Teaching through the Prism: What Does Arts Integration Look Like?

This is the second installment in the Teaching through the Prism series, anticipating our upcoming national forum on Arts Integration, June 23−24. Read Suzanne’s first post here.

Next week at our Teaching through the Prism of Arts Integration Forum, we’ll be screening a brand new video featuring our year-long project, Teach with O’Keeffe, working with art museums and classroom teachers from New York to New Mexico, and of course Washington, DC. Seeing the experiences of the students (“If I have a connection to something visual… then I will enjoy it,”), teachers (“Arts Integration peaks student interest,”) and administrators (“I believe that art brings out critical thinking,”) emphasizes what we’ve noticed about the impact of arts across the curriculum: it encourages innovative teaching, deepens personalized learning, promotes learning through multiple learning styles, and advances 21st century skills such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

My favorite line of the movie: Erin Fitzgerald, a middle-school language arts teacher from New York City says, “Arts Integration. It’s not an add-on!” She really knocks it out!

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

Teaching through the Prism: Who Got Science in My Art?

This is the first installment in the Teaching through the Prism series, anticipating our upcoming national forum on Arts Integration, June 23−24. Learn more here.

Third grade student at Turquoise Trail Charter School in New Mexico studies the details of a rock that she will synthesize into a series of abstract artworks, part of a project blending art and geology curricula. Photos: Lynn Grimes

Many of us find that chocolate mixed with peanut butter is pure joy. What if art is our chocolate?  And K−12 education—language arts, math, science, social studies—is the peanut butter? What happens when you blend them? Curious?

Case in point:  this young girl using a jeweler’s loupe at Turquoise Trail Charter School in New Mexico, one of our national partnership schools. She uses the loupe to carefully observe a rock’s size, texture, color, and weight, recording her observations as a geologist would. She is asked to scrutinize even harder, following Georgia O’Keeffe’s call to look closely at the overlooked. Then she applies O’Keeffe’s principles of “selection, elimination, and emphasis” to synthesize her scientific drawings into an original abstract artwork.

Want to impress your friends with your education reform prowess? Talk about the power of “arts integration,” this mix of art and other curricula, to engage students and teachers. Need to back up the touchy-feely with facts? Browse through the President’s hot new report on the benefits of arts integration.

Suzanne Wright, Director of Education

Have you had an art star moment?

Micah with his art (Photo by Jake Muirhead)

“I feel happy that my art is at The Phillips Collection because it is a famous artwork.”
–Micah, age 9

Micah was one of about 100 kids at the Phillips recently for the opening of their art-and-writing projects inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series (1940-41). He is a student at Tyler Elementary, a D.C. Public School, where we’ve been partnering to implement the Teach with Jacob Lawrence: Nationwide Curriculum. (Link leads to the complete curriculum. Please allow a few minutes to load.)