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Visual Arts

During the foundational elementary years of rapid growth, from kindergarten through fifth grade, the goals and standards of the Duffy Art program are sequenced to establish and continuously build upon each student’s emerging technical, analytical and creative skills as twenty first century thinkers.  Building upon the National Standards Document adopted by the Secretary of Education and published by the National Art Education Association in 1994, Duffy art teachers engage in an ongoing process of creating relevant, rigorous and developmentally appropriate art experiences for our students. 

As a department, it is our expectation that every student will demonstrate a developmentally and age appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding addressing each of the following six content standards:

  • Applying art materials, techniques and processes.      
  • Recognizing and employing the elements and principles of art and design.
  • Describing, analyzing and evaluating subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Recognizing and making connections to the history of art, and art’s relationship to, and across, diverse cultures.
  • Critically assessing individual works of art, and making reasoned, aesthetic judgments of general issues and concerns in art.
  • Perceiving and articulating connections between the visual arts and other disciplines, including: math, science, English language and non-visual arts disciplines; as well as perceiving and articulating connections  between the visual arts, careers and service to community

Finally, it is the foremost goal and expectation of the Duffy art teachers that every student make connections between themselves and the visual arts that are meaningful, relevant, enduring, and appropriate to their unique moment of development as individuals, as learners and as community members.

West Hartford Elementary Fine Arts Standards

During the elementary years from PreKindergarten to grade 5 the goals and standards of the Visual Arts Department are sequenced to build upon each student’s skills. The National Standards for the Arts (1994) and the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) (2015) serve as a foundation for instruction and expectation, ensuring implementation of a rigorous and relevant curriculum in the Visual Arts. Student experiences are developmentally appropriate and foster 21st century critical thinking skills. Art teachers will guide students in making meaningful connections between the Visual Arts and their everyday lives.

It is the expectation of the Visual Arts Department that every student will demonstrate an understanding of each of the Anchor Standards:

• Creating: applying art materials, techniques and processes; use and apply the elements and principles of design to create an art composition.

• Connecting: synthesizing and relating knowledge and personal experience to make art; making connections with art and other subjects such as Math, Science and English.

• Responding: perceiving and analyzing artistic work; describing, analyzing and evaluating subject matter, symbols and ideas.

• Presenting: discussing works of art and being able to make judgments; selecting, analyzing, interpreting artistic work for presentation.

Lessons the Arts Teach

  • The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
  • The arts teach children to make good judgments that do not necessarily depend on rules.
  • The arts celebrate multiple perspectives so that they may see the world in many ways.
  • The arts show children to be willing and able to accept the world of possibility in their problem solving.
  • The arts teach that the limits of language do not define what we know.
  • The arts teach that small differences can have large effects.
  • The arts teach students to think and express through use of a material (medium).
  • The arts enable children to have an experience they can have from no other source.
  • The arts teach children acceptance and appreciation for a wide variety of cultures, artists and artforms.

Adapted from Elliot Eisner’s “10 Lessons the Arts Teach,” NAEA publication.


  • Colors and Shapes/Piet Mondrian, Grandma Moses/Leo Lionni/Mexican Art

Grade 1

  • Self Portraits/Mary Cassatt/Henri Rousseau/Eric Carle/ African Art

Grade 2

  • Figure Drawing/Romare Bearden/Paul Klee/Claude Monet/Japanese Art

Grade 3

  • Soft Sculpture Fish/Color Theory/Vincent Van Gogh/Henri Matisse/ Alexander Calder/Native  American Art

Grade 4

  • Carousel Horses/Georges Seurat/Georgia O'Keeffe/Optical Art

Grade 5

  • Pop Art/Surrealism/Andy Warhol/Pablo Picasso/ Rene Magritte