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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers

Watch the Program

(60 minutes)

While watching, consider these focus questions:

  • Where do your curriculum topics originate?
  • Once you select a topic, what design process do you follow?
  • What is the value of considering the “why” as well as the “what” of instruction?
  • What are essential questions and how can they help clarify unit objectives?

Activities and Discussions

(35 minutes)

Beginning the Curriculum Design Process (30 minutes)
Distribute the handouts Indicators of Enduring Ideas/Understandings and Essential Questions (PDF) and Enduring Ideas/Understandings Worksheet (PDF). Divide participants into four groups. Assign each of the groups one of the following topics:

  • Arts and History
  • Arts and Literature
  • Arts and Math
  • Arts and Science

Each group will begin the curriculum design process for a lesson that integrates the arts by constructing an enduring idea/understanding for their topic. Begin by brainstorming and mapping a web of concepts that supports your assigned topic. From the concepts, construct a list of generalizations — general statements developed by connecting concepts together.

Using the generalizations, craft the enduring idea/understanding for the unit. Refer to the handout Indicators of Enduring Ideas/Understandings and Essential Questions(PDF), for criteria.

Then, using the same handout, construct the essential questions. These should support and address the unit concepts you have identified.

Finally, use the essential questions to define your unit goals and objectives.

Reflection (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to focus a closing discussion:

  • What affected your ability to work collaboratively?
  • How has this process encouraged you to explore the “why” in your teaching?

Save your written work and notes and bring them to the next workshop session to discuss these topics further.