HOW TO INTEGRATE ART ACROSS THE CURRICULUM (Part One)
Cross-curriculum integration is crucial. Arts integration especially can provide an excellent way to discover how your students learn and foster their overall creativity. Increased creativity can lead to improvements in areas such as critical thinking, problem-solving, curiosity, and the willingness to try new things.
Using arts integration to discover how your students learn will allow you to tailor your students’ learning experience to maximise their learning capabilities. Modifying the learning experience for different learning styles enables students to feel more confident in their abilities.
The problem with arts integration is ensuring that curriculum and learning goals are still met without sacrificing the creativity and flexibility of art. It can be a complicated balancing act. To address this, we decided to split the topic over two blog posts.
Part One will focus on non-STEM subjects, and Part Two will tackle STEM.
Some students, especially young ones, can have trouble expressing their thoughts and ideas through their writing. Drawing and labelling pictures that represent their opinions can help them to organise ideas into a coherent concept. It can be an excellent in-between step for children that are just learning to write or a way for older children who are more visually oriented to solidify their ideas before they write them down.
Visual prompts can also make it easier to understand texts. Kids love an opportunity to inject some creativity into ‘dry’ subjects. Fun projects could involve:
- Creating a comic strip of their favourite character or historical figure going on an adventure. This activity can be scaled depending on the students’ capabilities.
- Help solidify vocabulary lessons by theming the list around something they could draw into a scene together. Alternatively, have no theme and see how students can incorporate the disparate elements into a semi-cohesive whole.
- Drawing and labelling images can be a great way to introduce learning a second language or even the history of where words come from, e.g. ‘wolf’ is a German word so have kids draw a German wolf.
- Comics provide a unique combination of images and story for people of all ages. Many ‘classic’ assigned texts have comic versions which could lead to class discussions about how students imagined the scene vs. how others have depicted it. Alternately, students could create their version of their favourite scene in a story. Sketching out a scene that they struggled to understand may also help students to wrap their head around complex ideas.
- Create vocabulary wall. Have students to brainstorm words that are useful for their current unit and display them creatively in the classroom. As you introduce new vocabulary throughout the term, you can add it and provide a visual reminder to help consolidate the word.
Everyone agrees that being too sedentary isn’t good for our health, but we still try and make kids sit still and focus for extended periods of time. Engaging physically with the educational material can help students ground new information in familiar experiences. It can also help students to dig deeper into units of study and truly understand a concept.
- Encourage students to role play. Most subjects provide opportunities for students to act out a role or a scene. English, History, Geography, HASS and more all deliver perfect opportunities for students to model the behaviour of characters and real people and thus develop a deeper understanding of the topic.
- Students can pretend to be a historical or fictional character and interview them. Ask them questions about who they are, where they came from, and why they did certain things. Answering in character allows students to identify with these figures and enables them to gain a better understanding of their relevance.
- Mock news reports. Asking students to create a mock news report on an event from history or fiction teaches them comprehension in a way that is fun and engaging.
- Models and dioramas can be a bit messy but kids of all ages love them. My Year 3 class completed a diorama on an Under the Sea theme which they thoroughly enjoyed! They provide an opportunity for children to be an active participant in understanding a topic.
- For older kids ‘graffiti conversations’ can be an interesting way to collaboratively brainstorm in a way that plays to everybody’s strengths. Divide kids into groups and provide each group with a prompt (it could be a picture, a quote, a question etc.,) and a big piece of paper. Ask the kids to respond to the prompt using any method they prefer. They might draw, ask questions of their own, and write poetry or song lyrics; the possibilities are limited only by their creativity.
Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed with planning, you’re spending too much time on school work and not enough at home with your family, your leisure time is non-existent…we give you all this free-time back by planning, preparing and creating teaching resources that have been developed by classroom teachers who have over 40 years’ experience teaching children in the classroom.
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