Teachers Working and Learning Together through Arts Integration

I love working with other teachers, and I was so fortunate to do so for the past three weekends in my own district.  14 teachers in Amesbury, MA signed up for and took my Arts Integration course.  It was yet another amazing experience where I was able to work with great teachers in grades Pre-K through 12!

Yes, the first point I want to make is that there were teachers spanning the entire breadth of public education.  We were also wide spread including general ed and special ed, library, technology, music and guidance.  Some may say we were a Motley Crue, but boy did it work!

I broke the course into three main sections:

1.   Our first week end together we focused on ourselves as we worked through the creative process.  I think this is the most important piece to great PD in the arts.  If we are to go and use these valuable tools in our own teaching, we first need to experience it first hand.  (Actually, that should be true for all PD!)

I think I really personalized this course. Maybe overpersonalized it. “It’s all about me!” Not really – but I sort of had to stretch myself in order to expect my students to take leaps into creativity and the arts.”

I just thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel as though I learned more about myself through this course and as a result that will help me in becoming a better teacher.” ~MEU

2.   The second week end was focused on what true arts integration is and how to create arts integration lesson plans.

The best “take away” from this class is that it has allowed me to slow down and really think about my planning. I think it is important when thinking about Arts Integration that you look at it as a philosophy and overall feeling in your classroom in order to be successful at it.” ~MEU

I think what I will take away the most is that arts integration is different than just including an art project. By giving the integration process the time it deserves and connecting to the content area, both the arts and the content will be more meaningful. It gives me the foundation for valuing the arts.”  ~PB

That you don’t have to be an artist to teach using arts integration. I don’t feel entirely comfortable in all art areas but I realize that there are some I can do now and others I can learn more about.”  ~JM

3.   Finally, we put some focus on advocacy and how to continue having this renewed feeling of purpose even after our time together has ended.

I absolutely loved this class. As you know I feel inspired and energized. It has helped me as a teacher to be able to articulate the learning process while integrating the arts into the curriculum.”

The best take away?  Being with teachers at all the different grade levels who have the same goal. I’ll also always think about the “elegant fit” as I use it to direct me.  My happy bubble will go on!!:) Thanks a bunch!!” ~MAC

The really powerful part about our experience is that our time together really hasn’t ended.  Because we all work in the same district, we can continue to work together in various forms.  Plans are already in the works!

The teachers in this course are all so very inspiring. I will, without a doubt, continue to collaborate with these amazing women. Not only do I feel more confident about integrating the Arts into the curriculum, but, I also feel less intimidated about asking for help. The resources that I have been exposed to just from the connections made these past three weeks are positively priceless.”  ~MLK

I hope that these wonderful teachers will share some of their experiences with you in the coming weeks and months as they post as guest bloggers.  It is, after all, through others’ experiences that we can find support and motivation to do the work we know is so important.

For me, teaching this course is always rejuvenating.  I too need that time to rekindle my flame.  I feed off of other teachers’ excitement and enthusiasm to teach and teach well.

I encourage you to find that someone in your district: that teacher or group that helps you to sustain a sense of purpose and drive in your teaching.  We need that.  Our kids need that.

Enjoy the rest of your week.


To learn more about how the arts can be integrated into your teaching, or to learn about professional development opportunities available in your area, contact Elizabeth through the “Contact Us” tab at the top of this page.

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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  1. Hi Elizabeth–
    I just wanted to make sure you are aware of the Kennedy Center’s just-launched Arts Integration site:
    And do you know about the Arts Integration Conference there at the end of June? Info about that event can be found on the site.
    I think it’s a good resource for the field.

  2. Susan Riley says:

    What a wonderful way to break down AI for professional development, Elizabeth! I know that you ROCKED this for your teachers and how powerful it was/is for them. Congrats – what a great accomplishment! Can’t wait to hear how you follow up with each other!

    • Thanks, Susan. I LOVE giving PD to teachers. It is really just an awesome way to spend my time. They get so motivated by the arts and how the arts can reignite their love for teaching. You know…. you live this too! 🙂

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