Brianne Gidcumb | March 2016

Driving Questions for Arts-Based Inquiry: Performing, Presenting, and Producing

In our Driving Questions for Arts-Based Inquiry series, we’ve been developing frameworks for inquiry based learning, and project based learning through the arts. Each installment of this series focuses on one of the process strands in the National Core Arts Standards (creating, performing/presenting/producing, responding, connecting). In this installment, we focus on the second strand of the National Core Arts Standards: performing/presenting/producing.

In our first installment, we provided a quick run-down of what driving questions are, characteristics of driving questions, as well as a few examples. Last month, we looked at the three anchor standards in the creating strand of the National Core Arts Standards, the essential questions associated with those standards, and some driving questions that might help you craft a arts-based inquiry and project-based learning experience.

Today, we journey into the second strand of standards in the National Core Arts Standards- those that make up the performing/presenting/producing strand of standards. What this strand is referred to depends on which area of the arts-based inquiry we are looking at (performing for music, theatre, and dance, presenting for visual arts, and producing for media arts). While the name may change from one art form to another, they all share the same anchor standards.

The anchor standards in the performing/presenting/producing strand in an arts-based inquiry are as follows:

Anchor Standard 4: Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation.

Anchor Standard 5:  Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.

Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

The very nature of performing, presenting, or producing a work of art is project based at its very core. The performing/presenting/producing strand can be an extension of the creating strand of the NCAS in inquiry and project based learning, or it can stand alone as its own process. Anchor Standard 5 (Develop and refine artistic work for presentation) is process-based, and with effective facilitation can encourage the skills that have been identified as being essential for students to be college and career ready: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. If we frame the traditional process of performing/presenting/producing a work of art through a driving question, we can further encourage those skills.

Driving Questions for Arts-Based Inquiry, Education Closet

The essential questions that are included in each anchor standard of the National Core Arts Standards are a great place to begin crafting arts-based inquiry and driving questions based. When integrating project based learning and the arts in performing/presenting/producing a work of art, much of the process will come from giving students a choice in what they perform, present, or produce. They don’t even have to have the final say. Just as long as they have a voice in these choices. For example, this might mean giving students ownership of selecting their own artistic works (Anchor Standard 4), developing their own rehearsal/revision process (Anchor Standard 5), and determining their own criteria for successful performance/presentation/production.

Driving Questions for Arts-Based Inquiry, Education Closet

In today’s FREE DOWNLOAD, you’ll find a chart of the essential questions for standards 4 through 6 in each arts area, as well as a some project “seeds” based on driving questions in each arts-based inquiry area. Share your of driving questions below!

Download Driving Questions- Performing

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: