Pre-AP Visual and Performing Arts

Students learn to think critically and creatively as artists while developing discipline-specific knowledge and skills.

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Overview

Pre-AP Visual and Performing Arts courses include Pre-AP Dance, Pre-AP Music, Pre-AP Theater, and Pre-AP Visual Arts.

These four courses share one set of themes, underlying unit foundations, and instructional shifts. Their frameworks, instructional resources, and performance tasks 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

Pre-AP offers two discipline-specific units per arts course. The units address the specific knowledge and skills needed for dance, music, theater, and visual art courses while sharing themes of artistic investigation related to structures and sources. These units 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 resources are adaptable to a range of arts courses within each discipline and level; for example, a visual art unit might be used in a general art course, or something more medium-specific, such as a design or photography course. Similarly, in music, the units can be used with a range of performance ensemble types.

Instructional Shifts

Pre-AP Visual and Performing Arts instructional resources focus on the following key instructional shifts:

  • Emphasis on analysis and interpretation: Students observe, investigate, and discuss a limited number of anchor works, and relate these examples to their own creative work.
  • Focus on peer-to-peer dialogue: Students engage in structured peer conversations to share ideas, respond to and offer advice on works-in-progress, critique final works, and discuss next steps.
  • Practice with experimentation: Students generate and consider a range of options for the technical as well as expressive content of their work, and make purposeful decisions about which options to incorporate in the work.
  • Active use of 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.

Course at a Glance

District Curriculum/Units of Study

The Pre-AP materials in dance, music, theater, and visual art are designed to be incorporated into existing arts courses in each of these disciplines; in music, they are made to be adaptable for use with a range of performance ensemble types.

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Imagine and investigate
  • Practice and experiment
  • Make and revise
  • Reflect and evaluate
  • Share and interpret

Instructional Resources

  • Pre-AP offers two discipline-specific units per arts course on the themes of structures and sources.
  • Each unit includes five weeks of lesson sets that provide support and scaffolding for implementing the instructional shifts and shared routines and anchor works related to the topic of investigation.

In addition to using the provided units, teachers will continue to infuse the instructional shifts and shared routines in their curricula throughout the rest of the course.

Assessments and Feedback

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