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February 2013 | Volume 70 | Number 5
Eileen Landay and Kurt Wootton
The Performance Cycle brings literacy and the arts together to give students a reason to learn.
When Len Newman sat down one August to plan his humanities classes for the year, he began by thinking carefully about the students he knew would be coming into his high school classroom. What themes would they find compelling? What questions and academic challenges would resonate? What texts would be inspiring and informative and act as a springboard for their developing literacy skills?
Fresh in his mind was the professional development program he had completed the previous summer on the campus of Brown University at the ArtsLiteracy Project's lab school. There, each teacher had been paired with a professional artist. All eight teaching teams had designed and taught a monthlong course to youth from local high schools. All groups designed their courses around a common essential question, a common print text, and a curriculum framework called the Performance Cycle. The summer's text had been Sophocles' Antigone, challenging material for the Providence-area high school students who attended the program. Each teaching team wove together literacy activities and multiple art forms to bring the classic play alive.
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Copyright © 2013 by ASCD
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