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Art-Sense (elementary)

Last changed: 05/20/2019 12:23pm
4 , 5 Visual Art Dance Theatre Music
Theatre English
Arts/PE Program Alignment
2 45 min


Typically two 45-minute sessions per classroom or one 90 minute session.
However, the length of the sessions can be adapted to fit the Art Specialist's schedule.

If preferred, the Teaching Artist can offer a one session version of the program.

In-School Short Term Residency
All year
$250 0
yes In-Person


Props needed for Drama activities to supplement available classroom resources

Originals for handouts or prompts to be used with activities during program sessions or for follow-up/reflection in the classroom between sessions to deepen student learning (ex. Seeing a Sport, Listening to the Environment, Identifying an Object, What Am I Listening To?, What's That Food?, Trust Walk Observations)



Easel and large pad of paper with markers

Paper (unlined) and Pencil for each student

Copies of handouts for students as needed

Materials or supplies for making collages, if chosen by the Art Teacher for Session Two



Open space in classroom or multi-purpose space large enough for entire class to participate on their feet simultaneously or spread out to work in small groups.

Access to tables/desks and chairs for writing and/or drawing related to the activities.

Possible accessible outdoor space near the building for sensory exploration



I can demonstrate focus and concentration by using one or more of my 5 senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and/or smell) to notice specific details when observing a person, place or thing.

I can use appropriate grade-level vocabulary to vividly describe by speaking or writing what I see, hear, smell, touch and/or taste in a sensory experience.

I can use sensory recall as inspiration to design a project in Visual Arts and to add vivid details to my work.



A process for young artists: Observe – Recall – Create – Repeat

In Art-Sense, students discover the joy of using their 5 senses to effectively “see” and describe people, places and things as they connect artistically to the world around them.

Theatre naturally supports learning in a variety of art forms. Engaging Drama activities take students on a journey that builds concentration and observation skills, heightens sensory awareness, sharpens sensory recall and stimulates the imagination.

Students will:

Session One - Sensory Awareness: Working “alone together” students are guided by the Teaching Artist to slow down and tune in to details in their immediate surroundings. Following each activity, they reflect and communicate their observations by drawing, writing and/or speaking to a partner in order to compare and contrast what they experienced.

Session Two – Sensory Recall: Learning to go beyond just remembering in words, students build the tools needed to place themselves “in the moment” and fully re-sense their experiences. With partners or teams, students discover they can actually “see” what others are hearing, tasting, touching, etc. In small groups, participants create a simple collage using color, shape, words, texture, etc. to artistically reflect their sensory experiences.

The program can stand alone, prepare students for a follow-up project selected by the Visual Arts Teacher or give children tools for engaging their senses in a variety of artistic endeavors.

This program also works well as a Theatre/Language Arts/Visual Arts collaboration in which a specific sensory experience becomes the inspiration for writing poems or descriptive paragraphs and creating a related Art project.

* See Additional notes for Music, Dance or Theatre variations



The skills developed in Art-Sense not only offer a way of working on a variety of Visual Arts projects, but can also support translating the experiences into composing/arranging Music/Sound, creating Dance/Movement sequences, or bringing added reality to Drama scenes. Students can also write related poetry, essays or descriptive narratives. Though the database format does not provide space for including Arts standards for each discipline, appropriate ones can be selected.

If a larger grade-level collaboration is desired, the Teaching Artist can help design the project to also be supported by the Classroom Teacher(s) in conjunction with the Visual Arts, Music, Dance or Theatre Specialist.

The Teaching Artist Can also include character development exercises, if the selected project focuses on portraits.

At least one of the activities is best done outdoors, weather permitting.

*All ACTive Learning Through Drama programs have been developed and implemented by a professional Theatre Educator in collaboration with classroom Teachers and Arts Specialists

1-3 are welcome if desired by the Art Teacher

Grade 4

Grade 4: Writing Standards: Text Types and Purposes #3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
Grade 4: Speaking And Listening Standards: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas #4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
Grade 4: Visual Art: Creating: Anchor Standard 1:1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. a. Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.
Grade 4: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. a. Articulate the visual details of imagined worlds, and improvised stories that support the given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

Grade 5

Grade 5: Writing Standards: Text Types and Purposes #3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
Grade 5: Speaking And Listening Standards: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas #4: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
Grade 5: Visual Art: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.3: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. Identify, describe, and visually document places and/or objects of personal significance.
Grade 5: Theatre: Responding: Anchor Standard 8.1: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. a. Justify responses based on personal experiences when participating in or observing a drama/theatre work.
Get to Know Our Arts Provider:

ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer