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Archived Information

Arts Curriculum Framework:
The Practice Of Creating

Creating and Performing Strand

Learning Standard 2

Students will acquire and apply the essential skills and literacy unique to each art form.

In this strand, some Essential Questions are:

  • What are the fundamental skills, knowledge, and techniques unique to each of the four arts disciplines?
  • How can these skills, knowledge, and techniques be demonstrated effectively?
  • What are the elements of learning common to all the arts?
  • How does the practice of creating affect the process of responding to the arts?

PreK-4 Learning Standard: Students acquire basic skills and literacy in all four arts disciplines.

PreK-4 Dance Standards

  1. Demonstrate the ability to work in a group to learn and perform sequences of movement.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to make patterns in space both individually and as a memeber of a group.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to maintain individual space when working in a group.
  4. Identify body parts, stretch and strengthen muscles, develop flexibility and coordination in a variety of ways.
  5. Identify, demonstrate and use dance and movement vocabulary such as hopping, skipping, sliding, running and leaping, bending and twisting expressively and selectively.
  6. Identify fast and slow tempo and rhythm in music, sound, and speech, and create movement with the same qualities.
  7. Learn, rehearse, and demonstrate dances from various world cultures and historical periods.
  8. Demonstrate audience skills of listening, observing, and responding with respect for the performers and behavior appropriate style of the performance.

PreK- 4 Music Standards

Please see note on selecting music (before beginning of 2nd Learning Standard)

  1. Sing accurately and in tune alone and with others.
  2. Play classroom and ensemble instruments with proper technique alone and with others.
  3. Present formal and informal performances.
  4. Read, write, and reproduce simple invented notation and staff notation in treble and bass clefs.
  5. Use a consistent system of syllables, numbers, or letters to read and reproduce melodic and rhythmic notation.
  6. Improvise and compose simple pentatonic patterns.
  7. Show basic understanding of sound producation on acoustic and electronic instrucments, including synthesizer and computer.
  8. Interpret music through movement.
  9. Demonstrate audience skills of listening attentively and responding appropriately in classroom, rehearsal and performance settings.

PreK-4 Theater Standards

  1. Demonstrate the ability to create characters, using imagination,concentration, movement, and voice, and perform in classroom dramatizations. (Acting)
  2. Use formal and informal role-playing, storytelling, and playmaking. (Playmaking)
  3. Make choices about characters, action, and use of space; plan, rehearse, and present dramatizations and informal performances. (Directing and management)
  4. Create a sense of time and place using basic design elements; use sets, costumes, props, and lighting to transform actors and space into dramatic characters and settings in the classroom. (Design and technical elements)
  5. Demonstrate audience skills of listening, observing, and responding with respect for the performers and behavior appropriate style of the performance.

PreK- 4 Visual Arts Standards

  1. Demonstrate the ability to draw upon imagination and memory to tell stories visually and compose images.
  2. Use observational skills in order to represent the shapes, patterns, colors, and textures of people, animals, objects, and the visual environment, such as landscape, in two- and three-dimensional media.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of two-dimensional processes such as drawing, paintion, printmaking, flat collage and weaving; and ot three-dimensional processes such as modeling in clay, carving and construction by using these processes to create works.
  4. Identify primary and secondary colors; predict and demonstrate the effects of blending or overlapping primary colors; deomonstrate knowledge of making dark to light values of colors. Identify and use basic two-dimensional hollow and solid geometric shapes (circle, triangle, square, rectangle) and three-dimensional forms (sphere, pyramid, cube).
  5. Create and exhibit artworks individually and as members of a group.
  6. Demonstrate viewer skills of observing, discussing, and respecting artists' work exhibited in the classroom, school, and public places.

As students progress in the PreK-12 music program, they should be exposed to compositions of increasing levels of difficulty. Music educators in each school district should select appropriate music for their students. The National Standards for Arts

Education offer the following guidelines for levels of difficulty:

Level 1-Very Easy. Easy keys, meters, and rhythms, limited ranges.

Level 2-Easy. May include changes of tempo, key and meter; modest ranges

Level 3-Moderately easy. Contains moderate technical demands, expanded ranges, and varied interpretive requirements.

Level 4-Moderately difficult. Requires well-developed technical skills, attention to phrasing and interpretation, and ability to person various meters and rhythms, in a variety of keys.

Level 5-Difficult. Requires advanced technical and interpretive skills; contains key signatures with numerous sharps or flat, unusual meters, complex rhythms, subtle dynamic requirements.

Level 6-Very difficult. Suitable for musically mature students of exceptional competence.

National Standards for Arts Education, 78-79, adapted with permission from NYSSMA Manual, Edition XXIII, published by the New York State School Music Association, 1991.

How It Looks in the Classroom:

PreK-Grade 4

What are the fundamental skills, knowledge, and techniques unique to each of the four arts disciplines? Preschoolers listen to the music teacher sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," echo her singing and move their bodies and hands to follow the direction of the melody. By third grade, students will be able to sight-read "Twinkle, Twinkle" and other music written in standard notation, associating sound with symbols.

To help reinforce and strengthen sequencing skills needed to learn to dance and to read, the dance teacher designs warm-up exercise sequences in which Kindergarten students touch their heads, shoulders, knees, and toes in response to rhythmic music.

Visual artists know that they can achieve different effects using wet and dry media and techniques. First graders acquire that knowledge as they use tempera paint and observe how colors blend, then use crayons to make a variety of color and shading gradations. They apply their knowledge of media and techniques in illustrations of themselves playing their favorite games with friends.

What makes a play different from a story? Second graders read, listen to, and discuss variants of a folktale such as The Three Little Pigs. Their teacher introduces the distinction between storytelling and making a play, and students create and perform a dramatization of the story.

How does the practice of creating affect the process of responding to the arts? Because they believe in the value of live performances and want to connect the school's enrichment program with the curriculum, parents sponsor a school performance/demonstration by a woodwind quartet for third graders learning to play the recorder. Third grade teachers, the music teacher and parents meet with the performers before the concert to discuss the program and plan how the school faculty will prepare students to enjoy and understand the performance. As a result, the performers can tailor their repertoire to the needs of the school, the class can listen to specific recordings, research woodwind instruments, discuss the kind of behavior performers appreciate from an audience, and make a list of questions to ask the musicians.

World Languages and the arts share a common focus on making cultural connections. Knowing this, fourth grade teachers structure an interdisciplinary unit in which students learn circle dances and songs from around the world and teach them to family members at a school open house.

Fourth graders listen to a story with no conclusion and working in small groups decide upon an appropriate ending. They develop interpretations of characters; choose props, costumes and simple lighting; and organize, rehearse, and present informal dramatizations. As a culmination of the project, the teacher and class discuss the similarities and differences of each group's final scene and dramatic resolution.

Learning Standard 2

Students will acquire and apply the essential skills and literacy unique to each art form.

Grades 5-8 Learning Standard: Students continue the PreK- 4 Standards and apply their learning in at least three disciplines balanced between the visual and performing arts.

Grades 5-8 Dance Standards

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

  1. Demonstrate strength and stamina through exercises and activities.
  2. Demonstrate and describe how muscles work in a variety of movements.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to use the body and groups to form shapes and lines.
  4. Identify and respond with movement to changes in tempo, rhythm, and quality of sound.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the different stylistic characteristics of folk, jazz, classical and modern, historical and contemporary dance.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to perform in at least two dance styles (such as folk, jazz, classical, or modern) as a member of a group.
  7. Choreograph and perform original interpretations of ideas and experiences.
  8. Demonstrate audience skills in observing dance performances and participating with behavior appropriate to the style of the performance.

Grades 5-8 Music Standards

Please see note on selecting music (before beginning of 2nd Learning Standard)

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

  1. Sing with expression, expanded range, in harmony, and using clear enunciation in English and other world languages.
  2. Perform expressively and accurately on classroom, electronic, and/or ensemble instruments alone and with others.
  3. Demonstrate consistent rehearsal and performance protocols.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to read, write, and reproduce basic melodies and rhythms in treble and bass clefs.
  5. Use a consistent system of syllables, numbers, or letters to read music.
  6. Improvise and compose more complex melodic and rhythmic phrases.
  7. Interpret more complex music through movement.
  8. Show understanding of the mechanics of sound production by the voice, as well as traditional and ethnic instruments.
  9. Show awareness of the use of computers and synthesizers in creating and performing music.
  10. Listen to formal and informal performances with attention, showing understanding of the protocols of audience behavior appropriate to the style of the performance.

Grades 5-8 Theatre Standards

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

  1. Demonstrate acting skills and create characters drawn from observation and improvisation; interpret characters in scripts; analyze descriptions and dialogue to justify character motivation. (Acting)
  2. Write and refine characters, dialogue, and action individually and in groups. (Playmaking)
  3. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively to explore the meaning of texts, make artistic choices, and prepare and present dramatizations and performances. (Directing and management)
  4. Analyze and manipulate visual and aural qualities to create theatrical environments. (Design and technical elements)
  5. Demonstrate understanding of how an audience collaborates with performers by responding with feeling and enthusiasm appropriate to the performance.

Grades 5-8 Visual Arts Standards

Continue the PreK-4 Standards and:

  1. Apply imagination to creating works that are original interpretations of narratives, fantasies, scenes, or objects from everyday life.
  2. Refine observational skills and create two- and three-dimensional works that represent form, color, texture and proportion of objects, people and places.
  3. Select and use art materials, tools, and processes, including computer technology, to create specific effects.
  4. Create compositions that reflect knowledge of the elements and principles of art, i.e., line, color, form, texture; balance, repetition, rhythm, scale, and proportion.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply elements and principles of art to graphic, textile, product, and architectural design.
  6. Use art materials, tools and equipment appropriately and safely.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to present exhibitions of artwork and demonstrations of art processes.
  8. Demonstrate understanding of appropriate behavior at exhibitions in schools, museums, and cultural institutions.

How It Looks in the Classroom:

Grades 5-8

How can the skills, knowledge and techniques unique to each arts discipline be demonstrated? When students have a foundation in the arts, they can apply their skills in other classes. In English Language Arts, sixth graders read a series of myths and work in groups to create original scripts that dramatize a mythic question such as "why snow falls." They exchange scripts, and work in groups to design and present a production. They discuss characterizations, assign parts, make a drawing or model of the set, and select fabric swatches to represent characters' costumes. After they present their dramatization, the groups compare their interpretations and justify artistic choices.

What are elements of learning common to all the arts? Seventh graders explore form, pattern, texture, scale, and repetition in movement, and discuss how these elements apply to music, theatre, and visual arts as well. They create and perform dance sequences that reflect their understanding of using the abstract qualities of movement. They apply this knowledge as they create and perform expressive interpretations of topics such as growing up, or moving to a new country.

Members of a middle school chorus prepare a concert of popular songs in the languages of cultures represented in their school. In rehearsals, students focus on blending the separate harmony parts into a balanced whole with expressive phrasing and intonation.

At a family night, seventh graders teach their parents new uses for home videos. They make self-portraits by using video cameras, computers and graphics software. By saving and printing their self-portrait file at four stages of the design process, they preserve a record of the process of transformation from the original to the final manipulated image.

Learning Standard 2

Students will acquire and apply the essential skills and literacy unique to each art form.

Grades 9-10 Learning Standard: Students continue the PreK-8 Standards and apply their experience to extended projects in at least one arts discipline.

Grades 9-10 Dance Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of concepts of balance, and muscular and skeletal alignment.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to use steps involving balance and proper alignment to move in a variety of patterns, such as in a circle, or diagonally, across the floor.
  3. Interpret complex ideas through movement. Explain how dance embodies abstract concepts and communicates through imagery. Rehearse and perform a dance so as to emphasize its imagery and concepts.
  4. Perform dance sequences alone, with a partner and in ensembles.
  5. Choreograph and perform short dances, explaining the rationale for style and approach.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to practice appropriate audience behavior at a variety of dance concerts, demonstrations, and performances.

Grades 9-10 Music Standards

Please see note on selecting music (before beginning of 2nd Learning Standard)

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

  1. Sing, and perform on at least one instrument alone and in ensembles, demonstrating an ability to perform more advanced vocal or instrumental works with accuracy and expression while following a conductor's cues.
  2. Rehearse alone and in groups outside of class.
  3. Interpret more advanced music written in treble and bass clefs, reading one's own part from a multi-part score.
  4. Create improvisations, arrangements, and compositions in major and minor keys for traditional and non-traditional instruments.
  5. Use technology such as computers and synthesizers for composing and performing.
  6. Listen to performances of extended length and complexity with proper attention and audience protocol.

Grades 9-10 Theatre Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

  1. Create sustained and consistent characters who communicate meaning clearly to an audience. (Acting)
  2. Create dramatizations and plays that communicate meaning clearly to an audience. (Playmaking)
  3. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively to explore the meaning of texts, make artistic choices, and prepare and present dramatizations and performances. Schedule, rehearse, and publicize productions, taking into account business and financial considerations. (Directing and management)
  4. Conceptualize and develop designs using visual and aural elements to support texts and performances. Use skills safely and responsibly to create functional scenery, costumes, makeup, and lighting. (Design and technical elements)
  5. Demonstrate the ability as audience members to give constructive critiques of rehearsals and performances.

Grades 9-10 Visual Arts Standards

Continue the PreK-8 Standards and:

  1. Apply imagination by creating works that interpret social issues.
  2. Apply observational skills to the representation of physical structures, surface details, and spatial relationships in unified compositions.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to create multiple solutions to an artistic problem by interpreting one subject matter in at least two media, or at least two different styles.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to apply visual arts knowledge to problems in graphic, industrial, crafts, textile, architectural, or landscape design; and to multimedia, television, film or video production.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the use of symbolism in visual art by creating a self-portrait that incorporates symbols of personal experiences.
  6. Distinguish the characteristics of toxic and non-toxic art materials, including wet and dry media, glazes, solvents, and glues. Make choices of materials based on health considerations.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate behavior as a viewer of traditional exhibitions and as a participant in interactive installations, performance art, or art demonstrations.

How It Looks in the Classroom:

Grades 9-10

The study of dance and health combine to increase students' understanding of anatomy and the concept of resilience. Dance students develop awareness of muscular alignment. Lying on the floor and guided by the teacher, the students find the proper placement of spine, pelvis, and shoulders. When the students stand up to practice other exercises, the teacher asks them to duplicate the osture and alignment they experienced lying down. The students pair up as partners and become each other's mirrors. They watch each other's body placement as they perform exercises requiring progressively difficult and delicate balance.

Partners assess and evaluate each others' ability to perform the exercises, giving feedback to help the other student achieve accurate body placement and balance.

How does the practice of creating affect the process of responding to the arts? Members of a high school band develop a repertoire of classical, jazz, popular, and contemporary works. Under the direction of their teacher/conductor and advanced musicians, players practice individually and in small instrumental groups, and rehearse as a large group. In rehearsals, the conductor elicits individual and group feedback about how to improve the level of accuracy and quality of expression.

Students are assessed on their ability to read and play music accurately and expressively, their ability to improve their playing through rehearsal and reflection, and their ability to play as a member of an ensemble.

The typical high school day is full of incidents that can be transformed into drama. Students in a theatre class create an improvisation based on such an incident that involves a relevant dramatic conflict. They write biographies of their individual characters and develop monologues for those characters. Students work in groups to revise and refine their portrayal of the interaction of characters. They write dialogue and stage directions in appropriate play form and give the play to another group to perform.

As they work, students keep a portfolio of their drafts and written reflections on the process of developing a character. With their teacher, the class decides that both peer and self-assessment are appropriate to this project, since another group will have to perform their finished script.

How do artists represent three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface? They learn about the principles of linear and aerial perspective developed by European Renaissance painters and apply them to observational drawings of buildings, interior architectural spaces and landscapes. Next, they investigate other ways of showing space, for instance in Asian paintings, aboriginal Australian paintings, young children's paintings, or Cubist paintings. Students create new interpretations of their original drawings, using one of these approaches.

For their final painting project, students select a style or approach that they wish to pursue, and create a work that exploits the possibilities of that style. As part of their assessment, students create and write text for an exhibition of their works, installing the exhibition in a school library, hallway display case, or other public space.

Learning Standard 2

Students will acquire and apply the essential skills and literacy unique to each art form.

Grades 11-12 Learning Standard: Students will continue the PreK - 10 Standards and apply their experience to advanced and self-directed projects in at least one arts discipline.

Grades 11-12 Dance Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of individual needs for strength and stamina by selecting appropriate exercises for a specific style or technique and by defining an individual program to increase endurance and range of movement.
  2. Select a specific style of dance (such as European classical, ballet, jazz, modern, post-modern, folk or classical dance from a world culture) as an area of performance concentration; learn and perform dances characteristic of that style alone (if appropriate to the style), with a partner, and/or in ensembles.
  3. Choreograph works for other dancers, using mythological, historical, or current events as a theme. Select music, design and construct costumes and sets based on the corresponding styles of music, clothing, visual arts, architecture, or literature of the period.
  4. Take an active role in creating, organizing, designing, rehearsing, and performing full-length public dance presentations.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of career or avocational opportunities in dance by researching, interviewing, writing about, or making an oral presentation on a person who is or has been a choreographer, performer, dance company manager, film, television or multimedia artist, dance educator, therapist, historian, or critic.

Grades 11-12 Music Standards

Please see note on selecting music (before beginning of 2nd Learning Standard)

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

  1. Perform a repertoire of solo, choral, and/or instrumental ensemble music drawn from a wide variety of genres and periods, showing sensitivity to nuance, balance, and expression.
  2. Develop and follow a consistent and self-directed practice and rehearsal schedule.
  3. Demonstrate a mature understanding of rehearsing for and performing in full length concerts, plays, and musicals.
  4. Interpret complex vocal and/or instrumental scores and be able to read, write, and accurately reproduce one's own part.
  5. Compose and notate multi-part scores.
  6. Perform extended improvised solos with technical proficiency and stylistic understanding.
  7. Demonstrate basic competency with electronic music technology.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of career or avocational opportunities in music by researching, interviewing, writing about, or making an oral presentation on a person who is or has been a composer, arranger, performer, conductor, musicologist, music business manager, technologist, film, television, or multimedia artist, music educator, therapist, historian, or critic.

Grades 11-12 Theatre Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

  1. Analyze physical, psychological and social dimensions of characters and create characters in a variety of genres and styles. (Acting)
  2. Create dramatizations in a variety of forms, genres, and styles. (Playmaking)
  3. Produce unified productions that communicate meaning to an audience. (Directing and Management)
  4. Collaborate with directors to conceptualize, develop and execute unified visual and sound designs. Apply technical knowledge safely and responsibly. (Design and technical elements)
  5. Define and carry out a personal theatre project, or take a leadership role in a group project.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of career or avocational opportunities in theatre by researching, interviewing, writing about, or making an oral presentation on a person who is or has been an actor, playwright, designer, director, technician, dramaturg, film, television, or multimedia artist, theatre educator, therapist, historian or critic.

Grades 11-12 Visual Arts Standards

Continue the PreK-10 Standards and:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, organize, and complete an individual or collaborative visual arts project.
  2. Create a series of works interpreting the same subject differently by emphasizing approaches such as the elements of design, media or processes.
  3. Create a series of works that demonstrate skill in manipulating the techniques of a particular medium, such as watercolor or clay, or process, such printmaking or multimedia design.
  4. Use observational skills to create unified compositions representing depth and volume.
  5. Control the expressive content of work by deliberate choice of materials, processes, styles and symbolism.
  6. Produce a portfolio of original work that culminates in a one-person exhibition.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of career or avocational opportunities in visual arts by researching, interviewing, writing about, or making an oral presentation on a person who is or has been a fine artist, illustrator, cartoonist, graphic, industrial, theatre, architectural or landscape designer, art historian or critic, museum curator, designer, or conservator, art educator, therapist, film, television, or multimedia artist.

How It Looks in the Classroom:

Grades 11-12

Dance students draw from research to create dances that reflect cultures or historical periods. For example, they recreate through choreography and production elements a dance or series of dances based on the original movement, costumes, props, history, and music of a Trinidad Carnival, a New Orleans Mardi Gras, a version of The Nutcracker, or a retrospective of jazz from its beginnings to the present.

How are the skills, knowledge and techniques of the arts demonstrated effectively? A twelfth grade trumpet player takes responsibility for organizing and conducting section rehearsals for less advanced players. In addition to performing in the school band as the leader of her section, she plays solos and original improvisations. For her independent project in music, she studies conducting, observes conductors in and outside of school, and works with her teacher to choose and conduct a music selection in a school band performance.

How does the process of creating affect the process of responding in the arts? Each time a play is performed, its script is reinterpreted by the actors, directors, and designers through their own experience. Theatre students read excerpts of at least two of American playwright August Wilson's plays chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th century (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, or Fences). They discuss how the characters grow and deal with social and personal conflict in the plays, and collaborate on the interpretation of the texts. As a class they make a decision which play to present to the school community and work together as actors, directors, stage managers, and designers of sets, costumes, lighting and sound in order to plan, rehearse and present a production.

For his visual art independent project, an eleventh grader proposes to create a series of sculptural ceramic containers inspired by pottery styles and techniques from around the world. He visits local museums and sketches European, Asian, Native American ceramics. His teacher and members of the local cultural council help him locate Massachusetts craftspeople to interview about their current work. As he works on his project, he keeps a journal to record how he uses ideas from historic and contemporary sources in his work. His one-man exhibition of the work in school displays finished works and pages from his sketchbook and journal.



Last Updated: January 1, 1996
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