A Little Arts Integration…Part 1.

So this is a response to an article I read (http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/LA/0862-nov08/LA0862Focus.pdf) for my literacy class. I just thought I’d share since arts integration in the classroom is something [else] I’m really passionate about. Enjoy!
Let me first start by stating that I am one of the biggest arts advocates you may ever meet. I LOVE the arts and totally revel in all of the magic that the arts create and bring to students.
Yes, the arts have magical powers.

One of my favorite quotes from this article is “The arts are important human ways of understanding and knowing, no less important than the sciences. Studying the arts should thus never be a frill, but should be a basic part of what we expect our children to learn.” (Winner & Cooper 2006) I love this mindset that the arts should be a basic part of what we expect children to learn!
Reading this article made me think back to the English/Language Arts teacher I had in middle school. I was in her AIG English class for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade and at first didn’t really appreciate how great her assignments were until I got to high school English when all we did was sit at desks and do grammar reviews from an overhead projector. Mrs. Crowell TOTALLY integrated the arts into almost every assignment and project she gave us — we were either filming movies, writing scripts and songs, making powerpoints, etc. I am so incredibly thankful for her use of the arts in class; I definitely know I benefited from it.
Today in the classroom, there are so many new ways to integrate arts — how fantastic! Using glogs, blogs, wikis, and more, students are able to be creative with this visual media. Technological advances provide countless ways for our students to thrive in the arts and I think that that should be encouraged both in and out of the classroom. In relation to this, I liked how the article pointed out that if students are only receiving exposure to arts-related programs once or twice a week through an hour (if that!) of “specials” then the arts will be marginalized and the students’ full potential will not be reached. Why would we deprive our students in such a way!?
When I first entered the Elementary Education program here at Carolina, I was an Arts focused major; now I am a Spanish language focus. I am happy with my focus now, but I know I would be ecstatic with an Arts focus. I decided to change to make myself “more marketable” and I knew arts programs were the first to get cut if schools were losing funding (this makes me sound like a terrible person switching to be more marketable but I swear to you I LOVE Spanish and I have such a heart for Hispanic students it’s not even funny). I HATE that arts programs get cut in schools. I think it’s ridiculous. Because funding for arts programs are low, I find it to be my responsibility (and I do hope that you find it to be yours, too!) as a non-arts teacher to integrate the arts into whatever it is that I may be teaching.

Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now to make one final comment: ARTS INTEGRATION RULES.

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