PK-12 Overarching Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

Overarching enduring understandings provide a conceptual foundation for all students. These statements focus on larger concepts or processes and the relationships that exist that foster transfer of discrete knowledge and skill. As these enduring understandings are written closer to the classroom and grade level, they become more specific and granular in levels of sophistication.

Essential questions prompt inquiry, transfer and, through a PK-12 level lens, are more general in nature; providing the opportunity for students to answer the questions in progressively higher levels of sophistication as they progress through the grade levels.

Enduring Understandings

Students understand that -
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Solving problems in both conventional and innovative ways involves various types of reasoning and critical reflection.*
  • Communication: Communication through artistic media conveys ideas and aids in the interpretation of ideas.*
  • Collaboration: Accomplishing a common goal requires individuals to work together effectively.*
  • Creativity: Selecting creative ideas involves drawing on a variety of sources to create personally meaningful products.*
  • Innovation: Creating and reinterpreting works of art require investigation of new and traditional ideas and processes.*
  • Information Literacy: Information from a variety of sources requires accurate and creative evaluation and a consideration of ethical and legal issues.
  • Media Literacy: Media influences culture, beliefs,and behaviors.*
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Adapting to change in a variety of artistic contexts requires flexibility.*
  • Initiative and Self-Direction: Motivated, self-directed, and reflective learners, who independently manage their goals and time continuously improve as artists.*
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills: Socially and culturally diverse teams increase innovation and quality in their work.*
  • Productivity and Accountability: Setting goals, accepting responsibility, and refining their work will assist in meeting high standards of excellence and accountability.*
  • Leadership and Responsibility: The study of the arts inspires others, optimizes the skills of team members and benefits the larger community.*
  • Global Awareness: Working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect strengthens global awareness.**
  • Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy: Making appropriate personal economic choices in creating budgets is essential in estimating the time and cost of materials, labor and other marketplace factors.**
  • Civic Literacy: Study in the arts provides a context for exploring the rights and obligations of citizenship at the local, state, national and global levels, as well as the implications of civic decisions.**
  • Health Literacy: Participating in the arts will help them acquire understandings and habits of healthy behavior.**
  • Environmental Literacy: Responsibility as stewards of the earth is to utilize appropriate practices with reusing and recycling materials when creating or performing various art forms.**

*These enduring understandings link directly to National Competency Skill Set Map for the Arts.
**These enduring understandings link directly to the Iowa Core 21st Century Skill Literacies.


Essential Questions

   K-12 All Arts
  • Why should I care about art?
  • What’s the difference between a thoughtful and a thoughtless artistic judgment?
  • How does creating and performing in the arts differ from viewing the arts?
  • To what extent does the viewer properly affect and influence the art and the artist and to what extent is the art for the artist?
  • How do underlying structures unconsciously guide the creation of art works?
  • Does art have boundaries?
  • When is art criticism vital and when is it beside the point?
  • Does art define the culture or does culture define art?
  • What is old and what is new in any work of art?
  • How important is ‘new’ in art? 
   K-12 Music
  • Why is performing a variety of music an essential component to a well-rounded musician?
  • How do people sing and play an instrument?
  • How do people create music?
  • How is music communicated visually and aurally?
  • How is music analyzed, described, and understood?
  • How is a musical performance evaluated?
  • How does music reflect as well as shape history and culture? 
   K-12 Visual Arts
  • How do learned skills and developed talents lead to greater art?
  • How can visual structure be used to communicate with the viewer?
  • What is the relationship between symbols/subject matter and communication?
  • How do art and culture affect each other?
  • How are works of art ‘read’, understood and evaluated?
  • How does artwork relate to other fields and daily life? 
   K-12 Drama (to be added)

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