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Alaska Department of Education & Early Developmentation
Glossary of Terms Common Chapters
Assessments. Processes of appraising or evaluating student work. (See Evaluation below.)
Constructivist. Referring to an educational theory (constructivism) that posits that people construct personal understanding by modifying their existing concepts (or schema) in light of new evidence and experience in order to reduce discrepancies between past knowledge and new observations. This implies that students do not simply accept what has been taught, but rather shift their understanding in response to what has been taught.
Content Area. The subject area: in Alaska the arts, English/language arts, geography, government/citizenship, history, math, science, skills for a healthy life, technology, and world languages.
Cooperative Learning. Instructional strategies that develop cooperative group behaviors including the division of tasks, peer teaching, and individual and group accountability for products. Cooperative learning strategies explicitly teach students how to be productive and supportive group members.
Curriculum. Curriculum is what students should know, be able to do, and be committed to (content), how it is taught (instruction), how it is measured (assessment), and how the educational system is organized (context).
Curriculum Framework. A document that provides information, guidelines, suggested resources, and models for districts as they revise curriculum.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice. The use of content, instruction, and assessment that meets the student's ability to reason, interpret, focus, communicate, and interact, both socially and academically. These abilities change significantly as a result of age and experiences.
Embedded Assessment. Assessment that occurs during the course of instruction and is indistinguishable from instruction. A test at the end of a unit is not embedded. Maintaining a checklist that is recorded by the teacher at any time when the teacher witnesses the student reaching an expectation is embedded.
Equity Evaluation. Inventories and assessments of the behaviors at sites or in districts that support or discourage equitable participation and success by students of all cultures. These can include collecting data on the participation and tracking of diverse students in particular classes, the cultural representation among visible learning partners in the schools, common instructional strategies, text analyses, library collection analyses, and attitude inventories among students, faculty and staff.
Evaluation. The process of testing, appraising, and judging achievement, growth, product, and process or changes in these using formal or informal techniques.
Hands-On Learning. Instructional activities in which the students manipulate the materials, as contrasted with activities in which the students simply read about or hear about phenomena.
Inquiry-Based Learning. Instructional activities that are initiated through central questions or investigations. In inquiry-based learning students often determine the answers by collecting and synthesizing their own data.
Integrated, Interdisciplinary Instruction. Instruction that addresses standards from more than one content area. This can occur in a variety of forms: applied projects, thematic instruction, service learning projects, social-issue investigations, science-technology-society investigations, simulations, etc.
Interdisciplinary Curriculum. Topics and concepts tied together, i.e., thematic instruction.
Key Elements. Itemized lists that further describe the content of each standard. Key elements identify the major component parts, features, traits, or dimensions of the Alaska content standards.
Learner-centered Instruction. Teaching and learning focused on the students' needs, interests, and abilities.
Learning Partners. Parents, elders, primary care givers, other family members, the business community, mentors, and other volunteers who work with students both in and out of the classroom.
Learning Styles. People tend to have preferences in their approach to learning tasks. Some prefer to make random associations. Others are more comfortable with structured interpretations. Some prefer abstract interactions with ideas, while others require a concrete experience to introduce a concept. Research suggests that most of us learn best when information is presented in a way that matches our preferred learning styles. Research also suggests that our learning style preferences can be broadened.
Measurement Yardsticks (Processes, Instruments). The tools of assessment, including, but not limited to, checklists and other rubrics, portfolios, and tests.
Modality. A generic term referring to ways of thinking, including both learning styles and multiple intelligences.
Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner proposes that all humans are endowed with seven forms of intelligence: mathematical/logical, linguistic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial, and kinesthetic. Schools usually emphasize the linguistic and mathematical/logical intelligences.
Preservice. Training prior to being employed as a teacher.
Reference Kits. Collections of reference books, articles, and tapes for curriculum development committees to use during the curriculum revision process. These can be borrowed from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
Reliability. The consistency of assessment results from an instrument over time or over a number of trials.
Rubric. A scoring guide including a summary listing of the characteristics that distinguish high quality from low quality work.
Scaffolding. Instruction that is organized in a way that identifies the students' prior knowledge about a topic and creates connections between past understandings or experiences and new knowledge.
Scoring guides. See Rubric.
Standards. Broad lists of what students should know, be able to do , and be committed to. The State of Alaska has created student standards in the following areas: English/language arts, history, geography, civics/government, science, mathematics, arts, world languages, healthy life skills, and technology.
Statutes. Laws enacted by the legislative branch upon which educational regulations are based.
Talent Bank. A list of local educators willing to share their specific areas of expertise with others.
Thematic Instruction. A specific form of integrated instruction in which students investigate many factors related to one topic or theme through many lenses.
Utility. The degree to which assessment information is useful, understandable, easily obtained, and affordable.
Validity. The degree to which an assessment instrument
measures what it intends to measure.
Aesthetic. The beauty of an object.
Aesthetic criteria. Standards on which to make judgments about the artistic merit of a work of art.
Art making. Combining the elements of composition with other art forms to develop a finished product.
Imagery. The mental reconstruction of an experience without
the original sensory stimulation.
AB. A two part compositional form with an A theme and a B theme; the binary form consists of two distinct, self-contained sections that share either a character or quality (such as the same tempo, movement quality, or style).
ABA. A three-part compositional form in which the second section contrasts with the first section. The third section is a restatement of the first section in a condensed, abbreviated, or extended form.
Axial. Movement of the body around its own axis; non-locomotor movement occurring above a stationary base.
Body shape. The spatial contour the body makes such as curved, angular, twisted, or straight.
Canon. A musical or dance composition in which two or more parts recur, repeat, or interrelate with each other.
Choreography. The art of planning and arranging dance movements into a meaningful whole.
Composition. Using repetition, sequence, contrast, development, climax, and variation to organize movements into unified and coherent pieces that lead to unity.
Creative movement. Dance activity with emphasis on personal discovery and original movement with the intent to express, to communicate and enjoy.
Dance. Movement organized in time, space, and energy for the purpose of expression, communication, and personal satisfaction.
Dynamics. Elements of effort (time, space, force) which give contrast to the basic movements. Also the expressive content of human movement, sometimes called qualities, in particular the way in which energy is used.
Energy. An element of dance, relating to the body's vitality or power initiating, controlling and stopping a movement.
Folk dance. Dance which is reflective of the forms and patterns of a cultural group.
Form. As organic unity: the importance of recognizing and considering the organic steps of growth in the development of dance as art.
As content: the organization of psychological elements into content.
As structure: the organization of motor elements into visible form.
General space. A defined area of space through which dancers can travel using all the available space. The area of space could include a dance studio, gym, or classroom.
Improvisation. Spontaneous exploration in response o problem solving, self awareness or to other criteria. (See composition.)
Kinesthetic Awareness. An internalized awareness of body placement and movement; awareness of the relative tension and range of movement in the body.
Laban. Movement educator in England who developed a theory for how and why we move, a method for evaluating and documenting movement.
Level. Relative differences in height in relation to the floor and aspect of space.
Locomotor. Movement requiring or resulting in a change of location. Propelling oneself across the floor.
Movement phrase. The development of a motif, similar to a sentence or short idea, into a longer statement that comes to a temporary or permanent finish.
Non-locomotor. Movement which does not result in a change of location.
Rondo. A form based on alternation between a repeated section (A) and contrasting episodes (B and/or C), for example, ABACABA.
Space. An element of dance, relating to the area through which one moves.
Technique. Those movements learned in the on-going preparation and development of the body to be a well tuned instrument for use.
Time. An element of dance, relating to the rhythmic aspects
Articulation. The shaping of sounds by a speaker's lips, teeth, tongue, and hard and soft palates.
Character. A person, animal, or entity in a story, scene, or play with specific distinguishing physical, mental, and attitudinal attributes. Character portrayal is likely to be more complex and unpredictable than role portrayal.
Characterization. The process of creating a believable "person" by exploring the physical, social, and psychological dimensions of a role.
Gesture. An expressive movement that communicates.
Scenery/set. The arrangement of scenery (e.g. curtains, flats, drops, platforms), properties, and lights to represent the locale in a dramatic performance.
Script. The written dialogue, description, and directions provided by the playwright.
Theme. The central thought, idea, or significance of action
with which a play deals.
Genre. A type or category of literary art (e.g., letters, journals, personal narratives, pictures or dictated stories, poetry, drama, documents, storytelling).
Written modes. Informative, narrative, persuasive, descriptive.
Portfolio. A collection of works with a specific purpose.
Literary devices. Something in a literary work designed
to achieve a particular artistic effect, (e.g., figurative
Accompaniment. A separate part or parts that accompany a solo or ensemble.
Articulation. Clarity and definition in musical performance by means of phrasing, accents, breath control, touch and bowing.
Aurally. Through the sense of hearing.
Bass clef. See clef.
Chord progression. A harmonic advancement from one chord to the next.
Chords. Simultaneous sounding of three or more tones.
Classroom instruments. A collection of instruments found in general music classroom. This could include: piano, autoharp, recorders, assorted percussion instruments, including percussion instruments from many different countries, xylophones and xylophone-like instruments.
Clef. Symbol written at the beginning of each staff to indicate the pitches of notes appearing on the lines and spaces of the staff. Treble and bass are the most common clefs.
Dynamics. Symbols or words indicating changes in loudness.
Elements of music. Pitch, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, timbre, texture, form, tempo.
Embouchure. The formation of the lips brought into contact with the mouthpiece of a flute, oboe, horn, or other wind instrument.
Genre. A type or category of music (e.g., sonata, opera, oratorio, art song, gospel, suite, jazz, madrigal, march, work song, lullaby, barbershop, Dixieland).
Harmonic. A high tone above the normal pitch.
1) Chord structures and progressions within a musical composition.
2) Pleasing musical sound.
Instrumental music. Music performed on musical instruments rather than vocally.
Key. The basic scale and tonality of a composition.
Level of Difficulty. Music is generally classified into six levels of difficulty:
Level 1. Very easy; easy keys, meters, and rhythms; limited range.
Lever 2. Easy; may include changes of tempo, key, and meter; modest ranges.
Level 3. Moderately easy; contains moderate technical demands, expanded ranges, and varied interpretative requirements.
Level 4. Moderately difficult; requires well-developed technical skills, attention to phrasing and interpretation, and ability to perform various meters and rhythms in a variety of keys.
Level 5. Difficult; requires advanced technical and interpretive skills; contains key signatures with numerous sharps or flats, unusual meters, complex rhythms, subtle dynamic requirements.
Level 6. Very difficult; suitable for musically mature students of exceptional competence.
Meter signatures. Numerical symbols which indicate how many beats are grouped to form measures.
Meter. Regular groupings of beats into measures.
Orff. A philosophy of music education founded by Carl Orff. Orff pedagogy is characterized by an emphasis on rhythm, improvisation, dance and movement, as well as the use of world percussion instruments including modified xylophone-type instruments and recorders.
1) Selection and marking of phrases (which are groups of successive notes dividing a melody into a logical section) by a composer, editor, or performer.
2) Performance of phrases in musical composition.
Pitch. The highness or lowness of a musical sound.
1) The regular pulsation of music.
2) Symbols which indicate the duration of musical sound.
Tempo. The speed of rhythms.
Timbre. Audible elements, other than pitch and loudness which give a unique quality to a musical sound, for example, the difference between the sound of a clarinet and a trumpet.
Tonality. The organization of melody and/or harmony around a specific pitch.
Treble Clef. See clef.
Artistic elements. Visual properties of color, line, shape, form, texture and value. Sensory properties are immediately visible in a work of art.
Contemporary. Refers to new uses of traditional media or techniques or newly developed materials and/or techniques such as video used by artists.
Elements. The elements of visual art are line, pattern, color, shape, texture, and form.
Genre. A type or category of visual art (e.g., painting, drawing, sculpture, computer graphics).
Media. The materials used to create a work of art. A medium refers to one material such as clay.
Principles. The principles of visual art are unity, variety, balance, emphasis, proportion/size and rhythm.
Subject matter. The images portrayed in a work of art.
Technique. A specific way of applying or manipulating media.
Theme. The overall idea of a work of art.
Traditional. The repetition of symbols, images, and forms meaningful to a specific culture, which are handed down through the generations of artisans. There is little or no alteration stylistically, and the media choice and technique remains the same.
Visual design. The interplay of the elements and principles of design, usually in a two-dimensional format such as an advertisement.