Lessons in Action

"Giraffes Can't Dance"

Kdg and Grade 1 -

Students will make connections between styles of dance, social emotional learning competencies, and visual art. They will analyze and move to learn various dance styles featured in the book, "Giraffes Can't Dance," through their general music class. They will also create giraffe drawings depicting their giraffe performing a dance movement in a particular style.

Visual Art Component - Design and create giraffes dancing using crayons

Music Component - Analyze and perform dance styles from around the world and throughout various time periods (genres)

Dancing Giraffes

Dancing Giraffes

Dancing Giraffes

Dancing Giraffes

"What Makes NJ Special?"

Grade 1 -

For the past 100 years, the National Park Service has run a program called, “America Celebrates: Ornaments from Across the USA.” Students from across the country design ornaments to adorn their state or territory tree outside the White House. This year, Shawna Longo and her students at Durban Avenue School in Hopatcong, NJ were selected by the New Jersey Department of Education to create designs to represent our great state of New Jersey! Students first received an arts integration lesson on the history of New Jersey, what makes it special, and how that can be shown through a piece of art, or an ornament in this case. They brainstormed ideas about what makes New Jersey unique and then each selected an idea about what they love the most. This idea was then sketched and finalized using color pencils and markers to create their individual design. Twenty designs were selected and sent off to the National Park Service to be transformed from paper into an ornament.

Visual Art Component - Design and create ornaments using colored pencils and markers

Social Studies Component - History of and what defines New Jersey (state symbols and icons)

NJ Ornament Designs

NJ Ornament Designs

NJ Ornament Designs

NJ Ornament Designs

"Drawing to Music"

Kdg & Grade 1

Students will make connections between emotional responses to music and visual art through the study of synthesia. Students will then create 5 different pieces of art based on their emotional response to 5 different songs using color and lines to portray the emotion.

SEL Component - Self-Awareness and Self-Management

Visual Art Component - Create 5 pieces of art based on the emotional response to 5 different pieces of music using color and lines

Music Component - Determine the mood/emotional response to music and portray it with color and lines

"Drawing to Music"Student Example
"Drawing to Music"Student Example
"Drawing to Music"Student Example
"Drawing to Music"Student Example

"The Shapes of Instruments"

Kdg & Grade 1

Students will make connections between 2D shapes (math), collages (visual art), and instruments (music). Students will read Picasso's work, "Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass." Then, we will review the instrument families, characteristics of various instruments, and the shapes comprising various instruments. Students will then create an instrument in the style of Picasso's work using paper, scissors, and glue.

Math Component - identifying 2D shapes

Visual Art Component - Create a piece of art in the style of Picasso as a collage of an instrument

Music Component - Analyze the shapes found on an instrument

The Shapes of Instruments

Example of Student Work

The Shapes of Instruments

Example of Student Work

"ABCs of Music & My Feelings"

Kdg & Grade 1

Students will make connections between their feelings/emotions, ABCs, and emotional responses to music. Students will discuss various emotions in alphabetical order while reading artwork depicting each emotion. Then, we will listen to music that depicts each emotion. Students will then create a picture integrating a letter of the alphabet with an emotion/feeling that starts with that letter and determine a song that makes them feel that way.

SEL Component - Self-Awareness & Self-Management

E/LA Component - Create a piece of art utilizing a letter of the alphabet connected to a feeling/emotion

Music - Determine a song that portrays a specific feeling/emotion

"ABCs of Music & My Feelings"Example of Student Work
"ABCs of Music & My Feelings"Example of Student Work
"ABCs of Music & My Feelings"Example of Student Work

"Melting Time"

Grade 1

Students will make connections between telling time (math) and visual art. Students will read Salvador Dali's painting, "Persistence of Memory." Then, we will review reading analog clocks to half hours. Students will then create a picture in the style of Dali's painting using oil pastels on black paper.

Math Component - telling time (reading analog clocks to 30 minutes)

Visual Arts Component - Create a piece of art in the style of Salvador Dali with "melting clocks"

Melting Time

Example of Student Work

Melting Time

Example of Student Work

"Moving Sentences"

Grade Kdg

Students will make connections between sentence structure and dance/movement. First, we will discuss the components of a sentence (capitalization, space between words, and ending puntuation) through learning a rhyme/song. Then, we will create dance sequences depicting various sentences.

E/LA Component - Sentence structure (capitalization, space between words, and ending punctuation)

Dance Component - Elements of Dance (high, low, medium)

Moving Sentences

In Action

"Dancing Moon"

Grade 1

Students will make connections between science and dance. We will read "Papa Get the Moon for Me" by Eric Carle. Students will then view several videos of the sun and moon each rising and falling in the sky. Last, they will form groups to create and perform a dance sequence depicting the rotation of the sun and moon around Earth.

Science Component - Patterns of the moon and sun (rising and falling)

Dance Component - Elements of Dance (high, low, medium)

"Adding Lines"

Grade Kdg

Students will make connections between math and visual art. They will produce addition sentences and use compose/decompose and doubles facts. They will then draw a series of lines to represent each number showing the addition of the two numbers to produce the addition sentence.

Math Component - Addition up to 10

Visual Art Component - Drawing different lines

Adding Lines

Example of Student Work

Adding Lines

Example of Student Work

"Hip Hop & Rhyming"

Grade Kdg

Students will make connections between hip hop and rhyming. They will produce a rhyming word based on an image. We will then create short phrases using the two rhyming words and perform them in sequence using beatboxing and steady beat.

E/LA Component - Rhyming words

Music Component - Beatboxing and Rapping while keeping a steady beat

Hip & Rhyming

In Action

Hip Hop & Rhyming

In Action

"Mosaics and Shapes"

Grade Kdg

Students will make connections between shapes and mosaics. They will learn about 2D shapes and use 1" squares to create a mosaic featuring a specific shape.

Math Component - 2D Shapes

Visual Art Component - Creating a mosaic

Mosaics & Shapes

In Action

Mosaics & Shapes

Examples of Student Work

"The Dot"

Grades K-1

Students listened to a reading of the book, “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds. Through this project, Durban Avenue School participated in International Dot Day (Sept 15ish). Over 14 million students and educators in 181 countries around the world participated! During the lesson, I guided the students in a discussion about how to read pictures and connect the pictures to the story. We then be created dots using coffee filters and markers, which we sprayed with water to "make our mark" because "it all starts with a dot."

E/LA Component - Reading a story and pictures

Visual Art Component - Creating a dot

The Dot

Hallway Display

The Dot

Lesson In Action

"Performing Music Using Coding"

Grades 6-8

Students will make connections between coding and music performance. They will learn learn to code in sounds (pitch), rhythm, and movement using Scratch Desktop. Students will compose a piece of music using their Scratch code and perform it using a Makey Makey kit.

Music Component - Compose and perform a song.

Science Component - Discuss condutors of electricity & pitch frequency

Technology Component - Scratch Desktop, coding, Makey Makey kit

Math Component - Decimals, ratios, coding

Engineering Component - Design thinking

Performing Music Using Coding Example
Performing Music Using Coding Example
Performing Music Using Coding Example
Performing Music Using Coding Example

"Connecting the Dots"

Grades 6-8

Students will reflect on what it means to be creative and innovative through the study of "The Dot" (book) by Peter Reynolds. They will apply this idea into the creation of a piece of music and related visual art piece using the theme - 'connecting the dots.' Artwork will include the written musical score and a QR code (audio) to finalize this synthesis of dots and lines.

Music Component - Compose an 8 measure melody, starting and ending on C, using Noteflight. Expand melody into a song using Soundtrap.

Visual Art Component - Paper is divided into 8 sections (correlating to the 8 measures) with 4 shapes in each section (correlating to 4 beats in each measure). Use the color wheel and color transitions within each shape and section.

Technology Component - Creating a QR code. Using Noteflight & Soundtrap.

Connecting the Dots Example
Connecting the Dots Example
Connecting the Dots Example
Connecting the Dots Example

"Composing Music Using Coding"

Grades 6-8

Students will make connections between coding and traditional music composition. They will learn the basic function of Little Sound Dj (LSDj) software and a Gameboy emulator. Students will learn to compose a piece of music that uses all four channels (PU1, PU2, Wave, Noise) and various instrument sounds through coding. Students will further develop skills using texture, melody, harmony, percussion, dynamics, pitch, and rhythm in composing music.

Music Component - Compose a song using texture, melody, harmony, percussion, dynamics, pitch, and rhythm.

Science Component - Discuss sound waves and frequency

Technology Component - Little Sound Dj Software, coding

Math Component - Fractions, ratios, coding

Engineering Component - Design thinking

Composing Music Using Coding Example
Composing Music Using Coding Example
Composing Music Using Coding Example
Chiptune DCIK.mp3

"Shapes of Guitars"

Grades K-2

Students will explore the style of Pablo Picasso’s guitar sculptures and other images showing various electric guitar shapes. Students will create an electric guitar using selected shapes, cardboard, copper tape, and provide a musical demonstration using Makey Makey and Scratch.

Music Component - Perform a simple melody

Math Component - Analyze and draw 2D and 3D shapes

Science Component - Discussion about sound production

Technology Component - Makey Makey & Scratch

Visual Art Component - Analyze Pablo Picasso's guitar sculptures


Shapes of a Guitar

STEAM Unit

Shapes of a Guitar

STEAM Unit