Humanities Connections

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Humanities Connections explores the basics of dance, theater, music, and visual arts. This series is designed for an audience of students in grades 7 through 12. Each of the sections - theater, dance, music, and visual arts - contains teacher broadcasts for background, and student broadcasts for use in class. The segments are divided by screens and any of the "Basics" may be a starting place.

Connections is not scheduled for rebroadcast at this time. If you'd like to purchase tapes, call Office Manager, Deborah Harris at 800.333.9764.


Rationale: KET's Connections Program/ Middle School Emphasis

The study of the arts has both personal and social value for middle school students. This is a time of traumatic social and psychological reorganization. It is a time of developing self-concept and emerging sex role identification, a time for a new awareness of peers, and a time for dealing with peer pressure. In the face of all these pulls, each child needs positive maps to follow. Music, visual arts, drama, dance, and literature provide an avenue toward answers about humanity. The arts provide an effective bridge to understanding and appreciating other cultures--and to understand others is to understand and appreciate oneself. The middle school student, malleable and impressionable, is clearly open to the shaping and healing properties of the arts.

A middle school program in the arts should address both individual needs and societal demands unique to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Middle school students are establishing ideas toward learning that will be with them for the rest of their lives. They are seeking both concrete and abstract activities, and are open to some of the most dynamic ways of learning: hands-on activities, group projects, and experimental and exploratory processes. Because there is a huge developmental and social range in middle school, this setting offers great challenges and equally great possibilities. At the heart of the KET's Connections programs for middle school students is the belief that every student will rise to meet high expectations and the demands of a challenging, exciting curriculum. In the 16 segments of Humanities Connections, our goal is to create a curriculum so rich, colorful, and compelling that students can't help but respond.

A challenging, well-directed humanities program is the ultimate exploratory activity for middle school students. To be educated is to be visually literate. A strong middle school program in humanities helps students to understand the historical and cultural context of respected artistic works. As students' imaginations are opened, they practice making sound aesthetic judgments, and begin to think independently and creatively. These experiences should recognize and encourage emerging modes of adult behavior. Students should explore the idea that art may hold the key to who we have been as a people and what we may become. Through a variety of experiences students should begin to deal formally with abstract notions that explain the rapidly changing world around them and to invest their own experiences with meaning. Connections should challenge students to begin to think creatively and in a way fitting for a multi cultural society of the 21st century. Finally, Humanities Connections, in its emphasis on the links between the arts and culture, science, and history, should be a basic part of the middle school framework.

Theater
  • Teacher audience: What makes theater magical? Discussion of set, lighting, sound, costumes, actors and acting. Broad ideas to toss out to kids.
  • Teacher audience: History of Theater. Traces development of theater from Greece to the beginning of the 20th century. Includes discussion of commedia del' arte and Shakespearean stage. (May be suitable to show to students, also.) Who's who in American Theater. Update on the trends in current theater. Clips from works by Arthur Miller, David Henry Hwang, David Mamet, and Kentuckians Marsha Norman and George C. Wolfe.
  • Student audience: Performance part 1. What makes performance fun to watch? What makes theater timeless? What should you look for in theater? Performance part 2. What are some techniques actors use? See a performance of "A+" (20:00) and look for movement, gesture, diction, improvisation.
  • Student audience: Studying production through The Crucible. Students discuss their roles in staging, scenery, props, lighting, sound, costumes, and makeup. Edited version of Acts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of The Crucible, intercut with comments from students on their roles in the production.

Dance
  • Teacher audience: Ideas about how to talk to students about dance; project idea. (15:00)
  • Teacher audience: A brief history of ballet Background for The Nutcracker. (10:00)
  • Student audience: New ways to watch dance, elements of dance: space-time-force, Nutcracker clips from Act 1.
  • Student audience: Dancer Rebecca Ratliffe does a voice over of Arabian dance. Discussion of divertissements. (4:58)
    Full performance, Act 2. Nutcracker.
    First half of Act 2
    Comparison: How two choreographers handle identical sections of The Nutcracker.
    Last half of Act 2

Music
  • Teacher audience: Music can be approached in a huge variety of ways-intellectually, emotionally, or even viewed comparatively with a work of art.
  • Teacher audience: Another way to listen is to explore the thoughts of a great composer. This section is a tribute to Bach.
  • Teacher audience: A third way to listen is through a historical perspective. This segment examines the musical "ism's."
  • Student audience: Basic elements of music-melody, harmony, tempo, rhythm, timbre, dynamics.
  • Student audience: More tools of the musician-motif, cadence, phrases, improvisation, call and response... and a review of all elements.

Visual Arts
  • Teacher audience: No one could possibly know all the answers, so this teacher-tape is dedicated to the art of questioning. In teaching our students to appreciate visual art, one question to begin with is-What is the purpose of this piece of art? What is the artist's intent?
  • Teacher audience: Questions to ask a painter. An interview with Lexington artist Carolyn Hisel.
  • Teacher audience: A final question: How do the visual arts parallel, or intersect with, other arts?
  • Student audience: Elements of art, the tools of the artist. Definition and discussion of each of the elements of arts, using artists from Kentucky's Humanities Reference Chart as examples.
  • Student audience: Principles of design. Consider ways Goya uses each of the principles of design in The Third of May.
  • Student audience: Masterworks. A fine artist has great command of the elements of art and principles of design. A truly great artist creates a work that addresses the spirit of the times. A discussion of ten paintings--focusing on how they fit into the culture of their times.
  • Student audience: Be a SAGE. Using the acronym S-A-G-E, students apply what they've learned to See, Analyze, Guess about, and Evaluate any painting.
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