Common Core Vocabulary for Middle School Visual Arts

During the next school year my school district will be unrolling the Common Core Standards. The mission statement of the Common Core Standards is thus: “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

I’m rather intrigued by the Common Core. Ultimately, it provides a centralized curriculum which means that students will have the same curriculum whether they are in Georgia or in another state adhering to the Common Core. Obviously, the idea is to have all states on the Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards align fairly well with my state standards (and I would think the same would be true of most state standards) which means incorporation should be made with relative ease. Sure, it is one more hurdle to hop over, but it is one that can be easily assailed.

One of the aspects of the Common Core Standards I like the most is that it provides a central curriculum for students regardless of location. In many ways, this is a concept aimed at educational equity that I can truly appreciate. I’m not sure overall, how if it will have an equitable impact, but I like that the idea is there. Additionally, as a teacher in a Title I school, which are known for transient students, I really like the fact that students entering or exiting my class will (hopefully) come from schools with the same standards or will go to schools with the same standards. Transient students often get lost in the shuffle as they are constantly trying to acclimate to new standards in new schools; a centralized standard system would suit them well.

The Common Core stresses a heavy Language Arts and Math curriculum. . .but it doesn’t do so at the exclusion of other subjects. Rather, it encourages the use of similar vocabularies throughout all classes in the hopes of interdisciplinary learning. Obviously, the non-Language Arts and non-Math courses will have more vocabulary than just those listed in the Common Core, but all teachers are expected to use as much of the Common Core Language Arts and Math vocabulary as possible.
Looking forward to next year, I decided to start going through the Common Core vocabulary lists for middle school grades. I was surprised as just how many words really are used in the Art classroom. I decided to make display cards featuring the word alongside the definition to display in my classroom. These cards will serve to reiterate language to students and to remind me to use those words (and encourage student use) during classroom discussions.
And, because you know I love sharing, I’ve got them all up online for you to download, print, and display. Enjoy!! You are welcome to download and share in your classroom, but please do not reproduce for profit.
6th grade common core advert
The 6th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: problem solving, antagonist, cube, deductive reasoning, environment, evidence, imagery, inductive reasoning, inference, investigator, lore, memoir, metaphor, mystery, personification, protagonist, realism, simile, time, value, victim, and witness. You can download the 6th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:
7th grade common core advert
The 7th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: anthropomorphism, autobiography, biography, character, conflict, dialogue, documentary, fantasy, foreshadowing, parody, point of view, setting, theme, and tragedy. You can download the 7th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:
8th grade common core advert
The 8th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: allegory, explicit, genre, hero, heroine, implicit, mood, preconceived notion, perspective, satire, and symbolism. You can download the 7th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:
middle grades math common core advert
The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Math Common Core vocabulary has a lot of overlaps. So, rather than separate the vocabulary according to grade, I assimilated them as one Middle School group. The Middle Grades Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: compose, difference, evaluate, expression, plot, polygon, proportion, value, origin, prism, and pyramid. You can download the Middle Grades Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

elements and principles of art advert
And, well, just because I was on a roll, I created vocabulary display cards for the Elements and Principles of Art. You can download the vocabulary display cards for the Elements and Principles of Art as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

9 thoughts on “Common Core Vocabulary for Middle School Visual Arts”

  1. Thanks for sharing this!!!!! It's very interesting! I'm waiting for all that stuff to come down the pike…until then…keep teachin' what I know to teach!

  2. I agree with you on SO many points – I agree with you that there feels like there is ALWAYS a new set of standards teachers have to test and meet and there is less teaching and more testing/assessing going on. As an old colleague said to me one day, “Measuring the Pig won't make it fatter”. I also agree that there should be more teachers involved in making some of these decisions about what programs or tests or evaluations or whatever before they become mandatory to unpack and use. I could go on and on about this particular point – but I will not. Now back to common core – while I agree that it's basic function is a beautiful idea – each state makes their own common core. I originally worked in Iowa and they wrote a common core and were starting to integrate it into their programs a few years ago – so their common core will be different than the common core in Michigan or Florida. So, the idea of the common core seems more to provide a safety net – a set of super basic skills ALL students should learn before they graduate. The great thing, like you said, is that common core isn't a new set of standards they are based off of national or state standards already in place, so most of what is in common core is already a foundation for most curriculums. I love your positive attitude towards making it work in your room!!! I hope that your cards will help remind you of words and phrases that will help students make connections in other classes.

  3. I think it's great that you are willing to share your resources. I will definitely tweet this out to all of my art teacher friends. Thank you!

  4. Boy, what a great job you've done with all this already. As you know, I'm retiring, so I'm just skating by it all – but I've seen so many initiatives come (and slowly disappear) over my 36 years teaching that my attitude about it all is pretty stinky, I admit. But there's certainly no ignoring it all for anyone who expects to keep teaching, so I'm going to be passing on everything I can find to my replacement and my coworker. Thanks for doing so much work on this – you're terrific, Amy!!

  5. Wow! This is great. I work as a museum educator with lots of different teachers here in upstate NY and I am sharing this with them all. Thanks for your great blog!

  6. Amy, this is AMAZING! We just had a staff meeting about the Common Core rolling out next year, and I was planning to do this, as well. Thank you for saving me TONS of time. These are perfect!

  7. Amy – as a new Art teacher who wants to incorporate all academics and help my deaf students become better academically – this is a great resource!! Thanks so much!

  8. Amy- Where did you find these Vocab lists? My admin told me that there are no Common Core vocab lists and I can't find any on the Common Core website.

  9. WOW! I found this post last year and have used the Common Core Vocabulary Cards & the Elements & Principle Cards in my middle school art classes. One card from each category is pulled every week. The students then draw at least one high-quality picture that focuses on the vocabulary words chosen. These cards serve to reiterate language to students in a creative, critical-thinking, and problem-solving environment, which in return supports the my school district curriculum goals, SLO's, and the 2014 Content Area Literacy thru Technology in Art Room grant goals. So, Thanks Amy!

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