By Melanie Holland, CEI Intern.
Arts Education has frequently taken a backseat to the concepts of 21st century learning, something, and STEM. While teachers regularly consider how to integrate science and technology into their reading and math initiatives, they rarely consider the positive effects of Arts Integration. Just as effective as STEM integration, the arts have unique parallels to the Common Core Standards that can help students grasp concepts in ways distinctive from the norm’”which is especially if they are visual learners.
From Susan M. Riley, expert in arts integration and curriculum innovation, come recommendations on how to seamlessly incorporate art projects and lessons into the Common Core State Standards.
Below, we provide three examples of engaging projects we hope to see incorporated into classrooms this school year.
These projects require 21st century thinking and learning, both on the part of the teacher and the students. Teachers have the opportunity to collaborate together, research ideas, and focus on practical application of their educational goals. For students, these projects offer the chance to problem-solve, think creatively, and work in a context with multiple concepts and theories woven together to create a final product.
Museum of the Arts (grades 6-8) incorporates the poetry of Robert Frost to help students synthesize how choices are made. Students present those choices through the arts into a museum, which they curate as a group. Students break into small groups to synthesize stanzas into one sentence. As a large group, they will watch a video that explains how museum curators make decisions. Students will think about choices they made in forging their own path and present it in less than 30 seconds.
ELA Standard: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
Art Standard: Design a plan for a narrative art exhibit and display within a defined space.
Grid Composition (grades 5-8) uses digital photography and a grid system to understand composition and to translate that into a drawn piece of art. Students will examine photographs of various portraits and overlay grids on top of each photograph by using rulers to measure and draw the grid lines. They can begin with large grids, separating the portraits into 9ths and gradually add more grids until the grid contains 1 inch blocks. Students can examine how the value and hue of the colors vary within each block, as well as where the focal point of the photograph is in relationship to the grid. Students will each take a photograph of a peer in their class, choosing a focal point within the face to base their composition upon.
Math Standard: Students will understand ratio relationships through the use of a grid
Art Standard: Students will develop technical skills in composition of a piece of art and understand value and hue.
Stacking Statistics (grades 5-8) incorporates these speedstacking cups with math by using stem and leaf plots and line graphs. The students will work in pairs to do a 6-cup stack 3 times. Partners will record times using a stopwatch, and record data in classroom charts. The teacher will guide students in creating a stem and leaf plot using the classroom-wide data. Students will then create a stem and leaf plot using the same data, and teachers will demonstrate how to find the mode, median, outlier, mean, and range of the data.
Math Standard: Organize data into stem and leaf plot, find mean, median, mode, outlier, and range of data. Alternate use of data on line plot.
Art Standard: Apply the relationship between effort and improvement ‘“ show the relationship between effort and skill improvement over a determined amount of time through charting a performance
Susan Riley believes that any teacher, even those who view themselves as ‘not artsy’ can successfully implement Arts Integration if they focus on:
‘¢ Collaboration between arts and classroom teachers to find naturally-aligned objectives
‘¢ Using an arts area in which the classroom teacher is comfortable (for many, this starts with visual arts)
‘¢ Creating a lesson that truly teaches to both standards
‘¢ Assessing both areas equitably
Have confidence, check out her blog, and start integrating!