Today I went to a workshop on integrating the arts into the classroom. I thought I was going to be there to learn how to use the core subjects in my art room and the classroom teachers to integrate the arts. I was even a little afraid I'd be bored because hey, I already integrate the core subjects into my art classes. I even teach soon to be teachers, ways to do it when they have their own classes.
But much to my surprise I was wrong----
What I have thought of as integration of arts and core subjects is more like "parallel" teaching. I talk about & do a project about say- Native Americans. I even sometimes, happen to do it at the same time they are covering it in class. But I have now decided that integrating is more than that.
I have long be proud of the fact that I teach so many different things in my art class. But today I was challenged by the fact that maybe I'm not "teaching" the core with my art classes. I go a long with the core curriculum. I need to add more teaching strategies into my lessons. When we read a story, do we stop and talk about the vocabulary and the meaning of the words for comprehension? Do I have my students write a reflection or artist statement or even a poem or short story? Do we do things like little art science experiments? Could I expand on what I already do and integrate more than one way? Yes.
But there is a catch. I still have to teach my own art standards. So my integration has to come naturally. It also should have significance to the student and you, the teacher. Now this is not my original idea. Our presenters from the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education stressed this idea over and over. By the way I'm glad they did. Because if they hadn't I might have felt the need to run out and start teaching our math, reading and science curriculum just like the classroom teachers! But I won't, this time. I do think I have a chance to teach or reteach with my own style, topics in my art classes that they also teach in the classroom. Students learn differently and I explain things differently than a lot of classroom teachers. lol
So now I am back to "integrating"or "enhancing" the core curriculum with/in my art classes. Almost but not quite where I started. The difference is that I am rethinking and I have the desire to do more and be a better educator. This old dog is trying out new tricks. I'm doing it to help my students learn. Don't worry I always put Art first.
Now I have some more thinking to do.