6 strategies for integrating arts-based learning into any subject
Friday, February 19, 2021
Children instinctively take to activities like pantomime and sculpting things out of clay. Arts-based learning takes advantage of their natural tendencies to make the most of their creativity.
However, when it comes to how to integrate arts into other subjects, teachers sometimes overlook the power of such activities. Here are six strategies for arts integration in education to add to your lesson plans today.
1. Act It Out
How can you channel the energy of the class clown into something productive? You can do so while integrating art across subjects by giving them the starring role in your class production.
History teachers can use creative movement and drama to bring bygone eras to life. Science teachers might go a little wild by letting students act out the plant life cycle. Even math teachers can have little learners stand up and sit down to represent various fractions.
2. Make Collages and Models
Nearly every parent has a stack of old magazines lying around awaiting recycling — add these items to your classroom wishlist. People who are financially struggling will appreciate being able to contribute their share without it costing them a dime. You can explain that you use these tools to teach children how to integrate arts across various subjects by making collages.
Clay and popsicle sticks are examples of sculpting materials that cost little. You can further cut the cost of supplies by making homemade play dough — or, better yet, letting your students help if the activity fits your curriculum.
3. Use Drawings and Illustrations
Hopefully, you devote some classroom time to helping students build note-taking skills. When you do, encourage them to add drawings to their work. After all, people wouldn’t enjoy the plant-world knowledge they do today if earlier scientists hadn’t meticulously sketched illustrations of each flora species they investigated.
Your learners don’t have to create passable representations of dandelions and other flowers. However, sketching out blueprint-like models helps them develop abstract thinking skills and see how various items integrate.
4. Turn Fractions Into Music
Wouldn’t it be fun if you could teach the musical scale and fractions at the same time? You can, and all you need are eight drinking glasses, some food coloring and water.
If your class is too rambunctious to sit still for your lecture, you can also use the old game of musical chairs to teach percentages. After each round, have students calculate the ratio of standing to seated individuals. Getting their bodies moving a little burns off energy so they can focus.
5. Tell Picture Stories
Some students are auditory learners and have no trouble tuning in to a lengthy lecture. However, those with different learning styles can grow bored and start to daydream or fidget.
Try to add visual components to your lectures whenever possible. You can show slideshows or short YouTube video clips. Getting students up to pantomime is another way to use arts integrations across subjects while harnessing student energy.
You can also bring in works of art and ask your students to tell a story about them. For example, imagine the wild responses you might get if you show John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence” and ask your learners what the Founding Fathers are doing. It’s OK to laugh while you learn — it helps the message stick.
6. Memorize Through Song
Rote memorization is challenging. While your principal job is teaching learners critical thinking skills, sometimes there’s no substitute for the rapid recall of information.
People have used music to help them memorize since well before the invention of “The Alphabet Song.” Why not integrate the arts across subjects and have groups write a small ditty to remember the stages of photosynthesis or our solar system’s planets? You decide whether to have each group perform their creation for the class — and don’t be surprised if you later hear humming during the quiz.
Follow These Strategies for Arts Integration in Education Across Subjects
Arts-based learning is an ideal tool for engaging various learning styles and making education fun. Use the six tips above to elevate your curriculum with the arts.
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