Favorite Thing Friday: Feeling Prepared


When school resumes in August, I’ll be teaching a “new to me” subject, AP Art History. I was pretty much guilted (or suckered) into teaching this course for a few reasons: a) I’ve been teaching World History for 12 years so I have a pretty good handle on the international timeline, b) art is something I enjoy, (though I have never been formally trained in the arts ), and c) I can’t say no to my Department Chair as she has done me numerous favors.

For a couple of months, I held out hope that the powers that be would change their minds about offering the course (and find another way to fulfill the humanities requirement of IB), but alas the schedule for next year still has AP Art History next to my name. This would be all well and fine if I felt remotely qualified to teach the course and if I had the right resources.

One of the books they gave me is best suited for the desk of an art history professor as it is massively huge, has no bolded vocabulary, and is unbelievably boring. The other is a skinny paperback that is meant for people who have a passing interest in the subject and possess some background knowledge. Neither text was appropriate for high school freshman or a nervous teacher.

Thus, began my search for reference materials that would help me organize the curriculum and help my future students grasp a complicated subject matter. Oh, and every resource had to be incredibly cheap. No easy feat to say the least.

After months of hunting, I’m relieved to have three solid resources:

History of Art: Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Graphics, Technics by Parragon Books

Contains historical timelines for each era, key artistic terms, and colorful visuals. It’s more of a picture book than anything else and I plan on using it as such. However, the art terminology at the beginning of each chapter is invaluable!

Found it on the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble: $10


A Basic History of Western Art (7th Edition) by Anthony F Janson

A fantastic textbook geared for undergraduates, but simplified enough for advanced high school students. Filled with visuals and bolded vocabulary, this ties art and history together in an easy-to-understand format. A great resource for the analytical elements of art history, while also providing inspiration for critical thinking activities.

Found it at Half-Price Books: $8


Art History For Dummies by Jesse Bryant Wilder

The old standby for many teachers, the Dummies series does a great job of breaking down detailed subjects into  smaller pieces. Casual language, humor, and simplified outlines makes this an ideal resource for curriculum mapping and creating presentations my students can easily understand.

Found it through the amazon marketplace: $17


With these reference materials I feel like I can finally start the planning process! This is a huge relief and I’m actually excited to dig in and create lesson plans. It’s amazing how feeling prepared can lead to a surge in confidence.

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What is your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013

24 thoughts on “Favorite Thing Friday: Feeling Prepared

  1. You will bring so much energy and life to the subject I think you will be wonderful! You might enjoy a romp through the Sister Wendy book about most memorable paintings for different time periods. It was a companion to a PBS series a few years ago, and is really interesting.
    My fave this week is that I finished sleeve #2 of my sweater and started knitting the front bands. When these are done, it’s finished!


    • Sister Wendy was one of the first resources recommended to me by my colleagues. I’m working on getting her series on DVD (here’s hoping I can get the funds!).

      How funny. I just finished the second sleeve on my sweater yesterday morning. Front bands and neck ribbing is all I have left to do. We always seem to be on the same page. 🙂


    • It is a fun topic. I just wish I had a more formal background than personal interest and enjoyment! It, however, does help that I’ve been to many world famous art museums thanks to my travel bug. 🙂


  2. It looks as though you have everything you need to teach the course. Feeling prepared will definitely ease any anxiety you may have in teaching Art History. I’m sue your students are in for a treat! 🙂

    Last week, my friend and I visited the latest art exhibit: 100 Masters. Talk about your art history! Everyone from Da Vinci to Canada’s group of 7 were featured and even some local talent were displayed. It was an amazing day, to say the least. 🙂


  3. It sounds like you have everything you need to teach art history. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures! : )

    My favorite thing this week: spending the evenings at kids camp at church. I was in the evening services/performances playing a school teacher searching for my heart’s desire: a way to publish the manuscript of my novel. I thought it amusing since one of our former children’s pastors wrote the scripts. Then, on the second night, I realized that a few years away meant that he had forgotten all about that being true and it was just an amusing coincidence!


    • I think “adventure” is the right word! I am excited to teach something that is so visual and colorful. I hope it inspires a lot of creativity in my students.

      What a wonderful experience for you. Truth in fiction at its finest. 🙂


      • mamabeanablog

        Getting hot here and muggy. Storms just about every night. I think we are suppose to only get up to 84 tomorrow 🙂 The summer is flying by as it always does. It is my favorite season!!!! My grandson is growing so fast and is crawling everywhere now. Not ready for school to start back in mid August, of course I have never be ready for school to start back! lol!


  4. The Learning Company has a DVD/Art History course. Also, all the art history classes I have taken used slide presentation of artwork for strong visuals. Many AH textbooks include a CD/DVD. I collected many art books from the Friends of the Library. Here, a small shop is connected to the library and sells used books at ridiculously low cost. Many book series have art plates. And for specifics, National Geographic has articles. One of my favorite was on the Lascaux Cave art in France. Calendars have great pictures….hope some of this helps.


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