The Arts

Teaching in the Elementary School Classroom Contents | Reference Lists

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79.03.02 New Haven---Maritime History and Arts
Although designed for high school students, this unit about ship architecture can be adapted to most grade levels. Marine architecture, especially as it applies to ship building, is the main concept of this unit. Large- and small-scale projects are supported by this unit’s lessons and background information. Recommended for grades 4 and 5.

81.05.06 Energy Efficient Architectural Design and Model Building
Provides hands-on skills for teaching math in a "real-life" situation through model building. In addition, science teachers are able to teach practical energy efficient design principles. Useful for upper elementary students, grade 5, with a strong math base.

83.01.02 Architecture: Experiences in Space Perception for Young People
Uses houses to help students understand architecture through experiences in space perception. Activities can be adapted for upper elementary students, grades 3-5.

83.01.04 Looking at History through Architecture
Much can be drawn from this unit to help elementary students understand the present and historic architecture of New Haven. There is a connection to history of New Haven. The unit is suitable for grades 3-5.

83.01.05 Living in Style-The New Haven Green and Its Architecture
Portions of this unit can be adapted to help elementary students understand the architectural history of New Haven, particularly the area around its Green. There is a connection to study of New Haven. The unit is suitable for grades 3-5.

84.01.01 There Are No Really Tall Sea Shells – An Exploration of Architectural Space
The unit’s intent is to widen the student’s awareness of architecture and the design of man-made environments. The focal point is upon the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959. Three of his buildings are analyzed for their design and use of space. Adaptable for upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

84.01.02 Gazebos and Other Worlds
This unit is designed to use the gazebo as a focal point around which the student can develop drafting techniques and vocabulary expressing ideas in two and three-dimensional form. By means of carefully planned steps the student will learn about the history, function, and design aspects of these garden buildings. The unit is great for art teachers – adaptable for upper elementary grade levels 4-5.

84.01.03 A View of the River: Cellars, Columns and Porches
Contains great background information about the historical architecture of buildings in the Fair Haven area of New Haven. The nineteenth century in Fair Haven has a period of tremendous growth and architectural development. It is adaptable for upper elementary grade students, 4-5.

84.01.05 Fair Haven’s History and Architecture – Past and Preservation
The purpose of this unit is to provide a history of the Fair Haven area and to give the students the opportunity to observe the existing architecture in the area. The suggested lessons could be used with slight changes in studying any area/neighborhood within the city. The unit is adaptable for middle/upper elementary grade levels, 3-5.

84.01.06 Piece of Mind: Poetry, Person, and Place in Architecture
Based upon poetry with architecture in mind, the unit looks into the writings of Walt Whitman, Vincent Scully, Louis I Kahn, and Charles Moore. The unit includes hand-on activities for building a child-scale room out of corrugated board. It is adaptable for middle/upper elementary grades, 3-5.

84.01.07 Interior Structure Design
This unit is divided into four sections to aid the student into a basic design analysis and decision making program. The students complete a sequence of three art projects. It is a great resource for art teachers of upper elementary grade levels, 4-5.

84.01.08 Elementary Analysis and Design in Architecture
This unit is intended to teach students about modern and traditional architecture through specialized analysis of different types of homes. The unit contains floor plans of a house, and apartment for students to study and analyze. Adaptable for upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

85.06.01 Totem Poles of the North American Northwest Coast Indians
Designed for art classes, this unit focuses on the analysis of the Northwest Indian totem pole. Similar analysis of the students’ own culture is encouraged. The architecture of totem poles is studied with students creating their own totem poles as a final project. Recommended as a resource for grades 2-5.

85.06.08 Touchstones
This unit emphasizes the architecture of American Monuments. The artistic and mathematical aspects of the architecture are discussed. An annotated bibliography included various visual sources for this unit. Recommended as a resource for grades 2 through 5.

86.03.05 Wooster Square in the Context of the Italian Renaissance
Examines the art and architecture of Wooster Square in New Haven, along with providing appropriate historical information. Could be used in art and social studies classes at 4-5 grade levels.

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81.04.07 Teaching a Second Language through Art Using the Yale Art Gallery
Although written for students of a second language, middle and upper elementary students, 3-5, would profit by this study. Children would enjoy the field trip to the Yale Art Gallery and teachers will find a wealth of information about different periods of history – the Primitive Period and Pre-Columbian Period to name a few.

81.04.12 Teaching a Second Language through Art
The purpose of this unit is to provide an additional and complementary source of instruction for those students and teachers involved in the process of teaching and learning a second language. Emphasizes concepts taught through the painting. The unit could be adapted for advanced upper elementary students, grades 4-5.

85.06.06 The Mask---A West African Ceremonial Object
This unit examines the culture and art of West Africa. West African ceremonial masks are studied and created by the students. The unit contains ample background information and hands-on art lessons. Recommended for Kindergarten through grade 5.

85.06.07 Egyptian Tomb Art: Expressions of Religious Beliefs
This unit studies Egyptian culture through the analysis of Egyptian tomb art. Object analysis and museum trips go hand in hand to arouse student interest in Egypt. A good resource for lesson plans, trips and background information. Recommended for grades 3, 4, and 5.

87.03.05 How Do Artists Get Their Ideas? Culture and Environment as Sources of Ideas
The unit exposes students to the lives and creative works of American artists with cultural backgrounds both similar to and different from their own. Studies include a Black artist, Jacob Lawrence; a white artist, Andrew Wyeth; and Native American art of the Plains Indians. Great activities for art teachers of all grade levels as well as classroom teachers.

87.04.08 The American Avant – Garde 1904-1920
This unit examines the differences between the American and European avant-garde artists from 1900 to the 1920’s. Lesson plans utilize field trips in order to study nature and encourages students to create abstract paintings from nature and still life set up in the classroom. Parts of this unit could be adapted for all elementary grade levels, K-5.

88.02.02 The Harlem Renaissance: Black American Traditions
Emphasizing the artistic tradition that grew out of the Harlem Renaissance, students will become familiar with the work of prominent African American artists, writers and musicians. Students are provided with opportunities to apply the stylistics of artists studied to their own artistic works. Written for older students, the information contained in the unit can be adapted to grades 3, 4, and 5.

89.05.01 The Hopperville Express
Through the eyes of a famous artist, this unit is designed to utilize Edward Hopper’s realistic 20th century paintings as a "vehicle" for transporting students from the hills and seaside of New England, through the metropolis of New York City, and across the plains of the western United States. Parts of this unit could be adapted to any elementary grade level. For example, students are asked to go out into their community, and photograph or sketch buildings, scenes, or structures similar to areas Hooper painted.

89.05.03 Early American Portraits: A Strategy for Learning About Artists and Their Works
This unit designed for grades 3-5 uses art history, criticism, and aesthetics to study early American portrait painting. Adaptable for any elementary grade level, it provides an abundance of information and activities for engaging students in the study of paintings.

89.05.11 Responses to Twentieth Century Music: A High School Art Curriculum
This unit aims to combine an appreciation for the place of jazz in the 20th century with a visual arts curriculum in painting and design. The lesson plans integrate music and painting and could easily be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

91.02.10 Women Artists in History: A Junior High School Unit
Adaptable for upper elementary grade students (grades 4-5) this unit is a study of ten women artists, working between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. The lesson plans are loaded with questions and guidelines for analysis of the paintings.

95.04.05 Ethnic Art: African, Mexican, and Caribbean Perspectives
Explores the art of Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean as a reflection of Latin and African culture. Contains historical background information. Interdisciplinary approach. The unit is suitable for grade 5 and possibly 4.

96.03.09 Women of Color as Artists
By focusing on African and Latin Women artists, this unit compares and contrasts their styles and messages. Includes helpful background information and suggested hands-on activities. Though designed for grades 6-8, elements could easily be adapted to elementary grades.

98.03.01 Shang Bronzes: A Window into Ancient Chinese Culture
Although written for high school students, the unit contains beautiful background information on the Shang dynasty. The information could be used in teaching a unit on ancient China as well as modern day China for elementary grade students.

98.03.06 Common Ground: Masks from a Cultural Perspective
Written for grades 1-2, the unit can be adapted for elementary grade children, grades K-5. This unit takes a look at Native American and African culture, a close-up look at the use and creation of masks by these cultures, and concludes with two exciting hands on mask-making activities and creative writing efforts to accompany student mask creations. The unit contains student work sheets and handouts.

98.03.07 Masks and the Stories Behind Them
Written for grades K-5, students in the library media center relate to the action of wearing a mask and changing behavior along with changing appearance. Stories behind the masks represent two cultures, Native American groups, and Central and East African groups. Contains a section for making masks.

98.05.04 Favored Holidays of Children Outside of the USA
This unit introduces students to things that are important to children outside of the United States with the hope that they will better appreciate all cultures and people, as well as, gain a greater respect and appreciation for holidays, celebrations and practices of the wide variety of different people here in the United States of America. Lessons contain many hands-on activities. Although written for grades 3-6, this unit can be adapted to include grades 1 and 2.

99.02.01 The Aztecs: A Pre-Columbian History
Although written for high school students, grades 9-12, there is a wealth of information about the ancient Aztec civilization that would be most helpful to any teacher teaching a unit on ancient civilizations or dissent and ethnicity.

99.02.04 Artistic Traditions of the Maya People
Written for grades 5-8, this unit explores the rich and varied artistic traditions of the Maya people through music, dance, drama, and visual art. Special emphasis is given to the musical traditions of the Maya through the years. The unit also refers to some of the art practices of the Maya. This includes body painting, body tattoos, orthodontia, skull deformation and other ritual practices.

99.02.05 The Maya Culture of Mesoamerica: Art Works in Time and Space
This beautiful curriculum unit written for grades 2-4 can easily be adapted for grades 1-5. The unit is divided into two sections. The first section provides background knowledge on the history of the Mayan Culture. The second section provides a series of excellent detailed lessons based on performance tasks that the students need to accomplish to master the content area based on the Mayas. A list of student and teacher electronic and other resources is provided for the implementation of the unit.

99.02.06 Diego Rivera: A Man and His Murals
This unit was written for fourth grade students and can easily be adapted to include grade 5. In this unit students learn about the artist Diego Rivera, the Mexican Mural movement and New deal Programs. In addition, student learns about the murals in New Haven, Connecticut created during the Works Progress Administration and how they relate to the Mexican mural movement. Included in the unit is a section where students create a mural in their school. Computer and research skills are developed and the readings of biographies are used as a research tool.

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80.03.02 Dramatize English
Though designed for older students, this unit contains interesting ideas for improvisation, role-play, pantomime skits, and warm-ups that could be adapted to help develop basic skills needed by elementary students.

82.05.01 Adapting Narratives for Skits to Teach Language through Drama
Through the positive aspects of foreign language instruction, this unit focuses on performances skills. A great resource for foreign language teachers, this unit can also be utilized by classroom teachers in grades 4 and 5 who wish to complete a unit on performance skills.

84.05.02 Dance Hype in Video – A Positive or Negative Force?
This unit uses many forms: pop song, lyrics, magazine advertisements and video to carry out its theme of communication. Dance is introduced by viewing a special 60-minute video entitled, "The Making of Thriller," by Michael Jackson. A final step includes the making of a video. Various contemporary videos could be used along with the questionnaires and activities of the units for middle and upper elementary grades, 3-5.

85.06.04 Toys Are Us
This unit is a resource for teachers who may be interested in children’s plays. Performance techniques and annotated plays are included. Other projects involved with this unit are children’s toys and toy making. Recommended for Kindergarten through grade 5.

87.04.04 By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Something Wicked This Way Comes (An exploration of murder and mystery as found in the novels of Ngaio Marsh and the play, Macbeth, by Shakespeare.)
Advanced upper elementary students, grades 4-5, would gain a keen respect and enjoyment from the study of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students become playwrighters while trying to create and stage Peregrine Jay’s play The Glove. Great story writing ideas.

89.03.03 Dramatic Movement Through Family Ties
The unit allows students to use everyday movements including "street or rap dances" as a basis to begin creating their own movements. The literature selected in this unit comes from Latin American fiction. Elements of dance are integrated into the lesson plans, which are adaptable for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

89.03.04 The Family on Stage in the Americas
Students read monologues from many contemporary authors as they develop a sense of personal self-confidence with spoken language. Although written for high school students, suggestions and activities for basic speaking and performance skills can be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5.

89.04.07 Curtain Call: A Dramatic Approach to Detective Fiction
Parts of this unit could be adapted for upper elementary students, 4-5. In addition to suspense plays such as: Sherlock Holmes by William Gillette, Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie, and The Final Curtain by John Murray, the students will learn about stage skills such as make-up, scenery, costumes, props, and lighting.

89.05.07 Playing With American Folk Heroes of the Nineteenth Century
This is a beautiful unit that utilizes improvisation and characterization work to depict folk heroes such as George Washington, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, etc. Lesson plans give an abundance of activities for dramatization that could be adaptable for all elementary grade levels, K-5.

90.02.01 The Creative Dramatics Cookbook: Recipes for Playmaking
This unit helps teachers in the elementary grades to integrate the arts in the classroom by encouraging students to explore playmaking through the use of theater games. Each lesson is centered on a folk tale or myth and is filled with theater games and exercises that build to playmaking.

90.02.02 Improvisional Drama Without Words
This unit is adaptable for all elementary grade level students, K-5, and centers around helping children to create their own pantomimes. The unit contains a brief history of mime and integrates an abundance of activities into the lesson plans.

90.02.04 Pick-A-Path Playhouse
Although written for K-3 students, this unit is easily adaptable for all elementary school students, K-5. The unit introduces students to the dramatization of children’s literature. Students are encouraged to take on the role of the playwright and substitute a different setting, character, or plot line for the original.

90.02.05 The Preparation of a Play to be performed before a School Audience
Easy adaptable for elementary grade levels, this unit deals with the preparation of a play to be performed before a school audience. The unit contains a section relating to the history of the theater, as well as, many activities and games suitable for preparation of a staged play.

90.02.06 Drama: A Family Connection
Adaptable for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5, this unit centers on problem-solving skills that promote successful strategies for coping with stressful situations. Students compile a problem diary that will be used to generate a list of ideas for a subject to write about. Students will use this information to develop a drama using the family as a resource and support unit.

90.05.03 The Family as Seen through Interpretive Dance
This unit studies Hispanic, African-American, Jewish, and Chinese cultures. It involves music and dance relevant to the different families’ history and present life styles. The unit is adaptable for upper elementary students, 4-5.

91.04.09 Cultural and Personal Identity through Poetry
This unit can be adapted for middle and upper elementary students, 3-5. The unit combines poetry with dance, art, music, and history in helping students to discover, understand and be proud of who they are.

91.05.02 Dramatic Release of Stress
This unit uses drama to help students cope with stress in the classroom. The unit can be adapted for upper elementary students, 4-5. It requires an hour of classroom time a week.

95.02.03 Living Pictures Representing the History of Black Dance
A teacher with interest and/or skill related to Black dance and its history could use this unit with a fifth grade classroom or a special interest group. There is an obvious relationship to African American history.

99.02.03 Mexicans: Mythology, Movement and Masterpiece
Fifth grade students gain a flavor of early Mexican civilization in visualizing a journey through the ancient city of Teotihuacan, visiting the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl, and learning to play a ball game with Hunter and Jaguar Deer, the twin brothers of the Popol Vuh, the Maya creation myth. Creative dramatics for the unit include: oral reading, discussion and analysis, characterization plotting; bio writing; story mapping; improvisation; tableaux vivants; storytelling; inventing a game; script writing; poetry recitation.

99.02.09 Popol Vuh
This curriculum unit contains a dramatization of the Popol Vuh and technical suggestions for a simple reading or full-scale performance. The unit ends with a beautiful section for making sweet tamales, a symbolic creation of people of corn shaped with cornmeal dough and wrapped in cornhusks. The unit is recommended for grades 4-8. Certainly the sweet tamales section could be woven into any curriculum unit on Latino culture.

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82.03.02 Child Custody
The operation of the American court system is the focus of this unit. Debating skills, as they apply to the American court system are outlined and easily adapted to the middle-grades. Lessons, strategies and other background information lend themselves to use in grades 4 and 5.

82.03.05 Sources of Law: Related Cases for the Language
Role playing strategies are presented to encourage communication among students about the United States government. Writing skills are also utilized by encouraging the students to write letters and interview government officials. Recommended for grades 3, 4 and 5.

88.04.05 Integrating Printmaking and Literature: A High School Art Curriculum
The art of printmaking is successfully linked to literature and language arts strategies in the classroom. Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 can use the general lessons on printmaking.

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82.04.06 Black American Musicians: Precursors of Jazz
This unit presents a timeline of events that shaped the history of African-American music. An interdisciplinary approach is offered to teaching jazz music. This unit allows the students to enjoy folk dances, sculpting clay, and researching famous composers. Adaptable to grades K-5.

82.05.08 La Nueva Cancion en Puerto Rico
Modern music from Puerto Rico is the main interest of this unit. Aspects of Puerto Rican culture are discussed. This unit can be used as a resource to teachers in grades K-5. A brief history of Puerto Rican music is provided.

95.02.11 Teaching Academic Skills through the Exploration of Music
Suggests ways in which the musical themes in film can help to develop academic skills. Modifies activities for various grade levels. Adaptable to grades K-5.

96.04.02 Four Immigrant groups: Their Lives and Music
Designed to allow fourth grade students to learn about the lives and music of immigrant groups from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica by means of a dialogue between imaginary interviewers and immigrants from these countries. There is an obvious connection to social studies, particularly diversity.

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Quilt Making

95.04.04 The Art of the Quilt
Hands-on art activities lead children to understand the historic and social connections to be understood through a study of African American quilt making. There is an obvious connection to African American history. Interdisciplinary approach. The unit is adaptable to all elementary grades.

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