Integrating Art into the Classroom

How can art be used to generate more creative, expressive, and powerful thinking dispositions in students?  Using examples from the classroom, and participating in mini-lesson samples, we explored ways in which art can enhance curricular studies with students.

Using Art to Teach Thinking Routines

Artful Thinking website: “The goal of the Artful Thinking program is to help students develop thinking dispositions that support thoughtful learning – in the arts, and across school subjects.”  Many of the strategies exampled through their website are supportive of literacy strategies for students of all grade levels.

Click here to find an adapted resource list of Artful Thinking Routines, six of them are highlighted below.

Working in groups, we used the following strategies:

  • LOOKING 10 x 2
  • PERCEIVE. KNOW. CARE ABOUT.
  • BEGINNING. MIDDLE. END.
  • CLAIM. SUPPORT. QUESTION.
  • THINK. PUZZLE. EXPLORE.
  • WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?

Art 1

Don’t miss this!!  To see numerous classroom examples of the Artful Thinking ideas, check out A Culture of Thinking blog.  The student examples are vast and inspiring.  Although many are representative of elementary classroom work, each could be adapted for older students as well.

Using Chalk Pastels:  Create, explore, and crystalize ideas

6-word memoirs are a terrific way to have students synthesize their experiences or introduce themselves at the start of the year.  To highlight the memoirs we wrote ours using chalk pastels.  Although messy by nature, pastels can take the simple and make it beautiful.  Even students who claim to have little artistic talent will walk away with a unique piece of art and burst of happiness. At our class session on July 16th, we created a class “quilt” of 6-word memoirs around the following prompt: In 6 words, describe the educational experience you have had this summer.

Art 7

(Student 6-word memoir examples)

Art 8

(First year teacher examples)

After the students create memoirs, you can create a word cloud using Wordle or Taxedo.  Word clouds are also an interesting way to demonstrate themes in readings.  You can select whole text sections to input into a word cloud and the more common words will be highlighted.

Art 9

I also use chalk pastels when we are investigating literature and characters in stories.  My students read As I Lay Dying and there are numerous references to “eyes” and “seeing.”  I LOVE perception themes!  We collected the quotes and then proceeded to draw our interpretation of the “seeing eye.”

When we read Tsotsi the first chapter introduced the four main characters.  Each student selected a character and drew the “eyes” of that character.  You can imagine what Butcher’s eyes looked like.  The classmates had to guess which character’s eyes were represented and defend their answer with references to the text.  We then took all of the eyes and created a character chart to display in the room as a guide while we continued to read the rest of the story.

Art 10

Additional Resources

(1) Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.  Here you will find Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration with numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

(2) Teaching Tolerance: Art and Activism “This series capitalizes on children’s natural relationship to art by prompting them to examine the ways art relates to community leadership and activism.”

(3) Ms. Brown’s Art Class  Includes lesson examples and curricular ideas for integrating art into the kindergarten-5th grade level classroom.

(4) The UIC Spiral Network is a great resource for locating different curricular project ideas that support artistic explorations around ideas of culture, identity, power, change, and more.

(5) ArtsEdge: Connect. Create.  “ArtsEdge is the Kennedy Center’s free digital resource for teaching and learning in, through and about the arts.”

Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration has numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

Edutopia highlighted Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration has numerous examples from across the disciplines for how to integrate the arts and capitalize on the engaging nature of the art-integration processes.

Don’t miss this!!  To see numerous classroom examples of the Artful Thinking ideas, check out A Culture of Thinking blog.  The student examples are vast and inspiring.  Although many are representative of elementary classroom work, each could be adapted for older students as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s