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Visual Performing Arts (K-12)

Course Overviews (Standards Into Units)

Dance | Music | Theatre | Visual Art


The visual and performing arts writers have developed five units to assist educators in implementing the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for the visual and performing arts, including dance, music, theatre, and visual art.  They are available here for your review and feedback.  The department will use your responses to inform the work as we continue to develop and revise student learning objectives (SLOs) and design assessments to measure the SLOs.

As you review these documents, please refer to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for the Visual & Performing Arts. This first version of the model curriculum includes the following: 

  • The Cumulative Progress Indicators (CPIs) addressed in each unit;
  • The SLOs;
  • And the Unit descriptions;

As the Department moves forward with the Model Curriculum Project, additional resources will be provided to assist districts with implementing the Standard. The SLOs are intended to provide clear targets to assist in the daily planning of lessons.  Assessments will be designed to measure how well students have met the targets.  Teachers are encouraged to use the assessment data to determine what additional learning experiences are necessary for students to meet each targeted CPI in a specific context.

Please note that most CPIs are not meant to be mastered in one six-week unit.  Many CPIs appear in several units and are assessed in multiple units in order to determine students' progression towards meeting the CPIs in a variety of contexts.

Below you will find the content/context for each unit.

  • Unit 1 - Creative Process: Aligned to Standard 1.1
  • Unit 2 - Performing (1) : Aligned to Standard 1.3
  • Unit 3 - Performing (2) : Aligned to Standard 1.3
  • Unit 4 - Aesthetic Responses & Critique Methodologies: Aligned to Standard 1.2
  • Unit 5 - History of the Arts and Culture: Aligned to Standard 1.4

Note: Yearly sequences of music and visual art units have been developed for K-8.  In addition, units have been developed for a one-year high course meeting the five credit graduation requirement for the arts as a capstone experience to sequential K-8 art(s) instruction.

For dance and theatre, two units (each) have been developed for grades 3-5 in order to accommodate for hands-on opportunities for learning in these two arts disciplines, as required by the standards.  Five units (each) have been developed for grades 6-8.  Additionally there is a one high school sequence designed to meet the requirements for the five-credit arts graduation requirement for students opting to fulfill that requirement through course work in dance or theatre.

It is anticipated that dance and theatre sequences for grades K-5 will be developed in a future phase of this project, in addition to yearly 9-12 Units for dance, music, theatre, and visual art.

METHODOLOGY:  Development and Review Cycle:

Student Learning Objectives were developed by the writing teams comprised of New Jersey K-12 arts practitioners in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, led by NJDOE Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Dale Schmid.  The teams were comprised of active and recently retired K-12 teachers and arts supervisors as well as representatives from higher education pre-service arts training programs in the arts.  All team members had prior K-12 instructional experience as well as expertise in curriculum development and assessment for learning.

Draft documents were reviewed in three phases.  The first tier review was conducted by practicing classroom arts teachers and supervisors.  The second tier review was performed by national content experts representing each of the national content associations including delegates from the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME), the Educational Theatre Education Association (EdTA), the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), and the National Art Education Association (NAEA).  

Input from the state and national review teams were provided to the writing teams which drove the iterative refinements of the current draft document.  Finally, the drafts were vetted internally by senior staff at the New Jersey Department of Education. This development, review and revision cycle was conducted two times.  Public input/critical feedback will be used to further refine the model curriculum.