The Arts – 2014
(Posted on CDE: Drama, Dance, Visual Arts, and Music)
Visual Arts, Dance, Music, and Drama courses are unique. This uniqueness is their strength. The arts sensitize us to ourselves and our environment. The arts make us more whole, more sensitive and aware individuals. In addition, arts programs have been shown to drastically reduce high school dropout levels. (Kelly, 2008 & 2012).
There are many ways in which literacy and math can be authentically incorporated into arts courses to benefit student growth. In order for writing and math to be most effective, they should be connected directly to the subject matter and occur at logical times in a lesson – for instance, writing can occur as a response to a recent performance, artist statements, or preparation for a new project; math is often incorporated naturally into photography, set design, rhythmic concepts, etc. Written homework assignments on the lives of dancers, artists, actors, composers, the meaning of the arts, or comparing and contrasting two artistic works/elements are also appropriate.
Since the rubric is intended to support teacher and student growth, care should be taken in arts classes to avoid inauthentic student writing or math. Specific examples of inauthentic practices include: writing or math which breaks the flow of the class, writing on music stands or stage floors, writing on non-content-specific subjects, or writing/math which is required at specific times for the benefit of teacher assessment rather than the growth of students in each content area.
There are many ways in which technology can be useful and authentic in arts classes. Interactive smart boards can be a positive use of technology. YouTube, iPads, and other methods of sharing audio and video are appropriate uses of technology. As with literacy, care should be taken to avoid inauthentic uses of technology in arts courses.
Since literacy, math, and technology are not the primary foci of arts courses, supervisors should not expect to observe literacy, math, or technology every time they visit an arts classroom. Educators should be expected to call attention to literacy, math, and technological elements when they occur naturally within the Arts.
Effective Arts educators are able to retain the fundamental beauty of the artistic experience for their students, while incorporating literacy and math in authentic and meaningful ways.
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