Posted on 02/19/2014 at 10:40 AM by Global Reach

The Iowa Department of Education has revamped its Web site for Fine Arts and included Iowa Core Companion Documents that are aligned with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs ( You can find this site at:


The Visual Arts Iowa Core Companion is a PDF that contains information as to how the fine arts support the implementation of the Iowa Core and the universal constructs. It isn’t a document telling teachers what to teach, but rather how to make teaching more rigorous, relevant and student-centered.


Teachers might start by asking the following questions:

  1. What do you want your students to know?
  2. How are you going to know if they have learned/are learning the information?
  3. What are you going to do if the students are not learning?
  4. What are you going to do with the students who already know what is being taught? 


The Art Educators of Iowa (AEI) team developed a set of six expectations, based on the National standards, that, could be used across all grade levels:

  1. Students will understand, select and apply media, techniques and processes.
  2. Students will understand and apply elements and principles of design and other art structures.
  3. Students will consider, select, apply and evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  4. Students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
  5. Students will reflect upon and assess the characteristics and merits of their own and other’s work.
  6. Students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines, and daily life.    


The Foundational Understandings of artistic literacy are that students will create, present, and respond through critical thinking, complex communication, and collaboration. Aligned with the universal constructs, strategies are organized by K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade bands. Page 10 of the document explains how to read the rest of the document. This is a great resource!


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