Wachusett Regional School District
Wachusett Mountain

District Frameworks - The Arts

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STRAND TWO

Thinking and Responding


As students create, perform, and respond to works of art, they develop thinking skills. Imaginative, reflective, analytical, and critical thinking unite the practice of creating with the process of inquiry. The preschool children who tell a story about a mass of lines and shapes created with chalk reflects on their experience in exploring materials. When first graders shake a tambourine and a gourd rattle, they find the instruments make different sounds, a discovery they can apply imaginatively as they improvise music with their teacher. As sixth graders compare examples of classic Mayan and twentieth century European sculpture, they look for distinguishing characteristics that will enable them to generalize about the concept of style in visual art. When high school students design a production of Antigone, they weigh the possibilities of how an audience will respond to a production in Greek costumes and masks compared with a production in contemporary dress.

Imaginative and reflective thinking is often inspired by playful experimentation with materials, processes, and ideas. As students create, interpret, adapt, and perform artistic works, they use reflective and analytical thinking to plan, make choices, and assess work. Each alteration in a painting, poem or improvisation, each rehearsal of a choral or orchestral work, stimulates the need to reconsider the work as an aesthetic whole, to imagine afresh what it might become, and to make further revision, or "fine tunings."

Comprehensive and sequential Arts programs introduce students to a variety of artists' and performers' work chosen to be appropriate to students' developmental levels. As they respond to these works, learners develop analytical and critical thinking skills. These skills enable learners to go beyond simple likes and dislikes and to make judgments based upon their knowledge of the elements, principles, processes, and techniques of each discipline.

Learning in the Arts through Thinking and Responding is represented by two Learning Standards:

  • Learning Standard 3:  Lifelong learners use imaginative and reflective thinking during all phases of creating and performing.
  • Learning Standard 4:  Lifelong learners use analytical and critical thinking as they respond to works of Art.

LEARNING STANDARD THREE

Students will use imaginative and reflective thinking during all phases of creating and performing.

As students perform and create, they make use of imagination (the ability to form mental images) and reflection (the ability to synthesize ideas). They demonstrate imagination and reflection by their approach to artistic work and can communicate awareness of these thinking processes orally and in writing. Essential questions they explore are:

  • Where do artistic ideas come from? 
  • How do artists use imagination to create and revise their work? 
  • How can I communicate my experiences as a creator and performer? 

K - 4 Standards

  • In dance, music, theater, and visual arts, use imagination to create a work and explain choices made at several points in the process. 
  • In dance, music, theater, and visual arts, devise multiple solutions to an artistic task. 

Grades 5 - 8 Standards

Students will continue the K - 4 Standards and:

  • In at least three of the Arts - dance, music, theater, and visual arts, demonstrate the ability to develop an artistic idea from imagination into a finished form and explain how the finished work relates to the original concept. 
  • In the performing Arts - dance, music, and theater - create or perform two or more interpretations, variations, adaptations, or arrangements of existing works, and explain how the versions differ. 

Grades 9 - 12 Standards

Students will continue the K - 8 Standards and:

  • In at least one of the Arts - dance, music, theater, or visual arts - use prior knowledge or imagination to extend an idea into a novel variation or interpretation. 
  • Describe how familiarity with imaginative works in at leas one of the Arts - dance, music, theater, and visual arts - has influenced one's own artistic development and interests. 
  • In at least one of the Arts - dance, music, theater, or visual arts - perform or create original work, explaining personally successful approaches to working methods, composition, rehearsal, or performance. 
  • In at least one of the Arts - dance, music, theater, or visual arts - perform or create works using recurring themes, symbols or metaphors, and explain their significance. 

LEARNING STANDARD FOUR

Lifelong learners use analytical and critical thinking to respond to works of the Arts.

Using insights from the practice of creating, learners develop standards of aesthetic quality and apply these standards to their own work and the work of others. Throughout their education, learners develop a vocabulary for describing, analyzing, and evaluating works of the Arts so that they can clearly communicate their opinions and responses orally and in writing. As students learn about the tradition of critique in the Arts they explore Essential Questions such as these:

  • How can we make judgments about quality in creative work? 
  • How does analytical and critical thinking affect rehearsal and revision? 
  • Why do opinions about works of art change over time? 

K - 4 Standards

  • Demonstrate the ability to follow a sequential process of creating, rehearsing, and presenting works of dance, music, theater, and visual arts and communicate that process to others. 
  • Express and justify opinions about works of dance, music, theater, and visual arts, using age-appropriate vocabulary to describe elements of the works, as well as materials, instruments, techniques and processes involved. 

Grades 5 - 8 Standards

Students will continue the K - 4 Standards and:

  • For at least three of the Arts - dance, music, theater, and visual arts - develop criteria for evaluating classroom projects and performances, and use those criteria as a basis for group and self-assessment. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to use basic concepts and terminology to describe and analyze works of dance, music, theater and visual arts. 

Grades 9 - 12 Standards

Students will continue the K - 8 Standards and:

  • Apply appropriate Arts concepts and terminology to the description, analysis, comparison, and evaluation of existing works in all four Arts disciplines - dance, music, theater, and visual arts. 
  • Apply appropriate Arts concepts and terminology to the description, analysis, and evaluation of one's own and peers' work in progress in at least one of the Arts - dance, music theater or visual arts. 
  • Make and express judgments about works of at least one of the Arts - dance, music, theater, or visual arts - substantiating opinion with analysis based on basic concepts and terminology, and references to personal experiences in creating or performing. 
  • In at least one of the Arts - dance, music, theater or visual arts - draw conclusions about an individual artist's ideas and working methods from examining or listening to several examples of his or her work, and/or reading, listening to, or watching interviews with the artist. 

Strong Arts programs evolve from sequentially designed experiences in thinking and responding that are thoughtfully integrated with the standards described under the Strands of Creating and Performing, and Connecting and Contributing.