Interested in integrating the arts into your teaching and unsure where to start? Simple: Follow Your Passion, your interests, your own experiences and bring them to your students.
When I first started teaching, I started with my first love – music. Thinking that all students could listen in the classroom with little preparation, I decided to bring in some great music and listen to it with my students. We started with Mozart and other great composers, then we listened to American genres of music: blues, jazz, big band, rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, even rap. Our times listening together created for some wonderful discussions, community building and every so often some in-depth integrated opportunities.
And the great things we did in class turned into the content of my book, Inspired by Listening. I still use these strategies in my classroom today and they are just as effective now as they were thirteen years ago.
I know a teacher who is very passionate about yoga. She brings to her teaching the art of breathing, integrating those strategies into transitioning, stress reduction and vocal projection and control.
Another teacher loves film making and uses his own passion and talent to create and produce stories on film to motivate his students to express their ideas and deepen their understanding of the curriculum.
A teacher-dancer uses movement to help students internalize everything from the definitions of adjectives to science processes such as the water cycle and photosynthesis.
When teachers give themselves permission to follow their hearts in their classrooms and share themselves with their students, a powerful connection is made between teacher and student. A different type of community is built and your room becomes a place that is safe for learning.
So think about what it is that interests you in the arts. Is it storytelling, visual art, music or drama? Poetry, dance, design or movement? There are so many forms of art from the traditional to the media-rich. Finding the one that speaks to you is a great place to start.
After all, it is through us that students can be inspired, so we need to be inspired ourselves!
I’m very new at integrating the arts, but very encouraged by the phrase “start with an art form that you love.” I don’t really know that much about the techniques of visual art, but I do love to draw and paint. I am able to come up with projects inspired by different pieces of literature. I seem to be able to develop different visual art projects for my students to enjoy. Knowing that “it’s okay” to start in this way gives validation to where I’m at in the learning process with arts integration.
I too feel very new at AI. I hope that as the week goes on, I will too find my niche. I love storytelling, music, dance and theater. I like to create with clay and use paints but I don’t feel very connected to just one. Fingers crossed that my passion will “come to me” or at least get me thinking in that direction as time goes on. Good luck!
I am definitely guilty of doing more projects in my art room of things that I enjoy most. These include portraits using specialty pencils and still life drawings using charcoal. I enjoy shading and creating values in my works of art. I am less comfortable working with clay or building something so I do not do these forms of arts as frequently. This is something I need to work on.
Becky – I would love to hear more from you about the visual arts projects you’ve developed related to literature.
Tori – I look forward to hearing more from you, too, about your music, storytelling dance and theatre activities.
I am a yoga enthusiast and bring this with me into my classroom to share with my students and colleagues. I definitely feel that when my heart is open and I share this with those around me, it helps us feel connected…and magic happens.
I have also been trying to find my niche. Lately, I have been experimenting trying to find that one true passion. I have taken a glass fusion class, a bead class and the latest was a painting project class. Boy, I can’t explain how wonderful it felt to paint. There was something so soothing and rewarding by placing brush to canvas. I can’t wait to try this again! I guess one of the most important pieces is to keep on trying. Here’s to experimenting!
I love your final sentence, “Here’s to experimenting!” I love to experiment and I often let my students know when I am trying something new and experimenting. My students often think they have to do everything just right the first time. The lesson in experimenting is that while we are learning we also make mistakes, and sometimes we learn even more from those mistakes. I love these teachable moments that naturally lead themselves into new insights and learning. Here’s to experimenting!!