in which an artist takes to accomplish a particular artwork is what I praise my students for doing so well. It is those in-depth discoveries that allows students to make any or all future decisions on their own.  In the words of artist Edgar Degas, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” The goal of creating is neither for the grade nor the outcome, but the process and how it can shape the experience with others.

    With every assignment comes the risk of not engaging every student, but it is how we present the material that can allow each individual to discover success at the level in which they feel accomplished.  Equally as important to being an educator, is my innate desire to create. As a practicing artist, I understand the turmoil and thought process needed for each artwork, and it is those innate skills that I aim to cultivate within my students.  The time in which it takes to develop an idea can and will always outweigh any other practice best known by students. It will equally serve as the basis for any and or all of their future endeavors.

High School Courses

  • Art I (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This introductory course will develop students’ studio skills and knowledge of basic artistic materials and tools. An emphasis will be placed on learning the elements of art and principles of design, as students explore a variety of art processes including drawing, painting and printmaking. Art I can serve as a foundation for students who wish to pursue additional art courses at KAHS or anyone who is interested in developing their artistic skills. 

    Art II (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course reinforces and further develops the drawing and design skills established in Art I. Students will work with two-dimensional experiences while exploring a variety of artistic media. Students apply their understanding of the elements of art and principles of design to create more dynamic works of art. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Art I and approval of teacher and/or counselor. 

    Art III (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    Art III is an advanced course which explores in-depth a variety of subject matter through a wide variety of techniques and materials. This is a studio course designed to give students the opportunity to develop a mastery in many visual art media in order to better prepare them for a career in the arts. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Art II and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Art IV (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    Art IV is an advanced course which continues to explore in-depth a variety of subject matter through a wide variety of techniques and materials. This is a studio course designed to give students the opportunity to develop a mastery in many visual art media in order to better prepare them for a career in the arts. A Return to Table of Contents 3 strong emphasis will be on portfolio preparation, technical skills and the development of art throughout history. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Art III and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Advanced Art (V-VI) (11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for the serious art student focusing on preparing a body of artwork within the parameters prescribed by the College Board. Three types of portfolios are considered acceptable: Two-Dimensional Design, Two-Dimensional Drawing and Three-Dimensional works of art. All portfolios share a basic three-section structure: Concentration, Breadth and Quality. Within these areas, students will demonstrate a depth of investigation while developing an artistic voice. A fundamental grounding in visual principles and a confidence with a variety of techniques will also be assessed and evaluated within the portfolio submission. The primary aim of this course is to have students demonstrate a fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual awareness and methods of application in various media. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Art IV/V and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Ceramics I (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for students with an interest in the ceramic arts. The main focus of this class is to have students learn the essential skills that enable an artist to create functional and sculptural works in clay. Students will spend the majority of the semester developing basic hand built constructing skills with clay and may be introduced to the pottery wheel. While the skill development and studio work is the main focus of the course, there will be also be an emphasis on personal artistic development, craftsmanship, art history, and creative problem solving. 

    Ceramics II (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for students with a serious interest in the ceramic arts. The main focus of this class is to have students apply the essential skills covered in Ceramics I by creating functional and sculptural works in clay. Students will be taught basic and intensive wheel throwing skills to create sets of functional mugs, bowls, and other functional vessels for everyday use. Students will apply hand-building techniques learned in Ceramics I to enhance their wheel thrown work. A further emphasis will be put on personal artistic development, craftsmanship, art history, and creative problem solving. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Ceramics I and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Ceramics III (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is for the advanced ceramics student who has successfully completed Ceramics II. Emphasis will be placed on further exploration of the potter’s wheel, figurative sculpture, plaster casting procedures and the study of professional ceramic artists’ work. Students will have the opportunity to create work with an advanced level of functionality, creativity, and confidence. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Ceramics II and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Advanced Ceramics (IV-VI) (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for the serious art students that are self-disciplined, self-motivated, and have a strong interest in further developing their ceramic art skills. Students will be combining all the previous knowledge and skills acquired in Ceramics I, II & III to create more in-depth and more challenging works of art. Students will have the choice to master the essential skills of either working on the potter’s wheel or constructing three-dimensional hand-built pieces. Students will focus on three dimensional forms of personal interest. Students will learn technical aspects of the ceramic arts like mixing clay and glazes. Return to Table of Contents 4 Students will be using the core art elements and design principles in their own work, and will create several pieces of artwork that carry a unifying theme. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Ceramics I/II/III and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Drawing & Painting I (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    Students will explore the fundamentals of Drawing & Painting with a wide variety of media and artistic styles. Design and composition concepts will be an integral part of the instruction. The course will be centered in basic Drawing & Painting methods, aesthetics, art history, and critical analysis. Specific media may include graphite pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, colored pencils, pastels, watercolor, acrylic, and oils. Some possible subject matter may include: still life, landscapes, portraiture, figure studies, and working from abstraction. All students interested in pursuing an art career should take this course 

    Drawing & Painting II (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    Students will continue to explore Drawing & Painting with a wide variety of media and artistic styles. Design and composition concepts will still be emphasized as an integral part of the instruction. Review of methods and techniques will precede each assignment. Specific media may include graphite pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, colored pencils, pastels, watercolor, acrylic, and oils. Some possible subject matter may include: still life, landscapes, portraiture, figure studies, abstraction, and works from the imagination. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Drawing & Painting I and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Drawing & Painting III (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    Drawing & Painting III will continue to explore Drawing & Painting with a wide variety of media and artistic styles. Design and composition concepts will still be emphasized as an integral part of the instruction. A further emphasis will be put on personal artistic development, craftsmanship, art history, and creative problem solving. Students will have the opportunity to create work with an advanced level of creativity and confidence. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Drawing & Painting II and approval of teacher and/or administration. This course may be taken for Dual Enrollment credit with RACC. 

    Advanced Drawing & Painting (IV-VI) (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for students who have an interest in pursuing Art after graduation. This is a rigorous course for highly motivated students looking to challenge their artistic abilities. Students will finish the course with a well-developed portfolio that shows a broad range of Drawing & Painting abilities. Students will have the ability to explore their own style while drawing from life to create complex compositions. This course may be taken for Dual Enrollment credit with RACC. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Drawing & Painting I/II/III and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    3D Design I (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course will explore the basic elements and principles of design, using a wide variety of materials. The materials explored in this course will cover both two-dimensional and three-dimensional design both individually and in combination with each other. This course should be taken by all students especially those planning a career in art. Experiences will include drawing, designing, and making functional and nonfunctional objects using a variety of materials and techniques. 

    3D Design II (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit

    This course is a more advanced exploration of the core design principles and elements. Each one of the principles will be examined from a two dimensional, as well as a three-dimensional standpoint. Focus for the course will be centered on studio work, aesthetic understanding, art history and critical analysis. Design experiences will include the refinement of drawing and painting techniques, use of computer software, intermediate paper making processes, fiber arts, and mixed media works. Prerequisite: Successful completion of 3-D Design I and approval of teacher and/or administration. 

    Digital Photography (9, 10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course is designed for the student who wishes to use the camera to create images that demonstrate their understanding of the elements of art. The photographs will emphasize value, color, shape, texture and space. Students will photograph, enhance, store and print their original work with the support of the laptop, digital camera, scanner and printers. 

    Art & Sound: A Retrospective of Western Culture (9,10,11,12) .50 credit 

    Art & Sound is a foundational course that will engage students in an exploration of Music & Art throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Students will learn the role of the arts in the development of Western Culture while experiencing the masterworks first-hand via listening and viewing. This course will be team co-taught by Mr. Shirk and Mr. Hoffman. 

    Contemporary Craft (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course will build on a wide range of art concepts through hands-on exploration of mediums such as fiber, glass, metals, paper, and paint/printing. Building on the theory that form follows function, students will create works of art that reflect historical as well as multicultural themes. 

    Concept Design (10, 11, 12) .50 credit 

    This course will introduce the core concepts of visual design; visual elements, principles of design and creative process. Composition issues and strategies valid in all areas of visual design are explored through examples, exercises, critiques and creative projects.