When I first heard about FLEX as a high school art teacher, I raised my nose. I don’t need any packed syllabus! What else can someone else’s curriculum do for me, anyway? They don’t know my students and my needs!
Then I took a closer look.
Writing is in our veins. We know what lessons we want to support and how to support them. We get excited when coming up with new and exciting ideas for our students to explore.
However, writing lessons can be a burden at times. We are very elongated! Between classroom and material management, art performance season, managing extra stress at home, and all the other (and often unique) responsibilities, lesson planning can be a chore. No matter how you arrive at lessons, FLEX has options to meet your lesson planning needs.
So, what can Flex really do for us? Why, flexibility, of course!
No puns aside, there is a lot of variety in how FLEX is used (and I’m a good judge!) as we explore these options, think about which ones will be most useful to the lesson planning process.
Here are three ways FLEX is flexible:
- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
- You can use the syllabus as a starting point.
- You can use any of the resources and videos to supplement a lesson you’ve already created.
1. USE FLEX “AS IS”.
FLEX lessons are different because they are in line with national and most state standards. Because AOEU has front-end research and matching, the lessons are robust and will support learning goals.
Anytime we use a ‘someone else’ lesson, it is important to think about how it fits in our scope and sequence and meets the needs of students. Perhaps your students will explore tints and shades with acrylics. There are several complete FLEX sets (each consisting of six lessons) that focus on acrylic paints and color mixing. From flower paintings to clay sculptures, there are many products students can create. Choose the product and lesson that best suits your curriculum.
Once you’ve chosen a FLEX lesson, select the minor modifications required. For example, your classroom equipment may be limited, or the schedule of activities may need adjusting. FLEX lessons provide step-by-step instructions while giving you enough space to imagine how they will fit right in for your unique situation.
2. Use FLEX to spark other lesson ideas.
Where do you go when you are stuck in a lesson rut? Maybe you’re searching for artists for inspiration or peek into the Instagram account of another great guru. Let FLEX help these ideas flow!
FLEX lessons are inspired by historical and contemporary artists, and a wide (and ever-expanding) range of media, related topics, cross-cutting themes, and target technologies. As FLEX continues to add lessons every month, you can start from just about anywhere.
Check out the FLEX lesson to use as a framework or starting point. Let’s take a look at the lesson Music on the tour. This lesson looks at the role that musicals can play when discussing social, cultural, and historical events. Instead of the traditional canvas, students use a disposable coffee cup with a removable wrapper as an art surface. Students can remove the wrap to reveal patterns and rhythms.
As you go through the lesson, ask yourself how you can add variations to better engage your group of students. Perhaps instead of musicals, students could relate to their current favorite songs and how those words tell a story. Or students can explore different genres of music from around the world and represent cultural relationships outside of the trophy. Consider a complete stabilization experience by playing short clips of music with each matching mug displayed.
A more comprehensive lesson can trigger an idea for a shorter, more gentle activity. Students can play wonderful corpse With Twisting!” Consider how students can rotate their sleeves and match different tops and bottoms. They can collaborate by sharing and swapping sleeves and covers.
The conceptual layer of identity is another idea. How can students explore the inside and outside and what is covered?
For example, start the lesson by asking the following exploratory questions:
- What can the cup contain?
- What can be revealed inside the cup when the coffee is emptied?
- How do we “dress” on the outside and “cover” the reality underneath (the coffee cap)?
From a great FLEX lesson (cool as it is), ideas can blossom and branch, sparking even more lessons to add to your cache.
3. Use flex as a source of gold.
Maybe you have a really strong curriculum and think you don’t need anything. If that were you, do you know all the great resources available through FLEX? Most of the resources are related to the lesson, but you can review the resources through a filter. From videos and assessments to worksheets and reference lists, if you’re looking to supplement your syllabus, look no further!
Here are some examples of FLEX resources you can include in any lesson:
- Looking to change your cash process? There are more than 10 different formats available in FLEX for you to try.
- Need some ideas for the perfect rubric? Check out Plug N’ Play Evaluation Guide as an essential evaluation tool.
- Perhaps you are struggling with how to write an artist statement. There are mini templates and checklists to help you get started.
- Perhaps you could use a quick worksheet to help students mix paints? Student-facing resources will prevent you from reinventing the wheel and save you a lot of time.
- Looking for a list of twenty digital artists? Or maybe just a specific mixed media artist? You can search for that too.
- Do you need a brief video all about typography? The videos are not only informative but comfortable to listen to. (Thanks, Tim Bogatz!)
- Looking for a one-page explanation of CMYK vs. RGB? Teacher reference sheets help you break down big concepts into student-friendly supports.
Even if some of the resources are for a FLEX lesson, you can easily edit and modify without starting from scratch. The search functions and tabs help you find exactly what you’re looking for when you need it.
Take some time to research FLEX. You will quickly discover how amazing this approach really is. When lessons seem outdated, you need a break, or if you are looking to complement your syllabus, add FLEX lessons and resources. Be sure to check out the implementation page. Contains many resources, such as how to use FLEX with your learning management system, scope and sequences, and How to fund the FLEX curriculum in your area!
What questions do you have about FLEX?
What is your favorite part of the Flex curriculum?
How do you use FLEX to plan your lesson?