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Guidelines for Arts-Centered Instructional Units

The Guidelines for Arts-Centered Instructional Units were developed over the past three years by the Curriculum Task Force of the Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge (TETAC), a five-year national initiative by the National Arts Education Consortium that links comprehensive arts education with national and local efforts to reform our nation’s schools. TETAC is being implemented by a broad national network of stakeholders interested in reforming education by advancing the place of the arts as part of the basic core of learning in K-12 education. These guidelines are intended to integrate advances in comprehensive arts curricula with curricula reform movements within general education.

These guidelines are meant to engage educators in a process that will enable them to:

  • Broaden how people think about curricula.
  • Understand how curricula communicate to self, students, and peers.
  • Take a reflective look at teacher-made and published curricula.
  • Develop curriculum writing skills.

This document is intended to serve as a model to guide the development of meaningful instructional units and the evaluation of existing units; it is not a rule-bound formula or exact prescription. It is offered with the expectation that the user will become more proficient in its use over time.

The Guidelines have been organized in chart form on the following pages to assist in their use. Short explanations of guideline concepts are given below, but further criteria, explanations, and examples for each concept are detailed in the charts. This document is also correlated with Scope and Sequence: A Guide for Learning and Teaching in Art, found on ArtsEdNet, the website of the Getty Education Institute for the Arts. In addition, teachers are encouraged to align curriculum documents with the National Standards for Arts Education.

Other forms provided in this document include worksheets for Developing an Art-Centered Unit of Study, Suggested Unit and Lesson Formats, Instructional Unit Planner, Individual Lesson Planner; Checklist for Evaluating Written Curriculum Units; a longer form, Criteria for Evaluating Written Curriculum Units; and Curriculum Guidelines Response Cards for group activities for use in professional development.

Overview of the Guidelines:
Curriculum Development Response Cards