Integrating the Arts into Your Classroom 

Learners Edge Webinar - November 2016

The "A" in STEAM - Adding in the Arts - Ideas for Any Teacher

collaboration-1.jpg Why do the Arts matter to you? How can you incorporate the Arts into your traditional lesson plans? Listen to the conversation and leave with some hints of how you can add the “A” into your STEM Education and infuse more art into any content you teach. This webinar conversation will inspire ideas for why you should and how you could jump in to grab some arts-energy for yourself and all your students!

Below is the webinar recording , the handouts presented during the webinar, and the presentation slides. We hope you will take what you learned and try it out in your own classroom!


Questions and Answers from the Webinar:

q-and-a.jpgWe received an abundance of amazing questions during the webinar. We wanted to make sure we addressed all the applicable questions and shared them with you. 

Q: I’ve heard about “teaching artists.”  How do teachers connect with them?  

A: Here are suggestions to start:

  • Google Search for “teaching artists in (your community)”
  • Ask teachers and school district colleagues about successful art residencies
  • Google arts organizations or agencies in your community. Resources are widely offered online.
  • Ask your school PTO or PTA about accessing art residency resources. These programs are commonly provided through fundraising budgets.

Q: Brain research really supports movement – what is a good resource for arts-integration regarding dance and movement?  I’m a P.E. teacher.

A: Education Closet has excellent online lesson plans for all the arts, including dance.
Also, explore, ArtsEdge – Kennedy Center also has online lesson plans for all the arts and grade levels.

Q: I teach math and science – what are some good resources for me to use?

A: The textbook by Sousa and Pilecki, From STEM to STEAM: Building Brain Compatible Strategies to Integrate the Arts is a great book. In fact,  any textbook about STEAM Education will have arts-integration resources for math, science, engineering, and technology. Here are two other great resources: 

  • NEA website has some great lesson plans and resources for all subjects with arts-integration.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida – has a district website for arts-integrated lessons – by subject.

Q: What if your principal doesn’t approve of spending instructional time on the arts? 

A: Administrators are often required to cut P.E., Art, Music specialist classes due to the assessment emphasis on math and science. Principals will be most-often be thrilled with any individual teacher or team arts-integration plan to cover those needs. There is so much research pointing to successful achievement gains for students who are consistently engaging in the arts. Check out some of the resources we’ve provided within the webinar and have some data points ready to share.

  • Explain your arts-integration plan as an engagement instructional goal.
  • Highlight teaching collaborations, including specialists, special education, ESL, etc. 

Q: How can we justify teaching and learning time on the arts when we are working with at-risk students who need more time to meet goals?

A: Arts-integration research is most clear demonstrating the increased achievement gains for at-risk student populations, especially at the secondary level.

  • The arts support reading development, which is at the core of achievement gaps. There is research to support this.
  • Engagement is considered a key factor in lower achievement for at-risk students. The arts impact achievement by increasing student and teacher engagement through creativity and collaboration.

Q: How do the arts support special education students specifically with IEP restrictions?

A: Arts-integration is a philosophy that blends beautifully with UDL. UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING is a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that:

  • Provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged.
  • Reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.
  • Special education students who are mainstreamed will flourish in a UDL classroom because choice is a huge component for action and expression of learning which accommodates all learning styles, multiple intelligences, and engagement.
  • Students with any specific need – physical, emotional, learning disability – can engage in any content learning, because choice is offered and encouraged for all levels of practice and assessment.
  • Arts-integration is enhanced by collaboration – students with their peers – and teachers (regular classroom and special education) planning for instruction.

Q: What are some easy ways teachers can infuse the arts right away in their classrooms – without a huge commitment to curriculum and assessment planning time?

A: Easy is a different feeling and measurement for each teacher, but here are some simple ideas for arts-integration:

  • Start with transition times – elementary teachers can add in dance, movement, songs, poetry into these in-between timeframes and you can invite students to contribute content-related creations that enhance current learning topics.
  • Day class starters can include arts engagement – doodling to demonstrate new content learning; free-writing using a content-creative prompt; digital apps to create a collage of new learning/topic – save and build for a week; partner podcasts – ongoing interviews about new learning – save and create for a week.

Why do the Arts matter?

inspired.jpgIn the webinar, we asked attendees Why do the Arts Matter to you? Here are some of their great responses!

  • The Arts can be a big motivator - they are looked at as fun activities
  • The Arts are a creative way for students to express themselves other than traditional ways.
  • The Arts help students become better collaborators
  • The Arts can engage kids with their passion
  • The Arts can help engage all students of all abilities
  • The Arts help me (as a teacher) get excited about teaching
  •  The Arts foster creativity
  •  The Arts mutilple enable multiple forms of communication: express thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc..
  •  The arts are part of everything. All objects, merchandise, architecture, your iphone started as a drawing. All students will be the future designers of these items plus medical and environmental devices which will help help all of mankind.
  •  Every child learns in a different way
    The arts gives students something to focus on and enhance the learning styles 
  •  Art matter becasue it helps some students understand their lessons. It allows them to express themselves. The Arts help us to explore concepts in a non-linear way and involves creative, original responses from students.
  •  Art matters because it helps foster imagination and multi- learning modes

Looking for More?

circle.jpgIf this topic has sparked an interest in you, or you simply want and need to learn more about integrating the Arts into your curriculum, let us suggest a few courses that may be of interest:

Course 5853: A Moving Body, A Thinking Brain- 3 graduate credits
Coures 5795: STEAM Education: Integrating the Arts into your Classroom - 3 graduate credits

Explore All Courses

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