ArtSquish is here to help you teach.
Here’s how it works.
Subscription based with weekly lessonsLessons are published in a specific order for the curriculum. With your subscription, you’ll get weekly lessons posted with the dates for teaching. Past lessons are available so you can go back to review and compare. Everything is in the cloud, always there. That means you don’t have to save and file things. It will be there the next time you need it.
Our art educators are sometimes in the classroom, and sometimes the dining room.
We have tailored our lessons to accommodate both school-based and home-based educators. There is one lesson served up each week that has been structured to last around an hour and 45 minutes. Each lesson also has a break-point in the middle, for dividing it into two classroom-friendly lessons that are 52 minutes each. The breaks come at a good stopping point.
The projects can take longer if you like, especially if you have diligent workers who like to take their time. If more art time is desired each week, letting your students try a second go at the lesson is a great idea. The lessons are fairly intensive and artist-oriented, but work for complete beginners as well. We know this because we have used them with all types of artists for years.
2 days of lessons, or more.
If you’re in a classroom setting, our lessons completely take care of at least 2 days of your school week. In fact, most of our lessons will last for 3 or even 4 classroom periods if you take your time and go slower. We tend to pack our days tightly at our after-school program, because we have one session per week.
There are also tips and informational blog posts each week in addition to the lessons. These cover all kinds of things a teacher and/or a parent of artists can use, and also provide some personal art time and development for school teachers. We have also created a special blog for classroom educators, that you can use to communicate with your student’s parents. Just give them an address for our ARTists blog, and it does the work – telling them all about the lesson each week and the artistic concepts that have been covered. It has another section for articles that help parents understand and nurture their young artists.
We’ve set this up to be as easy as possible, with monthly a subscription. Your $16 gives you full access to great content and literally no worries. You never have do research, make decisions, notes, find reference and make sure everything works together. You don’t even have to back up your content. No filing away tons of hand-out sheets or notes. It’s just all right here where you need it in our easy-to-use system.
On-going year to yearYou may be wondering how these lessons work if the teacher a grade above you decides to use ArtSquish too. The solution we have is a little bit hard to explain in print, but believe me – it works so well that we haven’t had a problem teaching all grades at our school for 9 years running. The ArtSquish system currently supports 1st & 2nd grades, and 4 years of lessons for any grade from 3rd through 12th. Levels have a two-year cycle of lessons.
We have 3 levels of ArtSquish currently online. See our chart below for a visual look at the levels with a brief description.
Back to the question of who gets to use ArtSquish – Everyone at once! Let’s look at an example of how it works for a school teacher (if you homeschool, it’s easy to extrapolate).
Say you teach art classes for 3rd and 4th graders. You also have a friend who’s an art teacher, and she is using ArtSquish at the middle school in your area. You’ll actually all be teaching Foundations Year A for the first year; to grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 . Next year, each class will move to Foundations Year B, including the new 3rd graders who did not take Year A, and the 7th graders too, if their teacher comes on board. Then in the 3rd year of our example, every class will be back on Year A, but the students who already had those lessons 2 years ago will be doing the Creations lessons that are included within the Foundation lesson plans. These are advanced versions of the same lessons and are therefore easy to teach right along with the originals. The Creations lessons are all about applying and reviewing the core art concepts and techniques which were first learned in Foundations. It’s absolutely necessary for artists to review and use their newfound skills on more complex and self-determined projects, but in a way that is not repetitious. In the 4th year, the every class continues with year B Foundations and Creations.
For first and second graders, there are two years of KidsART lessons that help you teach to this special age group who do not yet have the mental development to learn by self evaluation and using comparisons. The Foundations lessons, which can be taught to any grade from 3rd on up to 12th, have a two year cycle, which covers all of the basics. Sometimes there will be a completely different lesson for grades 3-5 and grades 6-12, if needed, but usually the differences that each age group needs, are included in one lesson.
Expressions lessons for advanced students, and Preschool lessons are in the works (many are done already), and will complete our 12-year curriculum. We recommend AP and AC (Artist’s Choice) art for 11th and 12 graders who have completed at least 2 years of curriculum. This way we will have all 14 possible years of instruction taken care of from age 4 up to the end of high school.
There’s another benefit to the rotational schedule, and that is that every teacher and every student in one level is working on the same project. This way everyone can discuss what’s going on without confusion, and you may only have to learn one lesson if you teach more than one grade or age. Again, this is how we’ve been doing it for years and we love how it works.
One page lessonsOne of my pet peeves is when you have to click here, click there, and then back here again, just to get everything you need. I end up having a million tabs and windows open and don’t always know where everything is. We fixed that problem. Every ArtSquish lesson is completely contained on one page; a page that you start with at the top, and scroll down as you prepare and/or teach.
Our system is so different and full of cool features that you really need to experience it to understand how good it is. We have one of our favorite lessons available absolutely free for you to study and teach. Check it out using this link: sample lesson.
The lessons are so easy to understand and use, that you don’t need any instructions other than a short paragraph in the intro to each lesson. Just grab your phone and begin! It’s that easy.
If you had one long gigantic iPad with an entire lesson displayed on it, it would be very long. Fortunately, you don’t have to carry a 6 foot tablet around – you can just swipe up and down to get anywhere you want. Every step has buttons to jump from one section to another quickly. You might be asking, “is it difficult to know where you are?” We’ve got that figured out too. The 2 sections have different colored backgrounds, and the lesson has color-coded graphics. They never change, so you always know, for instance, that red is step 3.
It really is fun and easy to use.
At the bottom of each lesson there is the TEACH TOOLS section, with preparation lists, all your resources, and tabs with information about the Objectives, Trouble-Shooting (we’ve done these lessons a lot, so we know what happens), Art Terms, and Artists Profiles with samples of work.
Skill Bars give you an idea of the focus.
We have 3 types of teaching in our lessons:
1. Insights for the head
2. Techniques for the hand
3. Expression for the heart
Each lesson has a different combination of these, so that students enjoy variety and have a well-rounded experience.
You want to be prepared with materials too, so there are the 3 preparation tabs that give you a list of the things you need:
1. Classroom materials & set up instructions
2. Each student’s materials
3. Media and printouts for the lesson.
The last section provides files you can print, videos to show, links to other sites for inspiration, and slideshows of examples. Everything you need for the lesson is right here. (The media is also embedded within the lesson itself, right where you need it when teaching or when you’re studying and getting ready.)
The rest of the page is devoted to the lesson itself. Each section of the lesson is color coded in progressive hues and numbered so you don’t lose your place as you’re scrolling up and down on your screen.
Studying vs. teaching.If you teach, you know you begin in study-mode; planning, reading, researching, and writing notes. We have done all the planning and research, and compiled most of the materials. We have made a complete lesson plan for you. Because we don’t want you scratching your head, wondering what in the world we meant, our lesson plans are as thorough as we can make them.
However, that kind of detailed comprehensive lesson gets in the way when you’re in the thick of teaching. At that point, you want notes; an outline of the lesson that you’ve already studied. Well, we have you covered here too. The lesson is divided into steps, and sub-steps. If you only read the large colorful step and sub-step titles, you are looking at an outline. If you’ve studied this lesson, you can teach it without doing anything more than looking at the large headings as you move down the page. It’s easy and keeps you on track without wondering what to do next or forgetting anything.
What if you don’t remember exactly what a step was about, or you need an extra printout? No problem – you can find everything you need, because you’re in the right spot in the lesson and everything is explained in detail in the smaller print. All the resources are in the step you’re in, like PDFs and supply lists.
I hope you try our sample lesson. After all, it’s totally free! You can sign up to be a Squish Member and get another whole month of lessons for free too. That’s how confident I am that you’ll be hooked. All of the teachers at Firstlight are. So am I! I can’t function any more without an ArtSquish lesson on my phone.
Let me know if you have any questions, and remember, the world needs happy artists.