Welcome to the Visual Arts – Elementary and Secondary program. This information page provides an overview of the program and important information about the structure and evaluation of the program and the materials available.
1. Overview of the program
Before providing an overview of the Visual Arts program at KI, it is important to establish the difference between craft and art. These two concepts are difficult to separate from each other since art is very subjective. What one person perceives as art may be considered by another as craft. For many, the focus of a craft is primarily on making a product. In visual arts, the focus is primarily on the creative process and making sure that students are using their creativity, independence, and most importantly, their own decision-making ability. Students are given specific goals and a theme, possibly a particular technique or medium to use, but the decisions about the piece remain their own.
In order to ensure that visual arts are taught, and not just used in the classroom, it is important to rely on the skills and concepts provided for in the Quebec school curriculum (from the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur – MEES). Additional resources and materials are also available on various KI platforms and can be used at the teacher’s discretion to enrich their teaching.
Each section of the Visual Arts program contains a variety of information, including a presentation of the discipline, the skills and components that students will need to develop throughout their education and the content of the training (transformative gestures, materials, tools, concepts and notions).
The MEES’ Visual Arts program is divided as follows
The MEES curriculum also recommends using cultural references to help students enrich their perception and understanding of the world around them. At KI, we believe that the use of cultural references is also very important in helping students understand themselves and their culture. These cultural references can definitely come from different places around the world, but it is important not to forget to use those from Inuit culture. Refer to the attached table to help you find or choose ways to use these cultural references.
Visual Arts evaluations must be performed on a regular basis. They can focus on the concepts learned, for example a written exam in which students can demonstrate their knowledge of the concepts taught in class. There also has to be practical evaluations during which students integrate the knowledge learned through a piece of art. Each of the three competencies must be evaluated multiple times throughout the school year as part of projects assigned by the teacher or personal projects chosen by each student:
- Creation of personal images
- Creation of media images
- Appreciation of works of art and cultural objects
You can also use a general rubric like this one to evaluate students or create your own rubrics based on more specific or advanced criteria.
To help students acquire the necessary skills in visual arts, you will need to rely on the documents entitled Progression of Learning to provide you with all the concepts and knowledge to teach. To ensure these elements are taught, you need to strategically integrate them in your annual planning.
Here are the different documents to use to plan your art classes:
When teaching art to students, you can use different types of approaches. These can be applied in one way or another to both the elementary and secondary sectors. Here are a few different approaches that you can use in your classrooms, and which can be adapted to your group and to the appropriate grade level.
In elementary, it is sometimes easier to integrate many subjects within a single project since most of the time, the main teacher is responsible for teaching all subjects to a single group. Multidisciplinarity aims to integrate many subjects to contextualize learning and increase relevance to the learner. The use of the same vocabulary across many subjects promotes the acquisition of language. Students need to use a word 15 to 20 times before they can remember it. Using the vocabulary in multiple contexts is the best way to acquire it. It is easy to integrate visual arts into French and Social Sciences. It is even possible to do so with sciences (plants, the human body, the solar system) and math (logical sequence, translation, shapes)! Art can stimulate language and writing in students. It is must easier for students to write a paragraph about a piece of art they have personally worked on than using their imagination to put pen to a blank sheet of paper. Orally, you can give students an image they can discuss using shapes, colours and any other vocabulary they have learned.
Here is a project completed by the Grade 3 French class in Kuujjuaq in 2022: the teacher worked on the theme of fruits and vegetables. In French, the students acquired vocabulary related to fruit and vegetable names. In science, students participated in taste, smell and touch workshops with different fruits and vegetables from around the world. They discussed textures and tastes; they also practiced their French oral skills to make descriptions. Students planted fruits and vegetables using seeds from their snacks. They discussed the needs of plants and made observations once a week about the progress of their plant. They also discussed healthy choices when preparing vegetable platters and fruit smoothies. An Elder also came to the class to make suvalik (fruit salad with fish eggs incorporated in whipped oil). We integrated Inuit culture into this delicious snack. In art, students made a collage of a character using fruits and vegetables. They looked at portraits by artist Arcimboldo to inspire them. Once their work was completed, they wrote short sentences describing their character. They had to follow a particular sentence structure and used word banks to write their text. This project could easily be done in other grade levels, with some adjustments.
An Elder-focused approach
Elders play a very important role in Inuit culture as knowledge holders. The integration of their knowledge in different school subjects is conducive to second language learning. It is possible to use the knowledge and participation of Elder Nunavummiut during the inspiration or preparation phase of a piece of art. Their stories and life experiences could also lead students to draw different conclusions and elaborate on that conclusion in their artwork. Elders possess practical knowledge that they can share in class based on the different techniques and mediums being taught, such as kamiik making or beadwork, or even printing techniques. The inclusion and participation of Elders will certainly have a positive impact on students. Check out a variety of interviews with Nunavik Elders.
A questioning approach
A questioning approach can certainly be used in Visual Arts, specifically in the inspiration or appreciation phases of a piece of art. Developing a more in-depth conversation allows students to enrich their vocabulary in arts, but also in other school subjects. This approach is most often used in large groups where the teacher asks students questions about a piece of art in order to bring the discussion to a higher level and deepen their analysis. It can also be used at the beginning of elementary, even if the questions and answers are not elaborate. The questioning will change and students will intensify their discourse throughout their education:
- Agree/disagree questions
- Multiple answers questions
- Questions where students find the answers on their own, guided by the teacher
- Limited elaboration questions where students identify, name, describe and react
- Free-form questions where students choose and organize the facts themselves
4. KI Annual Art Trip
Since 2018, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq allows a certain number of Secondary 4 and 5 (Cycle 2) students to participate in an arts trip. This program allows participants to:
- Imagine themselves as visual artists;
- Speak with artists and art educators;
- Discuss art using terminology shaped by artists and workshop animators;
- Produce works of art on a theme chosen for the current year;
- Learn more about works of art created by Indigenous artists.
Destinations change from year to year and are chosen from Inuit and Indigenous art museums and galleries. Previous years’ art trips have been to:
- Kinngait to learn more about printmaking in Nunavut;
- Toronto to visit museums with many Inuit works of art and to participate in a graphic design workshop;
- Kuujjuaq to discover Inuit art through the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and a workshop with artist Niap. Students participated in printmaking and collage workshops.
Trip for current school year
A theme will be proposed and students will have the opportunity to send pieces of art that they have created on that particular theme. Then, judges from Educational Services will review all the art pieces sent in and select the students who will participate. The judges will use a rubric that takes into account all sorts of techniques and media (it could even be the lyrics to a song or throat singing). This rubric will be sent with the theme. This trip usually takes place in May, just before or after the students’ end-of-year evaluations.
Watch this video for more information and guidelines for this year!
Many resources are available in class and online to support art education at the elementary and high school levels. Our team is constantly updating the Nunavik-IcE platform to provide you with Inuit-focused educational resources.
On Nunavik-IcE, you will find under the Resources section, Arts of Nunavik: Past, Present and Future material, which includes information, artist biographies and documents explaining the process:
Series named Arts of Nunavik: Past, Present and Future
Beadwork in Nunavik
Printmaking in Nunavik
Here are some useful links that can help you in your lesson planning or to inspire students:
Here are some useful links to help you find funding for your art projects. For more detailed information about how to obtain these funds or to request an application form, contact your school principal or pedagogical counsellor:
The position of Pedagogical Counsellor for Visual Arts at Kativik Ilisarniliriniq currently remains vacant. For any questions related to Visual Arts, contact Yasmine Charara, Assistant Director of Education Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org