Sage Advice: Making Arts a Part of the Plan

How are you integrating the arts into other subjects in your curriculum?

How are you integrating the arts into other subjects in your curriculum?
Illustration of three stripped neckties and one pokka dot
Credit: Getty Images

Our small, rural district has been able to keep only band and publications in the secondary school curriculum, along with music appreciation for grades K-5. However, throughout the building we display artwork created by students for social studies, science, and language arts classes. Additionally, we encourage field trips to museums, plays, musicals, and concerts that tie in to the current course of studies.

Dana Compton

Owendale-Gagetown Area Schools
Owendale, Michigan

I have my geometry students choose one of M.C. Escher's works, research its medium, and do a short presentation on its attributes and the math concepts used. We discuss reflections, rotations, enlargements and dilations, and symmetry.

Sandy Riggle

Math teacher
New Albany High School
New Albany, Indiana

Kansas State University student teachers are using the arts in exciting ways: Students compose song lyrics to summarize the life of a famous individual. They draw objects and write a hieroglyphic cartouche for what those people want in their tombs. Students read about the Middle Ages and create mini-films with Microsoft Windows Movie Maker on a specific topic. A story corner is used each Friday to share original work. For math, the division dance is the favorite, performed in rap style with these movements:

  • Divide (slash arm diagonally)
  • Multipy (cross arms)
  • Subtract (slash arm horizontally)
  • Bring down (with one finger up, wiggle, and bend knees)

Catherine Jean Hedge

Clinical instructor
Junction City Middle School
Junction City, Kansas

Our school library is a place for creative, thoughtful learning. We use Kennedy Center drama techniques during story time to explore, share, and understand stories. Students use dramatic monologue, shadow puppetry, original illustrated books, radio plays, and videocasts to demonstrate their understanding of historical research.

Kristin Fontichiaro

Media specialist
Beverly Elementary School
Beverly Hills, Michigan

A combination of visiting and resident artists collaborate with our core academic faculty to create unique arts-based, cross-curricular learning experiences. These artistic endeavors challenge students to creatively experience math, science, language arts, and social studies learning through the lens of the artistic process. As a HOT (Higher Order Thinking) school, we find that this approach aligns with our theme, learning in and through the arts!

Leo Lavallee

Lincoln Middle School
Meriden, Connecticut

I play classical music when my students are doing independent work. When they're writing a report or a story, I have them draw a picture to go with it, varying the medium they use. Recently, we read Dogzilla, and the assignment was to make a volcano at home to erupt at school.

Pam Houdek

Third-grade teacher
LaCourte Oreilles Ojibwe School
Hayward, Wisconsin

Every year, we focus on a school theme. One year, our theme was folk, so the students studied folktales, folk dancing, folk art, and folk music. Another year, it was careers, and an assortment of presenters came to discuss their work, including a musician, a painter, and a photographer.

Suzanne Ivans

Chief school administrator
Stockton Borough School District
Stockton, New Jersey

Table of Contents
Magazine Issue: 
Feb 2009: Arts Education
TOC Section: 
Sage Advice