Have your students ever asked to do something and you wanted to say, “NO” right away?
But then you hesitate…
And think, “What’s the best thing to do in this situation?”
That’s happened to me before.
I remember one year, I had a couple of students who really wanted to put on a play in response to a story we had read. They asked if they could work during recess and during any free time they had.
My gut reaction was, “No way! That’s too much work, it’s going to be such a hassle and I can’t do this right now.”
Shifting My Perspective
They were ready to build sets out of refrigerator boxes and gather bags of materials for costumes. One kid wanted his dad to bring in a fog machine and another was ready to make a soundtrack using GarageBand.
In that moment, all I could think of was how we had limited space in the classroom and I wanted my lunch break to myself.
Can you relate?
But, then all my years of arts integration and SEAL Training took over. I remembered how Arts Integration is not about ME! So, I hesitantly said yes and let them do their thing.
And, man, did they show me!
This is one pretty significant example of what I call the Arts integration frame of mind.
What is the Arts Integration Frame of Mind?
This mindset involves TWO major components.
- You do what’s right for your kids because they need the experience (even if it’s not super convenient for you.)
- You have an open mind about creativity (even if you don’t feel capable of the creative task.)
#1 ~ My story about the kids and drama – that’s an example of first component. They took over for a good three weeks: recess rehearsals, lunch time meetings, free time set building.
They were so committed and passionate, it was well worth it. I mean who am I to take that away from them?
Now, did things go smoothly all the time? No way. There were conflicts and issues that came up often, but it provided an amazing opportunity for some SEAL learning.
These kids went through the creative process and made small and large decisions, planning materials, schedules and people, set up staging, put together costumes, memorized lines and told a story right inside our little classroom.
In the end, I was pretty glad I didn’t squash that creativity because it was inconvenient for me. 😬
Students Shine in Different Ways!
#2 ~ Now, here’s something you need to know about me: I’m no actor and I don’t know all that much about putting on a play. But, if I’m going to have the Arts Integration Frame of Mind, I need to be open to new things even if I don’t feel capable of the creative task.
The girl who organized this whole thing from the start had been in a community play and had this undying desire to try the whole process herself.
In this moment, my job wasn’t to tell her all the limitations we had in our little classroom, but to provide her with a safe place to spread her wings.
And spread them, she did!
For a few weeks, she wasn’t the shy, awkward girl that people avoid on the playground. She was the master playwright who accepted everyone into her world.
Pretty cool, right?
Imagine if I just had told her, “No, that would be too much work.” What kind of arts integration educator would I be?
And, do you remember how the story ends?
The play was a hit! We had a guest class visit, the principal came to see and there were a LOT of proud smiles after a LOT of hard work.
An arts integration frame of mind is very important to have. Do you have a story where you exercised yours? Tell me in the comments. I can’t wait to hear about it!
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Are you ready to get into the ARTS INTEGRATION FRAME of MIND?
It’s time to register for some Teacher-Centered Professional Development!
Check out our Virtual Teacher Art Retreat and discover how amazing this type of PD can be – even online!
Here is the link to sign up for the Retreater Community for FREE! — theinspiredclassroom.com/retreatforfree
And if you want the ALL ACCESS pass, head here for all the information: theinspiredclassroom.com/retreat
One of the best things you can do for yourself is surround yourself with other caring, creative educators! That’s why I want you to 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!
Say “Hi” on Social: