Throughout this past year we’ve been doing a lot of workshops and professional development focused on Art and the Common Core. Our essential question has always been, How does the analysis and creation of art complement the processes and skills needed to read and write complex texts? We’ve been using the Common Core Anchor Standards for Reading and Writing as our template for exploring how literacy is defined and developed in both the ELA and Visual Arts classroom. The Common Core is asking students to provide evidence from text to support their observations and ideas, make comparisons between texts, read a wide variety of texts, create a range of written texts, reread and revise texts for more complex meaning, and share multiple interpretations of texts. We’ve been thinking about TEXT being more than just written language. When text becomes a work of art, an image from a magazine, a graphic novel, or any other form of visual imagery, then we can begin to see that the skills needed to read and write complex written texts are similar to the skills needed to analyze and create complex works of art.
Susan Ellen Jones, a K–4 art teacher at Emma Elementary in Buncombe County, attended our Art and the Common Core workshop in Asheville this fall and grappled with the complexity of the language presented in the Common Core Anchor Standards document. She spent some time dissecting the standards after the workshop and created an amazing sister document, Art and Common Core Standards for Literacy, that rewords the Anchor Standards so that they apply directly to the language of the Visual Arts room. We can’t thank Susan enough for personalizing her experience at our workshop and providing what we think is an incredible resource for all educators across the state who are searching for understanding between Art and the Common Core.