Arts Curriculum Framework


Republished in this protected area for the purpose of curriculum development.
Author: Massachusetts Department of Education, HTML Template for Documents
Date: October 17, 1995


Developing the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework

The Practice of Creating is one of seven curriculum frameworks that, along with the Common Chapters, lay the foundation for Massachusetts educational reform of teaching, learning, assessment, and school structure. Like its companion frameworks in English Language Arts, Health, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies, and World Languages, The Practice of Creating was developed by practitioners working with staff from the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Following the charge of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, the Arts Curriculum Framework Development Committee members have created a document that presents a philosophy of arts education, synthesizes current research, and sets learning standards for students from PreKindergarten through grade twelve. Encompassing the fields of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, this chapter is written to be used by arts educators and administrators, elementary and secondary teachers of all disciplines, as well as families, artists, and educators in cultural institutions.

The Core Concept of the Arts Framework is that experience in the creative process is essential for all learners. In the arts, this process involves solving problems with skill and imagination, discovering new questions, and producing new ideas, objects, or interpretations of existing works. Learning in, about, and through the arts develops each learner's capacity to make meaning from experience, respond to creativity, and contribute to society. Our schools need to be places where the creative dimension of life is honored and taught through the arts. The Guiding Principles of this Framework outline ways in which this can become a reality.

School communities using the arts to emphasize the creative process engage students of all abilities and learning styles in a cycle of three closely linked activities that develop Habits of Mind crucial to lifelong learning. First, students actively create and perform. Second, students demonstrate their ability to think about and respond to the arts through writing and discussion. Third, students show that they can grasp connections between art and life, and use their creativity and arts training to contribute to their communities. These activities form the Strands of this Framework.

In the Arts Content Section, the Practice of Creating presents an outline upon which district and school curricula, instruction, and assessments can be based. This section is organized into the three Strands on the facing page, each of which is articulated into Learning Standards, as well as examples of student learning and projects, entitled How It Looks in the Classroom. The Arts Framework is designed to be used in conjunction with the other six Frameworks and with the introductory Common Chapters. Together these chapters point the way to challenging, coherent, and interdisciplinary learning experiences that will benefit both young people and adults in Massachusetts school communities.

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