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Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 8

Length: 60 min.

Grade Levels:
Professional Development

The Arts

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Arts in Every Classroom, The: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers

This video workshop provides new ideas about working with the arts for K-5 classroom and arts specialist teachers. The eight one-hour video programs show workshop leaders from the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts working with Learner Teams — teachers, principals and arts specialists — from three elementary schools. The Learner Teams work through a curriculum unit based on a multi-arts performance piece by Cirque du Soleil. Classroom segments show school children engaged in the same lessons. Learner Team members then begin to design their own arts-based units, and return to their schools to put into practice what they learned. Web and print materials provide context and activities for using the videos in workshop sessions. Audio and video demonstration materials needed to teach the classroom lessons in Programs 1–4 can be found on the Classroom Demonstration Materials videotape, which is provided free to buyers of the set of workshop videotapes.

Episode Guide

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 a surrealistic performance piece that combines the four art forms in unusual ways, and begin to explore connections between fantasy and reality.

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.

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 Historical References in the Arts — Learner Team members and students examine costume designs for Parade, focusing on how the designs help convey character.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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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