The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers
Creating a Multi-Arts Performance Piece Getting Ready
Getting Ready (10 minutes)
The following information will help you focus and organize your professional development session.
- Develop a plot structure for a multi-arts piece.
- Plan and implement a dramatization for the piece.
- Create and perform movement for the piece.
- Create costumes for the piece.
- Create and perform a musical score for the piece.
- Understand choreographic principles and processes in creating, performing, and responding.
These are questions for your group to consider as you work through the session:
- What are the steps in the process of creating a multi-arts performance piece?
- How does a teacher effectively guide the development of a student-created work?
Materials and Resources
- Videotape or broadcast of Program 4 — Creating a Multi-Arts Performance Piece
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Paper, pencils, and markers
- Handout: Elements of the Hero’s Journey (PDF)
- Reading: Orff Instrumentarium (PDF)
If you have had your own students create costumes for characters from history or literature, discuss this experience:
- How effective were the students in representing artistic and historical elements in their design choices?
If you have not explored these activities with your students, share and discuss your lesson plans or journal writings about how you could integrate these ideas in your classroom.
Facilitator: Discuss your experiences with having your students create costumes for characters from history or literature:
- How effectively did students represent artistic and historical elements in their design choices?
Distribute the handout, Elements of the Hero’s Journey. Discuss the classic hero’s journey in myth and folklore and the prevalence of the journey structure in literature.
To download PDF files, you will need a free copy of Acrobat Reader.
Supplementary: Creating a Multi-Arts Performance Piece — Complete Lesson Plans
Lesson plans, handouts, and readings needed to teach the lessons from this program in your classroom.
workshop 1 What Is Art?
The Learner Teams and students explore the nature of theatre, music, dance, and visual art as they consider their own definitions for each art form. They watch an excerpt from Quidam, a surrealistic performance piece that combines the four art forms in unusual ways, and begin to explore connections between fantasy and reality.
workshop 2 Responding to the Arts
Learner Team members and students compare two multi-arts performance pieces from different eras, Quidam (1996) and Parade (1917). They discover how our perception of a work of art is influenced by what we know about the time and place it was created. They also explore how music can establish a mood, create their own vaudeville acts, and learn a process of critical evaluation.
workshop 3 Historical References in the Arts
Learner Team members and students examine costume designs for Parade, focusing on how the designs help convey character. They interpret works by painter René Magritte and choreographer Alwin Nikolais, discovering influences on the creators of Quidam. They also conduct research into the history of street performance and report their findings, in the role of art historian.
workshop 4 Creating a Multi-Arts Performance Piece
Learner Team members and students examine the elements of the classic journey as identified by Joseph Campbell. They then create a multi-arts performance piece that represents a journey story. They apply what they have learned in previous lessons in order to rehearse, critique, revise, and perform their work.
workshop 5 Designing a Multi-Arts Curriculum Unit
Learner Team members are introduced to a curriculum design process that asks teachers and students to focus on why rather than what — sometimes called backwards design. The teams begin to construct their own arts-based units of study, identifying enduring ideas and constructing essential questions that lead to carefully planned unit objectives and performance tasks.
workshop 6 The Role of Assessment in Curriculum Design
As the Learner Teams continue working on their own units, they examine strategies for determining how well students meet unit objectives. By revisiting the lessons in the first four programs, they discover how to build formative and summative assessments into the units that they are developing.
workshop 7 Three Schools, Three Approaches
Documentary segments filmed during the next school year show the Learner Teams planning and teaching arts-based lessons that grew out of work in the first six programs. Discussions at the end of the school year, facilitated by one of the workshop leaders, give the Learner Team members a chance to reflect on some of the developments in their teaching practice.
workshop 8 Building on New Ideas
More documentary segments show further work by the team members with their students, among themselves, and with colleagues. The end-of-year discussions continue, with team members reflecting on how their new initiatives in the arts have affected them and their schools, and offering advice for other teachers who want to bring the arts into their own classrooms.