The Arts In Every Classroom: A Workshop for Elementary School Teachers
Watch the Program
As you watch the program, consider these focus questions:
- What does it mean to ask students to reflect on their learning?
- How does a performance task influence a student performance?
- How does a rubric serve as a valid and reliable assessment tool?
Activities and Discussions
Writing and Evaluating Performance Tasks (40 minutes)
Facilitator: Distribute the handout Performance Tasks Worksheet (with sample) (PDF).
Reassemble in the four groups established in Program 5. Each group will write a performance task that would enable students to demonstrate their grasp of the enduring idea/understanding and essential questions previously crafted for a lesson integrating the arts. Use the handout Performance Tasks Worksheet (with sample) as a guide in writing the performance task.
As you work, consider these questions:
- How will you refer to this task when giving instructions? What will the title be?
- What knowledge and skills will be assessed through this task? How will this task enable students to show what they know and can do?
- What is the purpose of this assessment tool? Will you use this evaluation to monitor students’ progress and inform further instruction, or will you measure the students’ completed process or product?
- What is the goal of the task? How will this task help to confirm students’ achievement of the unit objectives?
Decide on the following:
- the situation in which the task will take place,
- what students must do to complete the task,
- the intended audience, and
- the product or process that will result.
As a group, write a scenario for the performance task that takes into account these key elements:
- Goal: Why are you asking students to do this?
- Role: Whom will students portray as they develop the scenario?
- Audience: For whom is the process or product intended?
- Situation: What will students do to accomplish the goal?
- Performance or product: How will students demonstrate their understanding?
Facilitator: Distribute the Evaluating Performance Tasks Worksheet (with sample) (PDF) handout.
Using this handout to organize your thoughts, analyze your performance task to ensure that task criteria are clearly aligned with lesson objectives. Edit your completed scenario if necessary.
Facilitator: Distribute the Performance Tasks Rubric Worksheet (with sample) (PDF) handout.
Based on the performance task scenario you have written, design an assessment rubric that would enable you to effectively score students’ performance. Use the Performance Tasks Rubric Worksheet (with sample) as a guide.
Reflection (10 minutes)
Facilitator: Use the following questions to focus a closing discussion:
- What benefits do you see in the “backward planning” approach to writing curriculum?
- Based on these insights, how might you use assessment differently in your classroom?
This process for designing performance tasks is adapted from Wiggins’ and McTighe’s Understanding by Design.
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.