Easy Lesson for High School Art Curriculum

pencil crayons on table in circle for high school art curriculum

This blog post includes a lesson plan integrating social studies for teaching high school art curriculum.

Art Education

Art is a critical part of a well-rounded education for high schoolers. In order to ensure that all students have access to quality art education, there are certain elements that every high school art curriculum should include. These components provide a foundation for students to develop creative thinking, problem-solving skills, social emotional learning, as well as an appreciation for the arts.

In order to build these skills, an art curriculum for high school students should include the principles of art, principles of design, color theory, elements of art, various art forms, fine arts, digital art, dimensional art, and creative process with critique sheets. A strong art program helps students develop their critical thinking, creativity, and research skills. These soft skills are integral to life and work outside of the arts.

Art Appreciation

Students need to understand that art is a universal language that transcends cultural and social barriers. It allows us to communicate despite our differences in order to learn from each other. Appreciation of art is the first step in understanding that art is an integral part of human experience and needs.

Art Components

Teachers, who are not necessarily art teachers, can implement the following art components of a high school art curriculum across disciplines:

  • Studio Art
  • Photography
  • Digital Media Arts
  • Multimedia Arts- Dance
  • Theater & Performing Arts: Music and Drama
  • Graphic Design
  • Design/Art History
  • Drawing/Painting/Sculpture
  • Ceramics/Metalsmithing

Some of these elements might be taught within a specific art discipline, while others are more cross-curricular in nature.

Art Techniques

Students should be exposed to the following types of media and techniques:

  • 2D Art forms (advanced drawing and painting with watercolor, oil pastel, and acrylic paints)
  • 3D Art forms (sculpture, ceramics, printmaking)
  • Motion media (film, video, dance)
  • Literary/poetic text (creative writing)

Some art techniques are taught within a specific art discipline, while others are more cross-curricular in nature. For example, observation and analysis of the human figure are both important across all art disciplines. Learning to observe and communicate the shape and proportion of the human body in relation to its environment is an important skill that can be used in drawing, sculpture, painting, and even graphic design. This skill can be carried over into curriculum for math, physics, biology, and chemistry.

Value of Art Education

Art education is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it helps to develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Secondly, it can foster a greater appreciation for the arts and culture. Thirdly, art education can build confidence and self-esteem. Lastly, art education can help to develop teamwork skills.

Studies have been conducted that indicate that students who are involved in art classes actually do better in other subjects, such as math and sciences. This is because visualization skills and creative thinking are required in several subjects beyond art.

Art education can benefit the whole child. It teaches children about the world and how to express themselves visually. Through art education, children can learn about their surroundings, express themselves and develop confidence in their own individual talents. The end result is that children can improve in self-esteem and emotional intelligence.

High School Art Curriculum

A high school art curriculum should provide a foundation for students to develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as an appreciation for the arts. The curriculum should include both studio and classroom experience, with a focus on developing each student’s unique voice and creativity. 

In the studio, students should be exposed to a variety of mediums and encouraged to experiment with new techniques. They should also have opportunities to exhibit their work, both in class and in public venues. Classroom experiences can supplement studio time by providing historical context or teaching technical skills.

  • A high school art curriculum should include opportunities for art students to develop technical skills in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, graphic arts, sculpture, and architecture.
  • A high school art curriculum should provide instruction in the history of art.
  • A high school art curriculum should encourage effective viewing and critical judgment to help students gain an understanding of the visual arts as expressions of both aesthetic and cultural values.

Art Making Skills

Through art making, students will learn to express themselves imaginatively and develop and refine techniques, both in the classroom and out in the world. Careful attention to formal and conceptual visual arts, as well as music, dance, and theatre arts will help students develop an awareness of the role these disciplines play in enriching their lives.

As students gain skills, they should become aware of how their art making can be used to communicate their expression of feelings, ideas, and information in a variety of contexts.

Students preparing to make 3D art.

Sample High School Arts Syllabus Framework

Lesson Title: Faberge- Russian History and Imperial Art

Grade Level and Course: 10- English

Time Segment of Lesson: 40 mins

Common Core Standard(s) Addressed in Lesson


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

Overarching Unit Goal(s)

  • To explain the meaning and context of a topic. 

Objective(s) of the Lesson

Students will be able to

(Remember SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound)

  1. To explain the history of Faberge Imperial Art.
  2. To recite related vocabulary about the topic as presented.
  3. To describe the events of how Faberge became famous in the art world. 

Student Diversity and Differentiation of Instruction

Identify students who will need differentiated instruction for this lesson.

Student DiversityDifferentiation of Instruction
English Language LearnersHead Teacher and Students will translate concepts, words, and ideas from my English lesson. 
 Students will use translation devices and apps during the lesson. 
Vision ImpairmentStudents will move closer to read the text on the screen at the front of the class. 

Formative and Summative Assessments

Formative and summative assessments include open-ended questions that lead students to think deeply about the content and will also build on prior knowledge.

Formative Assessment Summative Assessment
What is the relationship between art and history? Vocabulary words will be used for future writing projects.
How does art influence future society? Vocabulary is reiterated throughout the unit and students will be assessed in 3 weeks. 

Questions for formative assessment during and/or after the lesson:

  1. What is the relationship between art and history? 
  2. How does art influence history and the future?
  3. How does art reflect the context and events in a society? 

Big Ideas to be Addressed in the Lesson 

  •  Art’s value in shaping history and historical events that impact societies. 

Discussion Questions

Write out questions that you would like students to discuss in class, before class or after class because they are interesting, support higher order thinking, and make for a lively and engaging discussion. If discussions must happen outside class, what tool will you use to facilitate the discussion (e.g. Twitter)?

  1. What is the meaning of the gift of an Imperial Easter Egg given by the Czars to their wives and mothers? 
  2. How does art influence society?
  3. What are cherished artifacts of art in Chinese history?

21st Century Knowledge and Skills

21st Century Knowledge and SkillsTeaching Strategies
Critical ThinkingRelating Easter eggs to art and not Christianity was essential in this lesson, given the parameters of teachers not discussing religion in classes. Questions to students were based on Russian imperial history and the art of Faberge. 
Learning SkillsStudents were given this timely lesson so they could relate real-world events and develop meaning and context for how to think about events and ideas in real-world examples. The use of art and history as forward thinking for a religious holiday shows students how to extract ideas and concepts from religion and other topics to reach a deeper level of analytical thinking. 
CreativityStudents are able to extract valuable information about a topic from various perspectives rather than the assumed perspective. In this class, it was assumed Easter eggs are only about Christianity. 
ProductivityFocusing on the lesson and engaging in the lesson with reflective questions about hope and renewed life as it related to Russian history and Chinese history was interesting to the students. They demonstrated productivity throughout the lesson and related the teachings to their own life situation and the value of hope. 
Information LiteracyThe data about the history of Imperial Russia was credible and reliable. Students were able to relate the history as presented and relate to art with Chinese history of the dynasties. 

Teaching Strategies and Activities

We will be using lecture developmental for the first part of the lecture and discussion. Students are emergent ELLs and will read from the slides about the story of Imperial Eggs and Imperial Russia. The purpose of this lesson is for them to practice comprehension to read, discuss, and think about the history of Imperial Russia and the art of Faberge. 

To start, we will talk about the lesson outcomes and big questions in the lesson. I will provide a short introduction about the topic being Easter, but we will focus on art and history, rather than Easter. 

I have prepared a PowerPoint presentation and will ask each individual student to read one of the slides for the class. This helps students in one on one to practice reading English words they may have not been familiar with prior to this lesson. As this lesson is about art and the history of Imperial Russia, it is very likely they have not previously read the vocabulary words I have included in the lesson.

While reading the lesson, we will discuss each slide and I will provide more context about the story being presented. The Head Teacher and other students will translate concepts into Chinese. For example, ‘Kremlin’ is something the students are not familiar with so, the Head Teacher will translate words to make them relevant to the history of Chinese Dynasties. 

Following the presentation of the slides, we will watch a short video overview of the Top 10 Faberge Imperial Eggs. We will then discuss the eggs, choose our favorite one and explain why we like that one overall. 

Teacher & Student Input

  • I Do: Provide an Overview of the lesson.
  • You Do: Read the slides.
  • We Do: Discuss the context presented on the slides.
  • We Do: Recite the vocabulary words from the lesson.
  • I Do: Relate the vocabulary words as they are presented to real-world examples. 
  • We Do: Watch the short video overview of the Top 10 Faberge Eggs. 
  • We Do: Discuss the eggs from the video and our favorite Faberge eggs. 
  • I Do: As the formative assessment questions at the end of the presentation.
  • You Do: Higher level thinking about the formative assessment questions to relate the concepts to your own life. 


Throughout the lesson, we will discuss the vocabulary words as presented in the lesson. We will also read each slide and I will relate the formative assessment questions to each slide. As the formative assessment questions are on the board in the shape of learning outcomes, I can relate to them to guide the students in the formative assessment at the end of the lesson. 

Materials and Resources for Lesson 

Materials, Technology, and WebsitesRequired Preparation
computer/ laptop/ audio/ visualEnsure connections all work properly.
overhead projectorEnsure connections are working and the overhead projector is functional. 
PPT PresentationSave the PPT in .pdf as well and send copies of both PPT and . PDF to my phone and other devices to share in another format if the classroom computer and projector is not working. 
Video recordersEnsure cameras are set up and working to capture the lesson for my clinical evaluation. 

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In the next lesson, we made Easter Eggs. This video shows the results:


Like English, math, and science, art is an essential subject. It enhances the emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being of students. It provides a window into a world beyond the walls of the classroom and beyond the boundaries of the school. 

A well-designed curriculum based on the concepts of art disciplines and processes will develop the skills and attitudes necessary for high school students to become involved with the arts in a meaningful way.

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,


The SIOP Model


Teaching with the SIOP Model


If you are an educator, parent, or grandparent and looking for practical strategies to use with children, concepts to understand, and ideas that can be easily implemented about how to create space for self and others, you have landed in the right spot.

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Klein, R., & Eisenhauer, Y. C. (2004, February 6). Russian History, in an Eggshell. The Learning Network. https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2004/02/06/russian-history-in-an-eggshell/

Top 10 Most Expensive Faberge Eggs In The World. (n.d.). Www.youtube.com. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOtIoAGtq90

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