Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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  Connecting With The Arts Home   A Teaching Practices Library, 6-8
  Watching the Video
  Connecting to your Teaching
  Addtional Resources
  About the School
  Q and A with Teachers
  Program at a Glance
  School: FAIR School
(Fine Arts Interdisciplinary
Resource School)
  Location: Crystal, MN
  Grade: 6

Visual Art Social Studies
Language Arts

  Description: Students develop
their own island cultures.

Creating a Culture — The Story Begins

students in dance class Program Summary
Sixth-graders develop their own cultures, complete with language, clothing, artwork, and rituals. Weeks of hard work culminate in a surprising twist.

This program is the first of two parts. For the conclusion see Analyzing a Culture – The Story Continues.

Preview the Program Student Work Gallery  
  The Integrated Instruction
Rick Wright Rick Wright, 6th-Grade Teacher
We are working on a unit that we call “Island Cultures.” We're trying to explore the concept of culture, what the different components are that go into establishing a culture. We start by studying Canadian, Native American, pre-Columbian, and American history. Then students devise a culture as they would like to see it, within the limitations of a tropical island.
Lisa Kindall Lisa Kindall, Theatre Teacher
The sixth-graders came to me with ideas of things that were important to their culture, and we worked on creating a ceremony or ritual to celebrate those things. The most important thing is to get the students engaged and excited and coming up with different ideas.
Melissa Brunkan Melissa Brunkan, Music Teacher
We looked at the elements of music as they relate to various cultures around the world. We explored the concept of modality – the students did a hands-on experiment with jars of water to find out what sounds good to them. What I want to show them is that music was created by someone.  They have to have some idea to base their culture’s music on – a mathematical concept, a scientific concept, or an aesthetic concept.
Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet, Visual Art Teacher
The students are looking at how artifacts are influenced by the elements of a culture – things like methods of finding food, political systems, beliefs about the unknown. But they have to take it a step further. I want them to think about things like, “Is this culture more free, and how would that make the art look more free? Is this culture more structured, more formal? How would that make the art look?” Those considerations have to influence the artistic decisions they make.

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