Whether you're an experienced arts educator, or a teacher looking for ways to bring life to your curriculum through visual arts, music, drama and dance, this group will provide a place to meet, share, and imagine!

Arts Integration!

Gale Sheaffer

I believe this group needs a new name to stand along side STEM and Technology Integration!

ARTS INTEGRATION!

Gale Sheaffer

Comments (55)

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Grade Eight Teacher, Group Moderator, Facilitator/teacher arts@newman

Re: Arts Integration

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Hi Gayle,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm all over the arts integration name, but I know that there are people here that are teaching arts in a "specific discipline" type of way.

I would like to know, however, what people mean when they talk about arts integration.

stephen

Arts Integration

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Hi, Stephen. Just joined Edutopia and excited to find this discussion. I think one of the best examples of true arts integration is in the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. There, art (in most cases visual art) is used, not to teach a specific lesson, but as one of the languages children use to represent their thoughts and understanding, and also to negotiate and construct meaning, knowledge and understanding with fellow classmates and teachers.

To do this effectively, however, students and teachers need skill and experience in whatever art they are using. The skill that these children display is quite remarkable.

Can something similar be done with music, drama, etc? Certainly. In the case of music, however, developing the skills necessary to use it in this way takes more time.

Have you seen the Lab Conservatory School in Boston (used to be affiliated with the New England Conservatory)? They are a good resource along with the Journal for Learning through Music (available free upon request).

An easier way to integrate arts is to construct individual lesson plans that synthesize some kind of learning in the arts and in another subject (e.g. physics + building instruments, etc.), and building relationships between subject teachers, art teachers and artists.

Finally, I think of arts integration as a way to integrate the "right brain" and all those "21st Century" skills and ways of thinking that are not necessarily addressed in classrooms today. Arts can model and add elements of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning (from Dan Pink's book A Whole New Mind) to the classroom.

Ingrid

Art Teacher from the Adirondacks, New York

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I think a group "Arts Integration" is a great idea, but a separate idea from this group, at least as I see it. As an art teacher, I am seeking discussions for my development and growth from others in similar fields. Integrating the arts is a complete topic on its own, and I would be interested in joining that group as well, I just feel it would attract a distinct audience that might be very different than this one. (Although many of us would I'm sure be a part of both)

Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

Arts Integration starts with Arts

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I agree that arts integration would be a great discussion group on its own, but I also think that it's important to keep the discussion going in this group. Arts integration starts with the arts so it's a good idea to keep arts teachers talking about it. In my view, good arts integration needs artists. While classroom teachers can eventually do it by themselves, they need the support and training of artists first.

Founder of The Kids for Coltrane Project in Education

Artful Thinking

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I am enjoying this discussion. I teach through the arts. I am not an artist, but an artistic human being. I think too often teachers are stifled by the system because they are not "officially" art teachers, music teachers, etc. The program I founded "The Kids for Coltrane" connects the curriculum using media, dance, music, art, literacy, drama, math, social studies, and science. I do not see the arts as something separate...although it most certainly can be. Teaching through the arts is about communication. I know it works...and the best thing is that it connects the affective domain and the cognitive domain exquisitely.

Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

Christine, though you don't

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Christine, though you don't consider yourself an artist, would you say that you're an arts educator? It seems to me, based on viewing your site and your comments, that you are. To qualify my earlier comment, I think that an arts educator needs to be present. Arts integration means (to me) that both the arts content and the non-arts content are seamlessly presented in the classroom.

Gifted/Talented pull out program grades 4, 5, 6 from Spokane, Washington

Hello Christine. I enjoyed

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Hello Christine. I enjoyed looking at your wonderful website just now. I would love to know more of how you started your Illumination Cafe!
I have a feeling it would be something that would become a very positive and creative force for the children in my own educational place in the world.
Thank you,
Diane

Founder of The Kids for Coltrane Project in Education

Hi Joan! First may I say I am

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Hi Joan! First may I say I am honored to be co-facilitating this fabulous group with you! Yes, I would agree that both the arts content and non-arts content can be seamlessly presented in the classroom. And I thank you for calling me an arts educator...that is a huge compliment. My point here is that I am not a trained artist or a licensed art teacher...I just view the world with artful thinking. I am a licensed elementary school teacher who teaches through the arts. All teachers should be permitted to teach through the arts...this allows for the expression of the soul and creates environments which lead to original critical thinking for students and fills them with joy! I must say that I certainly learn from incredible arts educators, but my creativity is an expression of who I am...and so I believe all teachers have this in them and should be allowed to make the connections to the arts as they teach. This opens up a magnificent world to the children...and that is what you see when you look into the world of "The Kids for Coltrane". Learning through the arts allows children to reach for the stars!

Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

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Hi Christine! I agree with you totally. It's so interesting to be on either side of approaches to arts integration, both of which work. You are an arts educator because you are educated about the art form that you integrate in the classroom. I think that there needs to be a foundation of education in the arts, either practice or criticism. If not, then I hope that an artist or arts teacher can be involved to make sure that arts content is being conveyed. What will the students know or be able to do in the art form, as well as what will they know or be able to do in the non-arts content?

Founder of The Kids for Coltrane Project in Education

The Illumination Cafe

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Hi Diane,

Thanks so much for checking out my website www.kidsforcoltrane.com, and for your kind words. The Illumination Cafe was a dream of mine. I wanted to create a nourishing place where educators could go to share their expertise. The Illumination Cafe was a think tank that I created which was a wonderful place where teachers from the Holliswood School in Queens would come together to share best practices in a relaxing environment. My colleagues and I would meet during lunch throughout the year and create our own professional development. The cafe was praised by reviewers who came to our school. My inspiration for the Illumination Cafe came from work coming out of Harvard University and the Society for Organizational Learning. Please check out their websites. They may help you create your own think tank.

http://pzweb.harvard.edu/Research/Rounds.htm

http://www.solonline.org/

If you want any more information about the Illumination Cafe or the Kids for Coltrane Project, please do not hesitate to ask.

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