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ARTS EDUCATION TEACHER HANDBOOK

DANCE :: WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM

 

Introduction to
K-12 Writing Across the Curriculum

What is Writing Across the Curriculum?

Writing across the curriculum (WAC) refers to incorporating writing in all content areas or courses, rather than isolating writing in the English Language Arts (ELA) class. While the ELA teacher continues to emphasize the development of writing skills, teachers of other disciplines include writing as a tool for both learning and assessment. Students benefit from WAC because they are writing more frequently and often for greater variety of purposes, audiences, and contexts. Additionally, students learn the content and the styles of discourse for other disciplines as they write for each course or area. Teachers can use writing to help assess student knowledge and understanding of the discipline's content, as well as to encourage the development of communication skills essential to success in school and beyond.

Why should I implement writing in arts education classes?

Arts Education teachers are already implementing components of writing within their classrooms. In addition to assignments that require standard English writing, students studying the arts are required to go through processes which are often a part of writing whenever they are asked to choreograph a dance, compose a piece of music, write a dramatic work, or create a visual art work (see Connections: Literacy and the Arts section of this Handbook). As stated in the English Language Arts Standard Course of Study, "while no one writing process is used by every writer in every piece of writing, students need to understand how to write purposefully and strategically. They need to learn how to generate ideas; to organize and prioritize; to rethink and revise language and ideas; and to edit their own work." These processes can be and are used in arts education classrooms in writing and other forms of communication.

Where is writing supported by the NCSCS for Arts Education?

At the elementary level, students are learning and applying strategies and skills to read and write. Many concepts and skills that are being explored in arts education classrooms directly contribute to concepts and skills needed to be able to read and write. Some examples include, but are not limited to: understanding of beginning, middle, and end; left to right sweep; organization of sounds and symbols; expressing ideas; brainstorming; publishing/performing, and the list could go on and on. More resources for elementary connections with writing as well as other writing resources may be added to this handbook at a future date.

The matrices following this article illustrate where writing is supported (6-8 and 9-12) by the Arts Education Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K-12. Many of the skills and concepts taught in arts education classes are an inherent part of writing; therefore, arts educators should not view the support of writing in their classes as an "add-on" to what they are already doing. Many times, it may be possible for arts educators to help their students make connections with writing within the art form being studied.

Overview of Alignment Matrices, 6-12

The 6-8 alignment matrix, found on the next several pages of this handbook, demonstrates the curricular connections between dance at grades 6, 7, and 8 and the writing environments of critical, expressive, argumentative, and informational writing. Specific objectives at each grade level are identified, and one example of an activity that would lend itself to each of these environments is described.

The Correlation Matrix: Grade 10 Writing Assessment relates directly to the new 10th grade writing assessment. The Objectives in this matrix support:

  • writing features (main idea, support and elaboration, organization, conventions, and synthesis)

  • specific types of writing assessed (definition, cause-effect, and problem-solution)

Additionally, examples of cause-effect, problem-solution, or definition writing activities are described. While specific objectives that most directly relate to writing are identified in this matrix, it should be noted that many objectives not listed here could be aligned with writing, according to the focus and intent of the lesson.

 

Writing in the Middle Grades
Curricular Connections

 

CRITICAL: Critical communication involves interpreting, proposing, and judging. Critical works include media and/or book reviews and essays that provide critical analysis. Creating standards and making informed choices are very important in critiques. Grade 6 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Critical Writing

3.02, 4.02, 4.03, 4.04

 
Grade 6

Sample Activity

Examine how the elements of sound/silence, music, spoken text, lighting, set, props and costumes affect the interpretation of a dance.
Grade 7 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Critical Writing

4.03, 4.04
Grade 7

Sample Activity

Analyze a dance in terms of time, space, and energy. 
Grade 8 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Critical Writing

3.02, 4.01, 4.04, 5.03, 5.04, 5.06, 6.03
Grade 8

Sample Activity

Incorporate and justify the use of various elements to communicate meaning in a dance.

 

Writing in the Middle Grades
Curricular Connections

 

EXPRESSIVE: Expressive communication involves exploring and sharing personal insights and experiences. The writer of expressive text addresses the reader as a confidante, a friendly, though not necessarily personally known, audience who is interested in how thoughtful people respond to life. Understanding self and others is a part of expressive communication as are autobiographies, journals and friendly letters. Grade 6 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Expressive Writing

2.04, 3.01, 4.04

 
Grade 6

Sample Activity

Improvise, create, and perform a dance based on your own ideas. Explain the ideas you are attempting to convey through your dance composition.
Grade 7 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Expressive Writing

2.04, 3.01, 4.04
Grade 7

Sample Activity

Keep a journal of personal thoughts, ideas, and experiences that you may use as a basis for original dance compositions.
Grade 8 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Expressive Writing

2.04, 3.01, 4.04
Grade 8

Sample Activity

Create, present and explain a dance that communicates a topic of personal significance.

 

Writing in the Middle Grades
Curricular Connections

 

ARGUMENTATIVE: Argumentative communication involves defining issues and proposing reasonable solutions. Argumentative works include but are not limited to debates, problem/ solutions, speeches and letters to the editor. In middle school, students must learn the difference between a confrontation and a logical, detailed, coherently organized argumentative work. Grade 6 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Argumentative Writing

4.01, 4.02, 4.04, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04

 
Grade 6

Sample Activity

Present and defend possible aesthetic criteria for evaluating dance.
Grade 7 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Argumentative Writing

4.01, 4.02, 4.04, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04
Grade 7

Sample Activity

Compare and contrast multiple solutions and validate one solution to a given movement problem.
Grade 8 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Argumentative Writing

4.01, 4.02, 4.04, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04
Grade 8

Sample Activity

Describe how a dancer must prepare physically and mentally for movement and propose strategies that may help a dancer prevent injuries.

 

Writing in the Middle Grades
Curricular Connections

 

INFORMATIONAL: Informational communication involves giving information to explain realities or ideas, to teach people what the writer/speaker knows. The writer of informational text should be knowledgeable and should communicate so that the audience gains the knowledge as well as the circumstance required. Informational texts often are based on who, what, when, where and how. Some examples of informational works include definitions, instructions, directions, business letters, reports, and research. Grade 6 Danceobjectives that lead to opportunities in Informational Writing

1.04, 3.02, 4.04, 5.03, 5.04, 5.05, 5.06, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04, 7.03, 8.01, 8.03

 
Grade 6

Sample Activity

Describe the movement elements observed in a dance using movement/dance vocabulary.
Grade 7 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in informational Writing

1.05, 4.04, 5.03, 5.04, 5.05, 5.06, 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, 7.03, 8.01, 8.03
Grade 7

Sample Activity

Define the role of the audience and of a performer in dance.
Grade 8 Dance objectives that lead to opportunities in Informational Writing

1.05, 3.01, 4.04, 5.03, 5.04, 5.05, 5.06, 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04, 7.03, 8.01, 8.03
Grade 8

Sample Activity

Investigate and explain dances from various cultures and historical periods.

 

Correlation Matrix: Grade 10 Writing Assessment

Objectives listed below support:

  • writing features
    (main idea, support and elaboration, organization, conventions, and synthesis)

  • specific types of writing assessed
    (definition, cause-effect, and problem-solution)

 

  Dance I Dance II Dance III Dance IV Special Topics Dance I Special Topics Dance II
9-12 Dance Education 2.01, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06, 2.08, 3.02, 3.03, 4.02, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.02, 6.04, 7.01, 8.04 1.04, 2.01, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06, 2.07, 2.08, 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 4.01, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.03, 6.04, 7.01, 7.03, 8.03 2.01, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06, 2.07, 2.08, 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 4.01, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04, 7.01, 7.02, 7.03, 7.04, 8.02 1.02, 1.04, 1.05, 2.03, 2.04, 2.05, 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 4.01, 4.03, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.02, 6.03, 7.01, 7.02, 7.03, 7.05, 8.03, 8.04 1.04, 2.02, 2.04, 2.05, 2.07, 3.02, 3.03, 4.01, 4.02, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.04, 7.01 1.04, 2.02, 2.04, 2.05, 2.06, 2.07, 3.02, 3.03, 4.01, 4.02, 4.03, 5.01, 5.02, 5.03, 6.03, 6.04, 7.01, 8.03
Related Assignments Cause- Effect:

What are the effects of various stimuli (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic) on dance movements?
Definition: How is the human body used as a tool for com- munication in dance? Cause- Effect:

How are technical and theatrical elements used to influence interpretation and meaning in dance?
Problem- Solution:

Many professional dancers do not take good care of their bodies. Explain the challenges dancers face and offer steps they can take to help take care of their bodies to achieve personal dance goals.
Problem- Solution:

Explore movement possibilities within a given structure or problem to determine the best course of action.
Cause- Effect:

What are some of the possible effects of cultural expectations of what the human body should look like on a dancer's personal health and fitness?

 

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