Course Planning Curriculum

Design Your Course to Fit

How do you integrate the various course requirements into your particular schedule and location?

In workshops we always do a session on course planning and it is interesting to observe how many different approaches there are to scheduling activities, assessment deadlines, the quantity of guided work vs. independent work etc.. The bottom line is there is no prescribed method to teaching IB art, but there are certainly many tips and useful models to look at. As each school is different in it's breakdown of the academic calendar, I suggest you take your own yearly planner or a big sheet of paper and make notes from the examples in these pages, inserting activities and evaluations where they fit with your particular needs.

Design the course that fits your school, your schedule, and your students using the resources available on this site. Everything you need is at hand.

Points to consider when designing your IB Art course

What Starting Strategies will you use to get them going in year 1? How will you balance Structure and Freedom in your program?

When does it work best for you to complete the The Comparative Study ? How will you teach the visual literacy Skills for the CS ? Reflections on Integrating the CS

Help students develop good working habits in the Visual Journal form the start and with Design and Layout Skills for the Process Portfolio

In year 2, guiding students towards A Coherent Body of Work and individually Finding a Focus

Provide more opportunities for Curatorial Practice and Visiting Exhibitions, throughout the course. See the outline below for suggestions!

And of course, ease the crunch that inevitably accompanies the final month/s before exams by planning well!! See E submission Guidelines for deadlines

When to do the CS?

Teachers and schools vary on the timing for the CS:  One option might be to complete the bulk of the CS by the end of year 1 and add only the HL element ( connections with own art) early in year 2. On the other hand, SL students could very well complete the CS earlier in the course. Many teachers would prefer to have it finished by the end of year 1 simply to get it out of the way.

You will notice that in the planner below I have put the final CS in term 4, mostly because of the HL element that requires students to relate their own work to the work being compared. My thinking is that earlier in the course students may not have yet developed their own work to the extent that they have something more individual to compare.


Meeting the IB Requirements

The beauty of this course is the freedom allowed teachers in how they approach the structure and teaching of the subject. Your goal is to prepare students to meet the submission requirements, that can be found in the Assessment pages of the site, how you get there is up to you. Read more at Inspired Teaching

When mapping your course, it is useful to keep in mind the 3 overlapping areas that underpin the IB Art as set forth in the latest syllabus.

  • Theoretical Practice
  • Art Making Practice
  • Curatorial Practice

Structuring a Course Outline

If you are looking for a course outline to customize with your own projects and assignments try this  General Course Outline, a template for you to tweak and add to as you wish, or if you want something more complete try the hyperlinked 18 month course planner below and make adjustments and modifications to suit your specific needs. Have you seen the student access feature? You can select the site pages for your students and design your course content term by term.

18 month planner

The IBDP course is actually less than 2 years since assessment material must be submitted in April of year 2.

I have used terms rather than months or semesters because of time tabling and global calendars. Term 1 refers to September-December in the western hemisphere, term 2 January- March, in roughly 3 month blocks. Term 5 refers to the final run up to exams.

All of the suggested activities in the outline below are linked to pages on this website with full descriptions.

IB Visual Arts Theoretical Practice Art Making Practice Curatorial Practice
Term 1

Teaching visual analysis of an artwork The Formal Elements

Comparing two artworks given by teacher Compare and Contrast

(journal) Journal Reflections

Showing Film and Video

Introduce the Visual Journal

Choose a comprehensive activity from Starting Strategies

Introduce the Art Making Forms Table

Techniques, Materials and Processes

Teaching Visual Skills

Introductions to techniques Workshop Style Sessions

 Exhibition Visits

Four Ways of Looking at Art

Studio Response

Term 2

Guided activities Comparing Images, Function and Purpose

Building Art Vocabulary  and Referencing and Citing Sources

Guided Studio Work Open Ended Assignments

Guided Visual Journal Work Self-Reflection

How to make PP screens from the Journal and ongoing experiments Process Portfolio Format

Curating an imaginary exhibition activity Curating a Virtual Exhibition

Documenting your studio work, establishing good practice. Documenting Process

invite an artist in or schedule a visit Visiting Artists

Term 3

Locating good Secondary Sources  

First draft The Comparative Study

use CS Guiding Template if needed

Select Art and ToK topics from Art and Theory of Knowledge pages

Studio Work, more independent Finding a Focus


Visual Journal/PP more independent Uncovering Bigger Ideas

Set number of PP screens complete Reviewing, Reflecting, Refining Critical Investigation

Impromptu Curating Activity

Curating a mini group exhibition: could be site specific Installation or a  Collaborative Project

Writing the Curatorial Rationale Curatorial Rationale

Documentation of work Documenting Artwork

Term 4

Complete the individual The Comparative Study (CS)

Focused Independent Studio Work A Coherent Body of Work

Continue to build digital portfolio of completed work and PP pages, begin to select PP Rubric for Students

Exhibition Visit Gallery Visit on Curatorial Practice

Reflecting on different approaches to curation ( journal) Methods of Display

Titling Work

Planning Exhibition Space Exhibition Hanging Styles

Term 5

complete all tasks well in advance of scheduled deadlines, see E submission Guidelines

and Internal Assessment for teachers

Formatting CS for E submission E submission Comparative Study Process Portfolio assembling for E submission E submission Process Portfolio

Selecting works for and designing The Exhibition

writing Exhibition Texts

Writing Final Curatorial Rationale Writing Guidelines for Rationale

Putting together Exhibition Presentation for E submission E submission for Exhibition

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