School Transformation Through Arts Integration

For this installment of Schools That Work, we chose Wiley H. Bates Middle School, a public school in Annapolis, Maryland. The school became fully arts integrated in 2009, and since then they have seen significant improvements in both academics and behavior. We visited them to learn more about how they use arts integration and why it's been so effective for them.

By Mariko Nobori

What do Mars and modern dance have to do with each other? How do you connect fractions with Andy Warhol? At Wiley H. Bates Middle School, in Annapolis, Maryland, the answer is arts integration. Every teacher there is committed to weaving the arts and standard curricula together to create a richer and more lasting learning experience for their students.

Arts integration goes beyond including art projects in class; it is a teaching strategy that seamlessly merges arts standards with core curricula to build connections and provide engaging context. For example, in a science classroom you might see students choreographing a dance using locomotor and nonlocomotor movements to demonstrate their understanding of rotation versus revolution of the planets (PDF). In a math class, you might see students learning fractions by examining composition in Warhol's Campbell's soup paintings. (Read more…)

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STW Edutopia's Schools That Work series profiles K-12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn. Focusing on evidenced-based successes, we create how-to videos and actionable tip lists to help you transform your schools. We get close to the teachers, students, principals, and other administrators who have changed the future of their schools, and show you how they did it.

These educators also share their resources -- rubrics, lesson plans, assessments, and training tools that will help you build your own successes.

And one more thing: We connect you with teachers and administrators from around the country who are collaborating to make similar improvements in education.

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