The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers
Watch the Program
As you watch the program, consider these focus questions:
- How did the three Learner Teams apply what they had learned about the arts?
- How did team members collaborate with each other?
- What problems did they encounter? How did they overcome these challenges? What successes did they achieve?
Activities and Discussion
Analyzing the Effect of the Arts (25 minutes)
Facilitator: Divide participants into three groups, one for each Learner Team school. Distribute to each participant in a group the profile for that group’s school: Ridgeway Elementary School (PDF), Drew Model School (PDF), or Kingsbury Elementary School(PDF).
In your group, examine the profile of your designated Learner Team school. Think about the role of the arts in that school before the summer workshop and what changes occurred after the workshop. Identify similarities with your own school and discuss how some of the strategies employed by Learner Team members might help broaden the role of the arts in your school. Consider these questions:
- What parallels do you see between the Learner Team school and your school?
- How would you build on what the Learner Team did?
Exploring the Role of the Arts in Your School (20 minutes)
Facilitator: Lead a discussion on the role of the arts in your school.
Divide into small groups and discuss these questions:
- How do knowledge about the arts and hands-on making of art interact to enhance student understandings?
- How can your planning and instruction focus more on the why and how of the arts, rather than the what?
- What are some challenges to broadening the use of the arts in your classroom?
- How can the role of arts specialists be expanded or changed to enable increased professional collaboration?
- How might you collaborate with your colleagues to evaluate and reflect on your own teaching practice?
- How would such collaborative professional reflection benefit student learning?
Share your findings with the group or keep a journal of your own ideas.
Reflection (5 minutes)
Facilitator: Use the following questions to focus a closing discussion:
- Before viewing The Arts in Every Classroom programs and participating in this workshop series, what did you think about arts education?
- What do you think about arts education now?
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.