Digital-artThe amazing thing about the arts is that they can be integrated with nearly any other topic.  Sometimes you have to just let your mind go and imagine all the possibilities and once you get started, it can be hard to stop.

I’ve been approached in person and through email by so many people who are connected to education about the Teacher Art Retreat and many have the same question: “I am the school (fill in the blank with the person’s educational position).  How can I use the this stuff?”

Sure, being able to use the arts in specialty areas such as occupational therapy, guidance and technology as well as in general ed content can take a shift in your mindset.  But once you work towards that, you may wonder how you ever compartmentalized the areas in the first place.

Let’s take the workshops that are being given at this year’s Teacher Art Retreat: puppetry, listening to music, movement and decoupage and see what we can come up with.  I’ll start a brainstorm here and encourage you to add to this list in the comments! 🙂

Puppetry – Judith O’Hare will be leading a workshop in shadow puppetry.

  • Literacy: storytelling, reading (stories and scripts to use), writing (and adapting stories to use)
  • Therapy: acting out situations, talking/acting through a puppet, creating the puppet (identifying emotions and as a calming activity)
  • Occupational Therapy: fine motor skills (creating puppet, maneuvering puppets)
  • Technology: typing scripts, storyboarding, recording performances
  • Music: adding soundtracks and sound effects
  • Speech Therapy: talking through the puppet, memorizing short or longer parts

Movement – Deirdre Moore will be leading a workshop that focuses on its integration with science concepts.

  • Science: to be explored at the workshop
  • Occupational Therapy: fine and gross motor skills coupled with dance vocabulary
  • Literacy: moving like characters in a book, moving through a storyline
  • Math: illustrating vocabulary with movements
  • Social Studies: learning period dances, memorizing placement of areas on a map

Listening to Music – with ME, Elizabeth!

  • Social Studies: learning about history and historical events through period music and song
  • Therapy: listening to and describing a variety of emotions, the calming and motivating effects of music
  • Literacy: Storytelling, describing characters, studying beginning, middle, end
  • Writing: describing music, writing stories, opinion pieces, comparisons

Decoupage – Dara Merz will be leading this creative workshop.

  • Therapy: calming activity, expressive outlet
  • Literacy: deciding on and illustrating theme
  • Writing: descriptions, how-to process
  • Occupational Therapy: fine motor skills

So there’s my 7 minute brainstorm list.   See? You don’t have to be an artist to think of these ideas and you don’t have to be a classroom teacher to utilize the arts!  I hope you add to this list now and I hope to see you at the retreat!


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