A Word about the Planning Process

     Key to the process is that classroom teachers and arts educators are able to meet and
 jointly discuss what they are hoping for students to ìknowî, i.e., have enduring
 understanding of, as a result of the lesson or unit. The ìbig pictureî needs to be kept at
 the forefront. Essential questions drive each activity that may be planned.

     Another consideration in planning lessons is to know what standards we wish students to
 attain. The activities in which children engage will address particular standards. Arts, as
 well as academic benchmarks, drive plans, and are of equal import.


      Arts based learning presents educators with various means of assessing studentsí
 understanding and progress. Lessons provide opportunities for both informal and formal
 assessment. Some lessons are designed as pre-reading lessons. Others are designed to
 be vehicles to lead the student toward understanding. Some activities may provide
 students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding through performance.

    For example, a childís musical representation of an adjective describing a character
trait in a piece of literature could provide an opportunity for expression ofunderstanding.
Likewise, a presentation on cloud formations could be demonstrated physically through planned
movement. Students could demonstrate with their bodies whether a cumulus cloud is puffy or
layered and verbally explain why they chose to represent the cloud as they did.

      Writing offers another opportunity for students to demonstrate growth. After
 participating in integrated arts experiences, use of rich vocabulary and studentís ìvoiceî
 (see NES writing rubrics) are evident. Another example of showing understanding through
writing might be that students put on paper the steps they take in solving math problems
through creating a dance.

       In developing lessons, a rubric is helpful in clarifying specific desired outcomes. Rubrics
may be comprised of academic, arts and social understandings. Ideally, both classroom and arts
teachers, and sometimes students, collaborate in formulating rubrics and in assessment.

      The integrated arts process allows for multiple avenues (performance, verbal and written)
of studentsí expression of their understanding. This approach recognizes the whole person.

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