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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Video Library K-5

Working With Local Artists

Students and teachers at P.S. 156 (The Waverly School of the Arts) in Brooklyn, New York, benefit from the school's established relationships with artists from local organizations. This program focuses on a first–grade class creating original works with visiting artists — a dancer and a writer.

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At P.S. 156 in Brooklyn, New York, visiting dance artist Ca

This program looks at a successful, ongoing collaboration between P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, in Brooklyn, New York, and two local organizations — Lotus Music & Dance and the Teachers & Writers Collaborative.

Artists from both organizations collaborate with the school’s first-grade teachers to implement an African-themed learning strand. Like other culture-based strands at the school, the African strand culminates in an original “never-before-seen performance.”

Featured People

Who’s Who
(In order of appearance)

  • Martha Rodriguez-Torres, principal, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York
  • Scott Pivnik, dance and movement teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York
  • Caren Plummer, visiting dance artist, Lotus Music & Dance, Brooklyn, New York
  • Kojo Plummer, visiting musician, Lotus Music & Dance, Brooklyn, New York
  • Allison Sicuranza, first-grade teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York (See interview below)
  • Leonore Gordon, visiting writer, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Brooklyn, New York (See interview below)
  • Oswaldo Malave, assistant principal, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York (See interview below)
  • Goldie Rich, African strand team leader, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York (See interview below)
  • Diane Thomas, first-grade teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York
  • Laura Parkhurst, first-grade teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York
  • Suzanne Ramos, first-grade teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York

 

Featured Schools

Lusher Alternative Elementary School

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Principal: Kathleen Hurstell Riedlinger
  • Assistant Principal: Sheila Nelson
  • Featured teachers and collaborators: Kathy DeJean, dance teacher; Marti Dumas, fifth-grade teacher; Carolyn Cunningham, fifth-grade teacher; Amanda Newberry, theatre teacher; Warren Irwin, visiting artist; Megan Neelis, second-grade teacher; Eve Gitlin, third-grade teacher; Paul Reynaud, first-grade teacher; Geralyn Broussard, first-grade teacher; Nancy Lilly, fourth-grade teacher; Ann Rowson Love, curator of education, Ogden Museum of Southern Art; Louise Trimble Kepper, artist and student of Will Henry Stevens; Kathy Guidry, kindergarten teacher; Carolyn DuBois, fourth-grade teacher; Tricia Ruf, student teacher; Adele Brown, fourth-grade teacher
  • Grades: K–5
  • Number of students: About 500
  • Number of faculty: About 49
  • Demographic information: Thirty percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Two percent of students are English language learners. The student population is 49 percent Caucasian, 41 percent African-American, 6 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian, and 1 percent Native American.

Lusher Alternative Elementary, a K–5 public school in the Orleans Parish School District, provides a student-centered curriculum in an atmosphere where each child is encouraged to develop academically, physically, socially, and emotionally.

Strong emphasis is put on a core curriculum with opportunity for development of individual needs and talents using varied teaching styles and strategies. Aided by the Annenberg-Getty Arts Partnership as an Art School Partner, Lusher upholds its school motto: “Celebrating Cultural Diversity Through High Academics and the Arts.”

Lusher’s Talented in the Arts program meets the needs of students who have exceptional ability in music, visual art, or drama. Students are referred by teachers and screened through an evaluation process by the school’s special education department. Students who leave their regular classes to take part in this program also are expected to keep up their regular class work.

Respect for the rights of others and oneself are of utmost importance at Lusher. Teachers use a positive approach to discipline through the Project Pride program. Project Pride’s four basic rules are: be kind, be responsible, do your best work, and respect people and property. At Lusher, the strong bonds of commitment and cooperation among students, teachers, administrators, and the community help provide a strong education for each child.

Information provided by Lusher Alternative Elementary School. Current as of February 2002.

Featured Approaches

African-Themed Learning Strand

Here are some of the ways artists and teachers collaborate on activities in the African strand at P.S. 156, The Waverly School for the Arts:

  • African dance artist Caren Plummer and African drummer Kojo Plummer collaborate with first-grade teacher Allison Sicuranza and dance and movement teacher Scott Pivnik to prepare first-grade students for the culminating performance.
  • Poet Leonore Gordon works with Sicuranza and the students to create poems of farewell based on an African poetic form. Student poetry is incorporated into the culminating performance and published in a student poetry anthology.
  • Sicuranza uses the study of African dance as a starting point for a social studies and vocabulary lesson comparing dance in African communities and dance in the children’s own community.
  • Teachers and visiting artists communicate regularly about their plans so the artists can develop appropriate activities and teachers can prepare students to learn. Everyone involved in a strand also participates in regular team meetings to review the strand curriculum and plan the culminating performance.

“Learning is reciprocal between artists and teachers,” observes principal Martha Rodriguez-Torres. “Collaboration provides an opportunity for teachers to learn about the art form in a nonthreatening way and for artists to learn classroom skills.”

 

Who Should Watch This Program

As a model of successful collaboration between schools and local arts organizations, “Working With Local Artists” is a valuable inservice training resource for classroom teachers and arts specialist teachers who work — or are planning collaborations — with professional artists in their communities.

Other audiences for this program might include:

  • visiting artists, to acquaint them with the idea of classroom collaborations and to orient them to classroom practices, teaching techniques, standards, and assessments;
  • local arts organization administrators, to establish expectations and responsibilities for planned collaborations;
  • prospective funders for a visiting artist or artist residency, to help them envision the possibilities for collaboration at your school;
  • curriculum or arts project planners, to help them expand their ideas about how to bring the arts into a unit of study; and
  • administrators, parents, school board members, and government officials, to promote the idea of a visiting-artist program.

Before Watching

Teaching a class and creating a work of art require different sets of skills, yet collaborations between teachers and artists can be highly successful. As you watch this program, consider these questions:

  • What have the teachers and the artists learned from each other?
  • How is this learning accomplished?
  • What information do the teachers and artists share?
  • How and how often do they share information?

The students in this program clearly enjoy their interactions with the artists. Consider these questions:

  • In what specific ways do these artists enrich the children’s learning experiences?
  • How do the children show what they have gained by working with the artists?

In this program, artists and teachers are all involved in the curriculum-planning process. Consider these questions:

  • In what specific ways have the artists shaped the curriculum and its implementation?
  • How effective would the unit be if the artists were not involved in planning?

In this program, the visiting artists are associated with two organizations, Lotus Music & Dance and the Teachers & Writers Collaborative:

  • What benefits are gained by collaborating with organizations rather than with individual artists?

WATCH THE PROGRAM

Interviews

Oswaldo Malave

Assistant principal, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York

Oswaldo Malave has been an assistant principal for 15 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, a master’s degree in education from City College, and a professional diploma in education administration and supervision from Pace University. He received his training in the arts primarily on the job and through workshops, such as those provided by the Center for Arts Education in New York.

Q. How are visiting artists selected for the arts residencies?

A. The writers are selected by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. When the program began in 1996, we didn’t know the writers they sent. At the end of that first residency, the teachers decided which writers would return. The writers who have been most successful over the years have been those who have a good rapport with the students, are familiar with classroom management, know how to relate to children, are considerate of classroom procedures, are available for meetings, and are able to communicate with children as teachers rather than as professional writers.

Q. Please list the visiting writers and their classes in a typical year.

A. [They include the following:]

Leonore Gordon, visiting writer, Teachers & Writers Collaborative

  • First grade, African strand, three classrooms
  • Fifth grade, Native American strand, three classrooms
  • Sixth grade, jazz music strand, three classrooms

Dave Johnson, visiting writer, Teachers & Writers Collaborative:

  • First grade, African strand, three classrooms
  • Third grade, Asian strand, three classrooms
  • Third grade, Flamenco strand, three classrooms

Andrea del Conte, Flamenco dancer, Lotus Music & Dance

  • Third grade, Flamenco strand, three classrooms

Caren Plummer, visiting dance artist, Lotus Music & Dance

  • First grade, African strand, six classrooms

The New York City Opera also conducts a strand for four fourth-grade classes. These are somewhat different, because the opera sends different artists to work with the children for four or five sessions.

Q. How are visiting artists matched with the classes and teacher with which they will work?

A. Artists and classes are matched by grade and strand. For example, the first grade has an African strand, so it gets an African dancer. Sometimes a writer doesn’t feel comfortable working with the younger children. If that happens, we will give the writer an older grade. As the strand is determined by grade level, a writer who would request an older group would therefore be working with whatever strand that grade was doing.

Q. What kinds of training do classroom teachers and visiting artists receive before they start working together?

A. The first year of the program, we had intensive training for the artists, including a retreat, with workshops for teachers and artists. The second year, we had less funding and therefore less training, but as the same core of artists were returning, the same intensive level of training was not necessary. We did have on-site training for the new artists with the program, in which we discussed what the program was about and what we expected.

Before every strand, we bring the artist and teacher together for a 45-minute meeting — a dialogue in which they exchange expectations and ideas. We don’t throw an artist into a classroom with no preparation. Teachers and artists meet weekly to discuss what they will be doing and how they can work together.

In the case of a visiting dancer, she might say, “Today I will be doing this step, that step.” The classroom teacher might have the children write a story, and the artist will tie in the dance to their stories: What step will go well with this particular part? How can we do a dance step to this line or phrase?

If the artist is a writer, she might tell the classroom teacher, “These are the poems I will be reciting, this is what we will be expecting the children to do, and this is how you can help me.” All the writers have been with us since the beginning, so by now they come in and know exactly what to do.

Q. Please explain how the visits are scheduled. How many sessions with the artist does each class receive?

A. Currently, there are eight weeks in a residency, down from 12 weeks before budget cuts. Artists meet with each class once a week. Sessions are typically scheduled on Wednesday or Friday afternoons.

Q. How many residencies does each class have in a typical year?

A. Each class has at least two residencies per year — one with a writer and one with a dancer or other artist. There is a performance at the end of each strand.

Q. Who decides the content of the artists’ lessons? Who decides what the final project will be?

A. The artist decides in collaboration with the teachers. There’s a strand meeting with the artist, classroom teachers, and a team leader on each of the days that the visiting artist comes in — either at lunchtime or after school. They will discuss the lesson plan, content, and how to integrate the material into various subject areas or with standards.

Q. Does the dance program at P.S. 156 satisfy the state and national standards for physical education? If not, how do you meet these standards, since at your school dance replaces physical education?

A. Most of the physical education standards are taught through the dance activities. If we were unable to meet a standard, it usually was because we lacked the facility, such as a gymnasium, in our former, temporary building.

 


 

Leonore Gordon

Visiting writer, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Brooklyn, New York

Leonore Gordon began teaching poetry to elementary school students on Long Island when she was in 11th grade, at the request of her fifth-grade teacher. While she was attending Oberlin College, majoring in creative writing, she volunteered to lead poetry groups in public schools in Ohio, and in local libraries while home from college. In 1978, she joined Poets in Public Service while completing her master’s degree studies at Bank Street College of Education. She taught poetry in numerous senior centers in the late 1980s and continued teaching poetry in schools from that point on. In the 1990s, she became involved in the Teachers & Writers Collaborative.

Q. How do you collaborate with classroom teachers?

A. I work with teachers by initially assessing their curriculum needs and seeing how poetry lessons can interface with the curriculum. This is actually an ongoing process. Once we’ve started a residency, teachers are asked weekly to help students finish poems we’ve started, look at my comments and requests for editing after I’ve returned poems, and instruct students to have poems ready for me for the next class. With strands, such as the first-grade African strand or the fifth-grade Native American strand, we try to have weekly meetings to plan for the final performance, where dance, drumming lessons, and poetry from my residency get integrated into the final show.

Q. From an artist’s perspective, what are the challenges of collaborating with classroom teachers?

A. Challenges include trying to share with the classroom teacher common artistic visions of writing, so the teacher is on the same page creatively with the writer. For example, we want to stretch students’ writing and imagination beyond predictable language, and we want to make sure the teacher really is hearing what is being asked during a lesson.

Q. What can the artist do to make the collaboration effective? What can the teacher do?

A. The artist can take the time to make goals explicit, involve the teacher in the class’s poetry and suggest books about teaching writing. Teachers also need to be willing to read students’ poems and make editing corrections consistent with what the writer is looking for — lots of sensory details, surprising language, similes, metaphors, personification, and other literary techniques. Teachers really need to spend time with students with disabilities that the poet might not be aware of, quietly discipline difficult students, and help students complete the assignments. Finally, teachers need to help students produce edited final copies of poems for anthologies.

Q. Can you describe one of your most rewarding assignments with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative?

A. All my collaborations with P.S. 156 around strands have been incredibly rewarding, especially my most recent one, when we met weekly to discuss all aspects of an upcoming fifth-grade Native American show. We covered the themes of each class’ skits (three eras in Native American history), how the African drumming and dancing classes related to the themes, and how poems and myths could contribute to each class. Input was welcome from all participants, and the show was wonderful.

Q. Please describe one of your most difficult assignments with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. What was your strategy for dealing with the challenges? What was the result?

A. My most difficult assignment was at a school with a very conservative principal and assistant principal, where teachers were discouraged from being creative with children. There were very prescribed definitions for sanitized, “nice” creativity. An anthology with the word “pig” in the title had to be covered with a new jacket containing more “pleasant” language. My strategy was to be as creative as I could, which is what the teachers did as well. Somehow we still got great poems from students.

 


 

Allison Sicuranza

First-grade teacher, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York

Allison Sicuranza gained experience through various meetings with the artists, working collaboratively with them, viewing videotapes, and reading literature.

Q. Please describe the process of collaborating with a visiting artist.

A. The visiting artists come into our school once a week and work with our students. For example, the writer comes in and introduces a poem. The children are then expected to write a poem based on the theme of the work they are reading. I then take the next week and work on and revise the poetry with the children individually.

Q. How did working with the artists affect your growth as a teacher?

A. I have been collaborating with both a writer and a dancer for quite a few years. I have found it to be a very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. Before I began working with the writer, I found myself shying away from teaching poetry to young children. However, through working with Leonore Gordon, I have found that poetry can be a wonderful experience for young children. Ms. Gordon has helped me to teach poetry effectively. I now feel comfortable teaching poetry appreciation as well as writing poetry.

Q. What are the challenges and how do you address them?

A. The biggest obstacles I have with the visiting artists are time constraints. Teachers’ schedules are very tight and sometimes create stress to finish writing on time. Creating a performance also takes a long time, even though it is very rewarding in the end.

Q. What specific benefits do you see in your students from working with the poet?

A. My last year’s class as well as my present class have demonstrated a great love of poetry. Their writing is far beyond expectations for a first-grade class. I have found that some children begin writing as a means of expressing their innermost feelings and that writing helps them to work through obstacles they face in their lives.

Q. How do the students benefit from working with the dance artists on the movement piece?

A. The dancing gives children the chance to be creative and have fun at the same time. It gives them the chance to create a series of movements as it relates to a theme. It helps them to create a story using dance. I have found the African dance artists, Caren and Kojo Plummer, to be wonderfully cooperative and dedicated to the children. They always seem to create an instant bond with the children. They bring out the children’s creativity and true ability from within.

Q. What were some of the resources you and your students used when creating the performance piece for the African strand?

A. The resources we used included the dancers’ knowledge of African history, the Internet, and literature that relates to the theme of the plays. Ideas stem from the children’s imaginations, while factual information comes from research.

 


 

Goldie Rich

African strand team leader, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York

Goldie Rich has been a classroom teacher for close to two decades, the chair for her school’s leadership team for five years, and her school’s liaison to parents for two years. She has organized a number of schoolwide activities, including taking groups of parents, teachers, and students to see The Lion King on Broadway. She also organized an event called Walking in Your Child’s Footsteps, in which parents experienced a typical school day at P.S. 156.

Q. Please describe the African strand and its components.

A. This year the African strand included all the first-grade classes and one fifth-grade class. In addition to the team leader, the staff includes a visiting writer, a visiting dance or movement artist, one or two P.S. 156 movement and dance teachers, eight classroom teachers, and some parent volunteers. Together with the students in these classes, we focused on West Africa for 12 weeks. Typically, in implementing the strand, the group first meets to plan and schedule strategies, choose a team, and select a region in Africa to cover. Students then research topics such as food, clothing, family, climate, crafts, education, and politics, using the Internet, pen pals, books, magazines, and other tools.

Throughout the strand, classroom teachers and students keep their own journals that include reflective writings, photos, crafts, videos, and cassette tapes related to the strand. The group also plans strand-related trips, which are facilitated by the team leader. Students write pre- and post-event reflections on the trips and all strand-related activities.

At the close of the strand, the visiting writer from the Teachers & Writers Collaborative and the classroom teacher publish an anthology with poems and other writings from all the students. Similarly, the visiting artist from Lotus Music & Dance, our P.S. 156 movement and dance teachers, the classroom teacher, the team leader, and the students create a culminating performance to bring to life what they’ve been learning. At P.S. 156, we call these culminating performances “never-before-seen performances.”

Q. How are strands scheduled within the school year? From year to year?

A. Presently, the arts program is organized around a multicultural calendar integrated by the following strands. The emphasis is on a different cultural theme or strand each month:

  • October: Native American, fifth-grade classes
  • November: Hispanic/Latino, third-grade classes
  • December: multicultural holiday season, sixth-grade classes specifically and all other grades generally
  • January: European cultures, second-grade classes
  • February: African/African-American, all first-grade classes and one fifth-grade class
  • March–April: Asian/Chinese, third-grade classes
  • May–June: Caribbean, kindergarten classes
  • June: opera, fourth-grade classes

Strands are repeated from year to year, so students participate in all the strands by the time they leave the school at the completion of sixth grade. As they move up from grade to grade, students incorporate and reflect all that they have gained by participating in previous strands.

Q. What is the role of the strand team leader?

A. The team leader coordinates all strand-related activities, including working with visiting artists, teachers, parents, students, and others to attain concrete results, including measurable educational gains. In many cases, the team leader also serves as the liaison to the administration, dispensing directives from the district office to the grades under the approval of administration.

Q. How do you evaluate the success of strand activities? How is the progress and achievement of individual students assessed?

A. The program uses traditional and alternative assessments to measure students’ achievement. More traditional assessments include pre- and post-strand tests. These are given by the school art teacher, movement and dance teachers, and classroom teachers. These tests measure:

  • literacy growth through the arts (Has the student learned the terminology needed for the strand? Can the student communicate about this strand to others?); and
  • basic visual arts, dance, and music skills (Can the student apply the skills learned?).

The school’s art evaluation teams summarize the results of the review process and make recommendations for future curriculum or program changes to administration, the school leadership team, and the team leaders.

Alternative assessments include reflective journals, writing portfolios, videos, and individual students’ arts portfolios in which photographs of performances, trip reflections, and letters from pen pals are kept. These reflective journals, portfolios, correspondence, and other items are reviewed by a committee of teachers who use grade level rubrics to determine the degree to which:

  • New York state art standards were met,
  • aesthetic awareness was developed,
  • cultural sensitivity was addressed, and
  • New York City English language arts standards were met.

Additional Resources

Related Video
Library Programs

Watch these programs for more information on ideas explored in “Working With Local Artists”:

Web Resources

Organizations Mentioned in This Program:

Additional Information:

Favorite Material of Leonore Gordon on the Teachers & Writers Collaborative Web site(Click on these titles in the book index)

    • Poetry Everywhere
    • The Alphabet of the Trees
    • Sing the Sun Up
    • The List Poem

Lesson Plans and Materials

Aje

by Leonore Gordon

(Note: “Aje” means “farewell” in the African language Wolf.)

Aje, Blanket Friend 

Aje, Old One, 

soft against my five year old cheek, 

my steady blue-quilted friend. 

They say they’re taking you away

because you’re old and full of holes, 

and yes, thin as a spider’s web shaken

by a cold wind. 

They say I don’t need you

anymore. They don’t know.S 

thumb-in-my-mouth, 

baby fingers gripping you tight, 

stroking you over and over 

night after night, until I’d finally dream.

Aje, Friend. Remember cold winters, 

when leafless trees leaned heavy, 

and the wind played unwelcome drumbeats

against my bedroom window? 

You’d sing me wordless blanket songs 

until I slept. 

Remember early bedtime, 

in a not-quite-darkened room

when shadows danced from closet doors? 

You, Old Blanket, wrapped yourself around my heart, and whispered me to peace. 

Aje. Thank you. Aje.

 

African Strand, P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts

The African strand represents one segment of our school’s yearly multicultural strand calendar. It also is the prototype strand being used to introduce our arts program to other schools in our district and city. This strand will serve as the model for showing them how to incorporate multicultural art and arts education into every aspect of the school’s curriculum.

With this in mind, the main activities of the African strand can be divided into two basic parts:

Part A. Sharing Our African Strand Activities

  • As a network school for the Center for Arts Education, we are committed to sharing our expertise in this approach to education. In early September, opportunities will be provided for our schools to share our past and current experiences in the arts with our sister school, P.S. 73.
  • An assigned group of our staff will meet with visiting artists from Lotus Music & Dance, the Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and parents to begin a series of sessions that will assist P.S. 73 in facilitating an effective integration of the arts into their curriculum using the African strand as the prototype.
  • Intervisitations, workshops, discussions, demonstrations, modeling, and other activities will continue while all strand-related activities are in process. Assistance is provided until their final strand presentation.

Part B. In-House African Strand Activities

  • Continue to have planning and strategy meetings
  • Pick a theme and region of focus in the Africa continent
  • Set goals
  • Do research
  • Compile and share resources
  • Each student continues to keep a journal
  • Classroom teachers keep a class journal
  • With 12-week program in full swing, group continues to work with students
  • Draft of final presentation is shared and reviewed by the group
  • With rehearsal also in full swing, focus is set for finale
  • Strand leader, consultants, teacher, parents, and students all collaborate and share to meet all the goals and standards that have been set previously
  • Trips are conducted on a continuous basis
  • Students write pre- and post-trip experiences into their journals
  • Writers, teachers, and students work on final draft for publication of the strand’s anthology
  • Pre-established assessment measures are continuously administered to measure student achievement and to what degree various standards are being met
  • The Grand Finale Day: The Never-Before-Seen Performance
  • Participating staff, parents, consultants, and administration meet for an after-the-strand evaluation

 

African Dance Lesson Plan: Dance In Our Community

From P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, African strand

Objective: Children will compare and contrast dance in African communities to dance in the communities in which they live.

Aim: How is African dance different from and similar to dance in our community?

Motivation: Explain that oral traditions such as poetry often are passed down from generation to generation. Steps:

  • Tell children that the poem you are going to read to them is called “Dream Variations.”
  • Explain that it is written by a famous African-American writer names Langston Hughes.
  • Read the poem to the children.
  • Discuss: What is the dream of the child in the poem? (To dance.)

Procedure: Explain that the tradition of dance often is passed down from generation to generation. Steps:

  • Brainstorm the word “dance” with the class.
  • Tell the children that dance has played a major role in daily life in Africa.
  • Hand out a list of facts pertaining to African dance.
  • Choose volunteers to read the fact sheet on African dance.
  • After reading the sheet with the children, tell them that the class is going to divide into groups and learn more about dance.

Group work: Divide the class into four groups. Steps:

  • One group will compare African dance to dance in their community, using a Venn diagram.
  • Another group will think of verbs that describe African dance.
  • The third group will think of verbs that describe dance in their community.
  • The fourth group will write about how they feel when they are dancing, using scanned pictures of themselves.

African Dance Fact Sheet

From P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, African strand

  • In African communities, people dance at special occasions, such as the birth of babies and marriage celebrations.
  • Sometimes at marriage celebrations, the whole village does a dance.
  • In African communities, people dance in churches and temples.
  • They dance on holidays.
  • In African communities, people dance to celebrate life and the possibility of a better future.
  • African dance forms commonly include team dances using patterns, dancing in straight lines, and dancing in circles.
  • Sometimes people dance in groups, sometimes one person dances for the whole village.
  • Dances are sometimes done in traditional clothes and makeup.

Arts Education Standards

Dance

    • Content Standard 1 — Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance

Achievement Standards for Grades K–4

      • Accurately demonstrate nonlocomotor/axial movements (such as bend, twist, stretch, swing)
      • Accurately demonstrate eight basic locomotor movements (such as walk, run, hop, jump, leap, gallop, slide, and skip), traveling forward, backward, sideward, diagonally, and turning
      • Demonstrate accuracy in moving to a musical beat and responding to changes in tempo
      • Demonstrate the ability to define and maintain personal space
    • Content Standard 2 — Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures

Achievement Standards for Grades K–4

      • Create a sequence with a beginning, middle, and end both with and without a rhythmic accompaniment
      • Create a dance phrase, accurately repeat it, and then vary it (making change in the time, space, and/or force/energy)
    • Content Standard 5 — Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods

Achievement Standards for Grades K–4

      • Perform folk dances from various cultures with competence and confidence
      • Learn and effectively share a dance from a resource in their own community: describe the cultural and/or historical context
    • Content Standard 7 — Making connections between dance and other disciplines

Achievement Standards for Grades K–4

    • Create a dance project that reveals understanding of a concept or idea from another discipline (such as pattern in dance and science)

Source: National Standards for Arts Education, published by Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Copyright © 1994 by MENC. Used by permission. The complete National Arts Standards and additional materials relating to the standards are available from MENC, The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191, telephone: 800-336-3768.

Source, Dance Standards: This article/quote is reprinted from National Standards for Arts Education with permission of the National Dance Association, an association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The original source may be purchased from: National Dance Association, 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1599;
or phone 703-476-3421.

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