Information about this Web Site

Teacher Education Use
The Curriculum & Instruction: Arts Methods course is required for all student teachers in the Mulitple Subject (Elementary) Credential Program in the Department of Education at CSU, Chico. Arts Methods is one fourth of the total Curriculum & Instruction package. Science, Social Studies, and Math methods are also part of the entire six unit course block. The Arts Methods course addresses how to teach dance, drama, music, and visual art in the elementary classroom. Writing a thorough arts lesson plan that is aligned with state and national standards is one of the required assignments for the student teachers. Students begin with information from the Visual and Performing Arts Framework for California's K-12 Public Schools. Then specific grade level expectations are explored in the Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts in California Public Schools. Further comparisons and explanations of benchmarks follows with the National Standards for Arts Education.
This web site serves three main purposes in the Arts Methods course by providing:
-concrete examples for student teachers as they learn how to write a complete lesson plan

-instantly accessible data for student teachers to conduct peer reviews of lessons during an in-class session on lesson plan troubleshooting

-resources for lessons and ideas that have been field-tested by peers

The web site is used during class instruction to provide examples of connections between lesson objective and evaluation and for small group peer reviews of lessons that are subject-centered, lessons that connect the arts to one another, and lessons that connect the arts to other subjects in the curriculum.

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Lesson Plan Template
Click here for the Arts lesson plan template.


Database Construction
The database for the K-6 Arts Lesson Plans was constructed using FileMaker Pro and Tango. FileMaker Pro provides for the construction of the data "cards." Tango provides the interface between the CGI script and the web server. The instructor adds new cards to the database as lesson plans become available for uploading.

The fields in the database include the arts that the lesson addresses, which of the four state instructional components are featured, K-3 or 4-6 focus, and a brief description of the lesson which was taken directly from the actual lesson topic in the selected lesson plan.

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Criteria for Lesson Selection
All student teachers are invited to submit their arts lesson plans for possible inclusion on this web site. They must be willing to edit and revise their lesson plans, based upon the grading and written feedback provided by the instructor during the Arts Methods course. Currently approximately 20% of the student teachers choose to participate and that number has increased each semester as the web site is refined.

The instructor is looking for a well-constructed lesson that is addressing at least one of the four arts and one of the four state goals which are aligned with national standards. There must be direct correlation between the lesson objectives and how they are evaluated. (See the rubric for arts lessons below for more information.) If a student teacher submits a lesson, he or she provides the instructor with a copy of the lesson on a disk or already in html for uploading.

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Rubric for Arts Lessons
Click here for the Rubric for Arts Lessons. Further information on constructing and using rubrics in teaching can be found on this list of selected sites Information on Rubrics


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Citing Online Sources
The Department of Education at CSU, Chico uses APA, American Psycholgical Association, formatting for its graduate work. There are important points to consider when citing online sources such as date and the spcific URL. Use CSU, Chico's link to find out information regarding APA and MLA formatting for online and print sources.

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Professor's Suggestions
In the arts methods course, time is taken to review all the components that go into a complete arts lesson plan. Discussion and focus on the difference between a cute, fun activity and a fun lesson with substance is addressed. There is definitely a difference between an actual arts lesson and a lesson that just happens to be using arts materials! Anchoring the arts lessons with one or more of the arts and one or more of the four state goals (Artistic Perception, Creative Expression, Historical Cultural Context, and Aesthetic Valuing) is emphasized. A model lesson written in the lesson format by the instructor and done in class provides two levels of instruction. One is that the student teachers can "SEE, SAY, DO" the actual lesson content and experience how it unfolds. The other is the thinking that goes into the lesson sequencing and delivery can be discussed and pointed to as references as the lesson is presented. Student teachers are asked to constantly consider what their students are doing and what the instructor is doing at the same time during the arts lessons. Providing concrete examples of previous semester work and asking probing questions help student teachers see the process beyond the procedures needed to complete a product or performance.

After review of the lesson format, a model lesson, and online peer reviews at this web site, student teachers are assigned to write drafts of their arts lessons. On the day the drafts are due, the instructor goes through the lesson plan format reinforcing what was introduced in a previous session. Student teachers edit, revise, and question. Then peer reviews can also occur. Now student teachers have some things to revise and improve on the drafts.

As the instructor, I find it useful to constantly get information and feedback about the lesson plan process and student teachers' understanding. It is not uncommon for me to grab one of my marking pens and happily state, "Oprah goes into the crowd. Now tell me, what is your understanding of a lesson rationale?" (Or something along those lines.) Of course the students laugh, but they also answer, discuss, and debate what they are uncertain about or where more explanation is needed.

Not all student teachers or teachers become curriculum designers, but knowing how to develop a thorough arts lesson plan can help bring substance and quality to the learning for both the teacher and the students. That is why time is taken with the process of constructing and writing good arts lessons. Knowing the California Content Standards for Visual and Performing Arts and the National Standards for Arts Education allows student teachers to make informed choices in lesson construction, become aware of developmental sequences in arts instruction, and align the arts content with state and national expectations.

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Reflections on Use
Since this website has been developed, student teachers have been able to view, review, and actually field-test a wider range of peer-developed arts lessons in a shorter amount of time. Costs for printing hard copies for use during in-class instruction have been eliminated. Since our teacher education classroom has seven computer stations available for small group work, the web site has proven to be both efficient and expedient. Student teachers like looking at peers' lessons, and seeing the purpose in the assignments they do. Many former student teachers return to this site to check on resources and review recent contributions that may be useful to them in their current teaching job. They are familiar with the format and how to review the ever-growing database.

Teachers, especially beginning teachers, in schools across the country have sent e-mail indicating their appreciation and thanks for providing organization, a format, and direction for finding and using the K-6 arts lessons.

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