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 a hassle and I can’t do this right now.”
I mean, what would you have done?
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.
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?
The Arts Integration Frame of Mind a mindset and it 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.)
My story about the kids and drama – that’s an example of #1. They did take over for a good three weeks: recess rehearsals, lunch time meetings, free time set building.
But you know what, they were so committed and passionate, it was so worth. 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 what 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, memorizes lines and told a story right inside our own little classroom.
In the end, I was pretty glad I didn’t squash that creativity.
See, I’m no actor and I don’t know all that much about putting on a play. But, that brings me to the second major component of having an arts integration frame of mind.
Students Shine in Different Ways!
#2 — You have an open mind about creativity (even if you 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 it would be too much work.” What kind of Arts integration educator would I be?
A squasher of dreams!
Do, you remember how the story ends?
The play went off, we had a guest class, 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!
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