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Course Guides and Frameworks

The course guides and frameworks are the core documents for each course. It lays out the course framework, offers a program overview, describes our instructional approach, and provides assessment blueprints and examples.


Pre-AP offers four year-long courses in the Arts: Pre-AP Dance, Pre-AP Music, Pre-AP Theatre, and Pre-AP Visual Arts. 

These four distinct courses share one set of themes, underlying unit foundations, and areas of focus. The frameworks, model lessons, and performance assessments are specific to each course, and are designed to be incorporated into a range of existing arts courses in each of these disciplines.  

The framework is structured around skills associated with ideation, experimentation, creation, revision, reflection, and analysis—the processes and activities that artists engage in while producing their work. 

How to Use the Resources in Specific Courses

Each Pre-AP Arts course includes three discipline-specific instructional modules. These modules address the specific knowledge and skills needed for dance, music, theatre, and visual art courses while sharing themes of artistic investigation related to structures, sources, and iteration. They give focus, shape, and coherence to the skills and practices that are most important for students to develop, and support students across levels of proficiency from emerging to advanced. 

Pre-AP model lessons are adaptable to a range of arts courses within each discipline and level; for example, in music, the units can be used with a range of performance ensemble types.

Areas of Focus

Each Pre-AP course focuses on a small set of discipline-specific instructional priorities that support both teacher practice and student learning within the discipline. These areas of focus reflect research-supported reasoning practices that should receive greater emphasis in instructional materials and assessments than they often do. Pre-AP recognizes that many teachers and schools already embrace these disciplinary practices, and now we're offering resources that specifically emphasize these areas of focus.

Pre-AP Arts Areas of Focus:

Analysis and interpretation: Students observe, investigate, and discuss a limited number of anchor works, which are works of art central to the themes and content of a particular unit, and relate these examples to their own creative work.
Peer-to-peer dialogue: Students engage in structured conversations with peers to share ideas, respond to and offer advice on works in progress, critique final works, and discuss next steps.
Experimentation: Students generate and consider a range of options for both the technical and expressive content of their work and make purposeful decisions about which options to incorporate in the work.
Reflective writing: Students communicate and clarify ideas in writing throughout the creative process: as a component of research and idea generation, in describing works in progress, and in reflecting on final works.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Observe and interpret
  • Practice and experiment 
  • Research and make
  • Reflect and evaluate 
  • Revise and share

District Curriculum/Units of Study

The Pre-AP materials in dance, music, theatre, and visual art may be implemented within a range of existing arts courses in each of these disciplines; in music, they’re made to be adaptable for use with a range of performance ensemble types.

    Instructional Resources

    • Pre-AP offers 3 discipline-specific instructional modules per arts course on the themes of structures, sources and iteration.
    • Each unit includes approximately five weeks of model lessons that provide support and scaffolding for implementing the shared routines and considering the anchor works related to the topic of investigation.

    In addition to using the provided units, teachers will continue to infuse the areas of focus in their curricula throughout the rest of the course. 

    Assessments for Learning

    The courses include performance assessments embedded within the modules. These are the final created or performed works (or portfolio of process work) along with a student reflective writing product. They are scored by the teacher using a provided rubric.