by Renee Boone, Director of Arts Education Programs
This past July, Oklahoma Arts Council staff members were pleased to have a presence at the State Department of Education's Vision 20/20 conference in Oklahoma City. During the conference we were able to talk to teachers and administrators from communities throughout the state who shared stories of how they are incorporating the arts into their lessons in non-arts subjects because their school does not have an art teacher on staff.
A few weeks after the Vision 20/20 conference, the Oklahoma State Department of Education released the C3 standards for visual arts and music. Oklahoma public schools with strong art and music programs are likely already implementing many of the guidelines, but for faculty in schools that lack fine arts staff, the new standards provide a jumping off point for offering quality arts instruction within social studies, math, language arts, and science curriculum.
The visual arts and music standards are each divided into four sections. For visual arts those sections are Presenting, Responding, Creating, and Connecting. The music sections include Responding, Connecting, Performing, and Creating. While the approach is slightly different between the two disciplines, both emphasize:
- The student's ability to communicate confidently about art
- Cross-disciplinary study that seeks to understand art within its cultural context
- Creative problem-solving
The full text of the 2013 Fine Arts Standards for Oklahoma can be accessed at the Oklahoma State Department of Education's website. Here are brief descriptions of the standards:
Visual Arts Standards
Presenting addresses the language of art, including vocabulary and principles of art and design. Students should be able to carefully and knowledgably answer the question, "What do I see?" This is an essential beginning in arts education and allows students to see and understand detail in a work of art.
Responding looks at art through historical and cultural lenses. A work of art can be a point of entrance for examining a moment in history, an unfamiliar culture, philosophical perspectives, and common experiences. This section also looks at expressions of art in the history and culture of Oklahoma and the United States as well as various cultural and ethnic traditions from around the world. Students have the opportunity to examine why art is so important to tradition and cultural identity while also learning how to express their personal opinion about a work of art with respect and proper terminology.
Creating engages students in active arts learning and critical thinking. The goals within these sections focus on creating original works of visual art and developing an understanding of how artists work. These skills encourage problem solving, critical thinking, and aesthetic decision making while also allowing students the opportunity to develop tools for self expression.
Connecting addresses art appreciation and offers a deeper analysis of art. Using the skills from the previous sections, students can ask thoughtful questions regarding artistic quality regardless of their initial judgment of a work of art. Students also learn how to behave in a museum and learn the importance of showing respect for the work of others.
Responding addresses the language of art, including vocabulary and concepts of music theory and composition. Students should be able to carefully and knowledgably answer the question, "What do I hear?" Responding to music includes written and verbal responses as well as actively participating in musical activities. Because music is so adaptable, students of all abilities can participate in classroom music experiences.
Connecting looks at music through historical and cultural lenses. This section looks at musical expression in the United States as well as various cultural and ethnic traditions from around the world. Students learn how a piece of music reflects the time in which it was written and performed while also understanding the difference between having an emotional response to music and having analytic knowledge and music.
Performing engages students in active music making. Along with the traditional modalities of choral music, orchestra, and band, new technologies allow students to create original music and explore the language of music through a hands-on approach.
Creating addresses music appreciation and offers a deeper analysis of music. Using the skills from the previous sections, students can develop thoughtful questions that address how and why music is created. Students can also compare and contrast music and varying styles and eras using the vocabulary and concepts of music analysis.
Need help incorporating the arts into your classroom? Oklahoma Arts Council arts education staff is available at any time to help.