I. Unit and Lesson Plan Formats

know-understand-do-kud-image-2A unit plan is a series of lesson plans designed around a focusing lens–a specific topic or investigation. A unit plan identifies enduring understandings (always identified as essential understandings, generalizations, big  ideas), concepts, critical content (know) inquiry questions, skills (do), vocabulary/literacy, etc., that will be explored in the lessons taught throughout the unit. Unit planning allows for continuity between lessons. Unit plans are generalized and can evolve and be amended over time as individual lessons develop.

Unit and Lesson Planning Review.pptx

Unit plans should be considered fluid and flexible; plans that help you focus and reflect on your teaching. The unit template provides the necessary elements you need to consider in your planning. The template should not direct your planning; complete the template at the end of your research to ensure creative planning.

For example: Architecture Unit Plan.doc     Architecture Unit Plan.ppt

building-2   building-1

Another example: A Unit Emerges – The Story.ppt

You can follow this unit unfolding by clicking on the image below:


Examples of “first attempt” units to consider: hand-building-in-clay-adam-shoemaker    perceiving-the-world-julie-kaspari

Unit Planning Materials: Unit and Lesson Planning Review.pptx     Teaching for Voice Planning Guide.doc  Unit Plan Format and Explanation.doc     Unit Plan Template.doc     Content Connection Samples


A lesson plan is a road map of your and your students’ experience in the art classroom/ studio. Remember that your plan is a guide. You should always let the students guide the direction of the exploration; it should be considered an emergent experience.

Lesson plans need to consider:

Stage 1 – Desired Results

  • Relevance – What are you going to teach and why is this lesson of importance to your students? How is it relevant to students of this age and background?
  • Essential Understanding(s) – What are the “big ideas”? What specific understandings about them are desired? What misunderstandings are predictable? (Reflect and Transfer)
  • Essential Question(s) – What provocative questions will foster inquiry, understanding, and transfer of learning? (Reflect and Transfer)
  • Outcomes (objectives) – What will students know and be able to do? What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit? …Art history and culture; expressive features and characteristics of art; art materials, tools, and techniques? What should they eventually be able to do as a result of such knowledge and skill? …Compare and contrast art work; analyze sketches? (Comprehend and Create)

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

  • Student Reflective Activity – Through what authentic performance task(s) will students demonstrate the desired understandings? How will students reflect upon and self-assess their learning? (Comprehend, Reflect, Create, Transfer)
  • Teacher-centered Assessment (instrument) – By what criteria will “performances of understanding” be judged? What evidence (e.g. quizzes, tests, academic prompts, observations, products/artwork, sketchbooks, journals, etc.) will students demonstrate achievement of the desired results?

Stage 3 – Learning Plan (Where to…”)

  • W = help the students know where the unit is going and what is expected? Help the teacher know where the students are coming from (prior knowledge, interests)? Comprehend
  • H = hook all students and hold their interest? Reflect and Create
  • E = equip students, help them experience the key ideas, and explore the issues to generate ideas for their artwork? Create
  • R = provide opportunities to rethink and revise their understandings and work? Reflect and Transfer
  • E = allow students to evaluate their work and its implications? Reflect
  • T = be tailored (personalized) to the different needs, interests, abilities of learners
  • O = be organized to maximize initial and sustained engagement as well as effective learning?

hero-shrineFor example, in the Hero Shrine lesson students explore mixed media processes and materials to create an art work that pays tribute to a “hero”; a person, ideal, event and/or response of importance to the artist. It is part of a larger unit exploring multi media. The complete teaching blog includes the unit plan, resources, and student work–in addition to the lesson plan (which is included below). Click on the picture to see this website.

Hero Shrine Lesson Plan (word)        Hero Shrine Lesson Plan (pdf)

printmakingIn another example, students explore self-portraiture and printmaking using traditional and hi-tech methods in the Self-Image and Printmaking lesson. Relief, intaglio, and mono-print techniques are explored through the concept of self–representational and abstract–utilizing a laser cutter to create relief plates. This lesson is part of larger unit on the concept of “self”. The complete teaching blog includes the unit plan, resources, and student work–in addition to the lesson plan (which is included below). Click on the picture to see this website.

self-image-printmaking-lesson-plan (word)     self-image-printmaking-lesson-plan (pdf)

Lesson Planning Materials: Understanding by Design (pdf)     Lesson Plan Format (word)   Lesson Plan Format (pdf)      Lesson Plan Template (word)      Lesson Plan Template (pdf)   Compact Lesson Plan (word)     Compact Lesson Plan (pdf)

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