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Visual Arts Courses 406
Visual Arts Courses


                                   motion imagery: Kristina with Jackson - AWQ4M1(Middleton) post-visualization extension 

Art is discovery. When you take art, you learn a lot about the world, yourself and opportunity. Everyone can make art and benefit from art-making.  It's beneficial to your health and well-being and allows you to express yourself, relieve stress, set your imagination free and discover who you are. An art course can offer a healthy balance to the other areas of study and the complexities of modern living while offering an opportunity to develop valuable workplace skills.

The Greater Toronto Area is the third largest employer of creative professionals in North America. Top executives at the largest businesses across the world agree, that their greatest current need is creativity and creative problem solving.  The Visual Arts Department designs courses and experiences to build the creativity, awareness, insight and confidence that are assets across all personal pathways. 

Art-making involves a process and a skills-set.  We can guide you in your creative development and teach you to refine your work and amaze yourself.  With our different types of courses, there is something for everyone.  All our courses explore connections across cultures and history, but each course series differs in the type of art-making involved >>>

At Milliken Mills High School, we have three types of Visual Arts courses:            

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AVI COURSES - Visual Arts (comprehensive/multi-disciplinary art)explore  many types of art-making with drawing, painting, sculpture, new media/digital art, mixed media, plus some exploration in design and photography, and, in some courses,  printmaking and installation

AWD COURSES - Visual Design - focus on directions within the design world: communication (including typography, illustration, graphics, photography, advertising, branding, packaging and props),  environments (interior design, architecture, sustainability), objects (product/industrial), and sequences/combinations are all explored.

AWQ COURSES - Photography - engage with a range of photographic technologies and effects (digital, software, film, darkroom, lighting and experiment) for full spectrum understanding and personal ingenuity

  Building Skills for All Pathways, Personal Wellness & the Modern Marketplace             Sheraz Pano of Usman.jpg

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                                                                                                                                  Image: Sheraz with Usman - coursework composite pano. AWQ3M1 (Middleton)


English Language Learning (ELL) and the Visual Arts

The study of art involves a universal, visual language.  It is an area in which many of our English language learners can excel, gain confidence, mindfully focus and express themselves amidst the stages and pressures of new language, new environment and new social factors.  Being able to communicate personal experiences through art in a supportive environment is a form of validation and acknowledgement for our students. Art is a place of connection, where we engage in group creativity, while relate to new friends with similar and diverse experiences.  

The Visual Arts are about communication. We design visual resources, refining guiding models into key words and symbols, to convey essential information.  We provide inclusive and diverse visual and ongoing visual demonstrations in conjunction with verbal and written strategies. Some of our senior ELL  and multi-language students, challenge their language skills, by volunteering to translate unit reviews and classroom instruction.  The art class environment involves​ people helping people and creating meaning together.

Learning the skills related to Visual Communication are of benefit to ELL and all students as our ​increasing interaction with technology and a Global Marketplace, bring visual aspects of communication to the forefront of our lives, jobs and opportunities. 

IB and the Visual Arts

Engagement with and through art is a foundational part of IB study and the IB concept of fulsome education.

At MMHS, many of our junior students, destined for the IB Diploma Programme,  engage in the Visual Arts ​in there junior years of study. It is a great way to discover interests, develop skills and achieve life balance.

We have also designed a senior IB diploma course(Category 6), geared specifically to the needs of MMHS students and YRDSB timelines.  Our first IB Visual Arts students will achieve there credit as we enter 2020.

Along with all the other benefits, a Visual Arts Education can offer the IB student insights into the subtleties of Visual Communication, Visual Identity, Visual Presentation, and Life Design, all major factors in modern living and an increasingly visual global marketplace.

In IB Visual Arts study,

"... students develop through creating, performing and presenting arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning.

Students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of the arts. 

Arts stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills.

Involvement in the arts encourages students to understand the arts in context and the cultural histories of artworks, supporting the development of an inquiring and empathetic world view.

Arts challenge and enrich personal identity and build awareness of the aesthetic in a real-world context." -


focuses on three extensive core tasks:

Comparative Study - a thorough criticism and comparison of three related artworks, fulfilling a range of IB criteria, across 15 'screens'(pages), with a formal Works Cited list

Process Portfolio - a documentation in image and word of the personal creative learning journey, from planning to refinement, with visual journall​ing, gallery visits, inspirations, research, and all the 'ah-hah' moments in between, fulfilling a range of IB criteria across 18 'screens' (pages), with a formal Works Cited list

Artwork Exhibit - a collection of "cohesive"related, personally resolved individual art pieces, or artwork sets,  across a range of art disciplines, within a curatorial presentation/'show' (accompanied by an artistic rationale & artwork texts for each of the works, and photographs of the show)

IB Visual Arts, within YRDSB, is a rigourous, condensed growth experience, featuring two YRDSB Visual Arts credits, back to back, with course completion prior to IB exams (all coursework fro two credits are completed by the end of March).  

At MMHS, we guide students through a range of art experiences and customized consultation, towards the realization of their own personal vision and Exhibition, with progressive documentation along the way.  This documentation translates into a portfolio of work suitable for post secondary  admissions portfolios, awards applications and other opportunities, as personal creativity and critical thinking.

A mature, dedicated approach is required to successfully meet the range of IB criteria within YRDSB timelines. Defining effective personal directions within the context of personal workload, feasibility, sustainability and artistic standards is part of course success. Ongoing consultation, uploads, progressive due dates and refinement of work are significant aspects of this course.  Tasks completion requires a practice of visual journalling, personal management strategies,  as well as  significant photographic documentation and graphic design to create over 30 refined task screens (pages) that serve as evidence of learning and achievement of the IBVA criteria. 

Students will be introduced to a range of artistic disciplines, media, techniques and styles to support breadth of personal understanding and creative choice and will be required to extend their understandings through personal research and development of a catalogue of Works Cited. Summer pre-course preparation is part of discovering art interests and building an artistic foundation towards defining personal directions 

IBVA is recommended for students with strong personal motivation, responsibility, time management, and an openness to artistic growth through shared process, with consultation.   Potential students are required to  visit the department for a preview of the course content.   

Contact Ms Middleton for questions related​ to our IB programme and be on the lookout for MMHSVA IBEX 2020 ENVISION online, after final evaluations in July.

NOTE: like our other MMHS courses, IBVA credit offerings are based on enrolment and scheduling factors on a year to year basis.

An overview of the AVI IB SL credit combination can be located at:​


Every individual has their own unique and optimal way of learning. 

Consistent use of a clear, succinct and flexible creative process and analysis models, throughout our courses,  linked to a consistent department designed evaluation model, offers a guiding structure and built in scaffolding for our students.  Multiple studies have shown that the use of these specific models improve performance measurably.  We encouraged personalized choice and direction at each stage within varied Visual Arts projects and actively and creatively work with students to apply the components of their Individual Education Plan (IEP) and awareness of personal Multiple Intelligences surveys. All that,  that builds confidence and autonomy as students witness their own results and engage in a diverse range of creative experiences. 

Students can apply the strategies used in Visual Arts classes to all their learning, challenges and life design in and beyond high school.  Visual Arts is differentiation in action.  Special Education studies and Organizations and our own MMHS Special education Team, continue to express the many ways in which Visual Arts enhances life experience and learning.

Critical Thinking

The Visual Arts Department Plan supports Critical Thinking through the use of a present-day design industry inquiry/creative process model and the primary, established art criticism model.  The related processes are used consistently across our courses and linked to all our projects and evaluations, supporting scaffolding, and awareness, toward autonomous problem-solving and refinement.


Multiple Visual Arts Credits

Some students know the value of Visual Art in their lives now and for the future and enroll in the Visual Arts every year.  The majority of our graduating Visual Arts class, are headed in the direction of a creative career and these students, most typically, engage in multiple credits and coursework across the spectrum of AVI (Comprehensive/Multi-disciplinary Visual Arts), AWD/E (Design) and AWQ (Photography) to diversify and solidify their skills. 

MMHS Visual Arts course design considers the needs of all students, supporting students to demonstrate both versatile and targeted portfolios for admission to a range of post secondary arts and other creative opportunities, while offering all students a creative edge for any pathway.


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Descriptions of the courses offered at Milliken Mills High School​  (link)

This chart maps out all the courses in the subject guidelines issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education offered at MMHS with links between courses and the possible prerequisites. It does not attempt to depict all possible movements from course to course. 

  Screenshot 2019-01-02 06.37.46.png
  Note: at MMHS, we offer the Standard Level IB Visual Arts Course combination, as 

  AVI3M7 & AVI4M7offered sequentially over semester one and two, within in Year 11



     Screenshot 2019-04-04 06.58.29.png   Screenshot 2019-04-04 06.59.13.png  Screenshot 2019-04-04 06.58.43.png

__________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                            K.Middleton, Subject Head, Visual Arts, MMHS, YRDSB

 Visual Arts Chart​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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