The ARTs are necessary for helping to transition our students back to school or into a new classroom.  No matter if we are teaching face-to-face or remotely, the arts can build community, help with students’ SEL, and deepen their understanding of content.  Let’s look at examples and activities to integrate the arts into our back to school routines with 3 Ways the Arts will Help with Back to School.







The arts are going to be necessary to transitioning to school in the fall.  Let’s talk about why.

A Little Uncertainty

You’ve probably been having that feeling of uncertainty around what your next school year is going to look like.  With all the guidelines of social distancing, PPE, student safety in schools, administrators and educators are wondering what is going to happen.  What is a realistic expectation?  


Maybe it’s possible that we will be going back to our classrooms, but it’s also highly possible that remote teaching and learning will continue.  And that may even look different than the crisis teaching we’ve been doing.  

And there’s a lot of talk about moving to a hybrid system with alternating classes and schedules and it can be really unnerving to just not know what to expect. 


But one thing is for certain.  You are going to need to help your new students transition back to learning – whatever that learning might look like.  


While some teachers and students have done a great job adapting to remote learning, others have not and I’m sure you’ve seen some of the ramifications it has had on some students social and emotional needs.


And whether we go back to school like normal (not gonna happen) or we keep on with this distance learning, students will definitely need a new kind of transition back to school.

Bring in the ARTS!

It’s become more and more evident that students will need close contact with teachers and peers, meaningful assignments that motivate them to learn, and creative outlets for their knowledge and emotions.


Well, I bet you can finish my next sentence: Bring in the ARTS!


The ARTs will be the key to a successful transition back to school in the fall. 


What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please add to the comments below and let me know.


As we start thinking about what the beginning of our new school year looks like, we need to consider how the arts can help our students (and ourselves) to make that transition back to teaching and learning.


So, here are 3 ways the arts will help you in this or any new school year!


The arts build community.


Building community with your new class is so important at the beginning of any school year.  This coming year it will be even more important and possibly a little more difficult.


Will you have your entire class together face-to-face?  Will you meet your class in segments?  Will you be meeting them for the first time online?  We just don’t know, do we?  


But here’s something we do know: Artistic experiences can bring people together.  And that can happen both face-to-face and online!  


So, if you’re meeting your students in segments, consider having large puzzle pieces that each student designs and then puts together, showing how your individual students make a whole class.


Or you could dare to play instruments together in person (or online) using a solid, steady repetitive rhythm as the backbone and allowing your students to layer their sounds on top.  As they listen to others and add their own sounds they find their place in the community.


Here’s a fun screenshot of me leading some instrument play with a small group just a couple of weeks ago.  Notice the smiles!


You could use an online collaborative drawing app like awwapp.com to allow students to create together in real time!


Or you could have a virtual art share, where students share and reflect on their artwork, music choices, or favorite movie.  Make sure you build in time for discussion, asking questions and allowing time for students to make connections with each other.


This is more than just learning names, here, it’s getting to know each other through artistic expression and various collaborative experiences.


The arts are such a great way to bring people together.


And if you’re interested in learning more about these an so many other arts integrated ideas for the beginning of the school year, be sure to check out the Virtual Teacher Art Retreat – it’s going to be an amazing experience for teachers who love the arts.


The arts help with self-awareness.


The arts help students find mindful, quiet time to reflect on themselves.  


There will be many emotions that need to be addressed in our new school year and it will be important for us to help our students process these emotions in our classrooms, offices and virtual meeting areas.


Activities and lessons in SEAL (Social-Emotional Artistic Learning) will be something to explore as you start planning for the beginning of the year.  Here are some example ideas:


~ Drawing simple, repetitive patterns can quiet the mind and help with self-management.  Teaching students this skill can be very beneficial to them in school and in life.


~ Here’s another one: Creating poems or monologues to introduce yourself to the class is a powerful way to explore your own interests, strengths and emotions while sharing a bit of yourself to your classmates.


~ Finally, movement helps with body regulation and connecting the body, mind and emotion so that your students can reach their learning potential.  And there are so many great ways to explore how you can use movement no matter how we are teaching in the fall.  


The arts provide for deep learning of content.


When you integrate the arts into the content you teach (no matter the subject or age group), your students will remember and understand the content at a much deeper level.


~ Imagine teaching math concepts using movement – students will embody the content and remember it similar to what I showcase in this video – my students performing their math dances.


~ Let’s talk drama.  When students dramatize a scene in a story, they can more easily understand the motive and emotions of the characters.  You can do something like this face-to-face or use video to capture the students’ acting


~ Music can influence the mood in your students’ visual art pieces.  Consider discussing different genres, sharing playlists and actually playing music that will help bring their pieces to life!


~ Creating a video or slideshow can help students to process and organize their ideas about the content after they do research or answer thoughtful questions.


The ARTs not only have a place in our teaching this fall, they will be necessary.


That’s why I’m so excited to bring the Virtual Teacher Art Retreat to you!


Each workshop will be packed with quality, hands-on ideas, activities and lessons taught by amazing teachers and artists who are ready to help you transition your students back to learning in the fall.


ALL the examples that I talked about are just glimpses into what you will find inside the workshops and retreat experiences.

Be sure to check it out and join the Retreater Community where you’ll connect with other educators, ask the presenters questions, discuss modifications to your teaching, participate in challenges, gain access to bonus workshops, enter to win prizes and whatever else fun we come up with!


I’m really excited to share this experience with you and you find out everything at theinspiredclassroom.com/retreat.


Those uncertain feelings will be put to ease once you have these arts integrated and SEAL-inspired ideas fleshed out and ready to implement with your students.


My name’s Elizabeth Peterson.

I’m sending you all my best.

Take care of yourself.


Free SEAL workshopDo you ever struggle with students’ social-emotional well-being?  Do you believe in the power of the arts in learning?

I’d love to show you some great strategies to integrate the two inside this free online workshop, The 3 Secrets to Integrating the Arts with SEL where you’ll learn proven strategies of how to teach SEAL (Social-Emotional Artistic Learning) even when you are teaching online!

You’ll discover:

  • The most practical and effective ways to integrate the arts into your students’ social-emotional learning.
  • Proven SEAL strategies that work even when you are teaching online!
  • The key to ANY successful social-emotional learning.
  • The important role YOU play in your students’ social-emotional development through the arts.
  • Plus – You’ll get a certificate for 1 PD hour!

If you want to start reaching your students and help them truly develop their social-emotional learning through the arts, register here: https://theinspiredclassroom.com/workshop


Virtual Teacher Art RetreatRETREAT WITH US: Get access to all the wonderful workshops from the 2020 Virtual Teacher Art Retreat.

These workshops are filled with arts-integrated and SEAL-inspired ideas that you can use to help you and your students no matter if that is face-to-face, online or some sort of hybrid.

So go check out The VTAR at theinspiredclassroom.com/retreat !


Download this free resource: Arts Integration in Your Back Pocket – 4 Tried and True Arts Integration Strategies

I have relied on these 4 strategies time and again for a variety of subjects.

Each is complete with ideas for Math, SS, Science, ELA, and SEAL and includes objectives, assessments, and rubrics at your fingertips!



Download this free resource: SEAL Starter Kit where you will learn more about what SEAL is, its relationship to the creative process, get 4 SEAL activities to try, 2 SEAL lesson plans, and 1 SEAL Tool you will want to use again and again at you teach SEAL!

Join our amazing FB community: Inspiring Teachers!  Share ideas, ask questions and get support from colleagues around the globe who believe in the power of arts in education!



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Free SEAL Starter Kit

Get started right away with SEAL with this Starter Kit. Included are how all the social-emotional learning competencies are naturally connected to the arts, 4 SEAL activities, 2 of our most popular SEAL lessons and our best SEAL tool: the emotion wheel. 

  • Would you like to get inspiring stories, ideas and great strategies in arts integration and SEAL?

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