to the process is that classroom teachers and arts educators are able to
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.
consideration in planning lessons is to know what standards we wish students
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
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.
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.
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
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
of studentsí expression of their understanding. This approach recognizes the whole person.
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