The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers
Watch the Program
While you watch, consider these focus questions:
Lesson 1: Outlining the Story
- How is outlining a multi-arts performance piece similar to or different from outlining a literary piece?
- How does understanding the journey structure facilitate the story-writing process?
Lesson 2: Developing Ideas
- How does setting structural guidelines assist students in the creative process?
- How can the characters and plot of one story inform the development of a new story or a story extension?
Lesson 3: Rehearsing and Refining
- How do the outcomes of active rehearsal differ from those expected or experienced in classroom discussion?
- What are the similarities and differences between a visual symbol used in a performance piece and a literary symbol used metaphorically in a written work?
Lesson 4: Performing and Reflecting
- How do students’ reflections on a performance piece affect their understanding of the creative process?
- How can you meaningfully facilitate reflection and refinement of student work?
Activities and Discussions
Storyboarding (40 minutes)
In this activity, you will begin the collaborative process of developing a multi-arts performance piece based on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
Facilitator: Organize participants into groups of five or six.
In each group: Think about how you would dramatize Where the Wild Things Are,which follows Max’s journey into a fantasy world.
Identify the classic journey structure (the call, the challenge, the transformation, and the return) in Where the Wild Things Are. Use the following questions to drive your brainstorming:
- What do you think is going on in Max’s mind during each part of the story?
- What is he thinking?
- What is he feeling?
- How might you show this in your story?
Construct a storyboard with six to eight cells total, illustrating what Max is thinking and feeling during the four parts of his journey. Indicate the role each of the art forms might play in telling the story.
With the whole group: Share and discuss the storyboard outlines with the entire group, using the following questions:
- How effectively does the storyboard encompass each part of the journey?
- Where is each of the art forms employed?
Reflection (10 minutes)
Facilitator: Use the following question to focus a closing discussion:
- How does refining and replaying contribute to student understanding of an arts production process?
Supplementary: Creating a Multi-Arts Performance Piece — Complete Lesson Plans
Lesson plans, handouts, and readings needed to teach the lessons from this program in your classroom.
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.