The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers
Watch the Program
While you watch, consider these focus questions:
Lesson 1: Researching Clues
- Based on the written description of Parade, what kinds of images come to mind? Think in terms of dance, music, theatre, and visual art.
- What are the advantages of group research, and how can students be prepared for success in this model?
Lesson 2: Musical Cues
- What is “program music,” and how does the music in Quidam express mood?
- How have key vocabulary words been integrated into this lesson?
Lesson 3: Vaudeville
- What are the important elements in the vaudeville theatrical style, and where do you see influences of this style in Quidam?
- How do the students mix elements of reality and fantasy to create their vaudeville performances?
Lesson 4: Critic School
- What are the essential elements of criticism? How is criticism useful in understanding works of art?
- How does this performance task serve to assess student understandings in dance, music, theatre, and visual art?
Activities and Discussions
Writing Criticism (30 minutes)
Facilitator: Distribute and discuss the Criticism: Purposes and Process (PDF) handout.
View (or recall) the three-minute opening sequence of Quidam, with the purpose of writing a critique of this segment.
Divide into three groups for these activities:
- Group 1 will write a description of the opening sequence without interpretation or judgment.
- Group 2 will write an analysis of how artistic elements were employed and to what effect.
- Group 3 will write an evaluation of the opening sequence with supporting evidence for group members’ opinions.
Share the findings with all participants. Discuss points of disagreement and consider why people have different opinions.
Reflection (10 minutes)
Use the following questions to focus a closing discussion:
- Identify the progression of Bloom’s Taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation. In what ways are students challenged to synthesize and evaluate through the four lessons you saw?
- How has your understanding of “multi-arts” and “criticism” changed?
- In what ways will an expanded understanding of the criticism process lead your students to higher levels of thinking?
- How do you envision collaboration with your colleagues as you begin to think about integrating the arts into your curriculum?
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.