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Why the Arts?

10 Lessons the Arts Teach

Imagine an assignment that requires students to learn about shapes and forms for a math lesson.

Consider two ways to approach the assignment:

  • introduce the concepts of flat shapes by showing squares, triangles, circles, etc. and solid shapes by showing students cubes, pyramids, spheres, etc.
  •  have students draw squares, triangles and circles using colored pencils and then have them create solid shapes by creating cubes, pyramids, and spheres using clay
Reflect on the questions below:

1.  What are the biggest differences in regards to how each approach involves the students?
In the first approach, students are only looking at the shapes.  In the second approach, students are engaged in a hands-on activity where they are actually creating the shapes.  By drawing the shapes, students learn that they are flat.  Creating 3D shapes out of the clay teaches students solid shapes.

2.  Which approach to learning is student-driven rather than focused on the teacher providing information?
The second approach to learning is student-driven.  By having the students create the shapes for themselves they are better able to grasp the concepts being taught.

3.  Thinking about different learning styles, which approach addresses a wider range of students’ learning needs?
The second approach addresses a wider range of students’ learning needs.  Every student learns different.  Many student’s learn bey doing and being more hands on, or being able to get a closer look at things, etc.  The second approach allows the students to be fully engaged in the lesson and allows them a better opportunity to analyze the shapes.
4.  Which one might leave a more lasting impression? Identify the elements that support your answer.
The second approach would leave a more lasting impression.  The second approach allows the students to be fully engaged and hands-on.  Havind the sudents learn through an interactive art activity will be far more memorable than an average lecture.

5.  When might each approach be more appropriate than the other?
I think the second approach is a great way to introduce the lesson and initially teach it.  The first approach would be good for review and to reference.

6.  Review the 10 Lessons the Arts Teach. Does one approach support the 10 Lessons more substantially than the other? If so, what lessons does that approach address?
The second approach supports the 10 lessons the arts teach substantially more than the first.  The second approach is a lesson which integrates art and allows students to interact and analyze what they have created to learn the lesson that is being taught.  The second approach allows the students multiple perspectives on the different shapes and how to interpret them.

The Arts in 21st Century Careers and Classrooms

1.  According to the professionals in this video, what skills and abilities crossover between the arts and other occupations?

    The Geologist discussed how a lot of the terminology that artists use is also used in his field.  The rock art that he comes in contact with also helps him to understand the past of the rocks and area he is studying.  He also mentioned that a lot of the ways geologists communicate relate to graphic design.  Real observation skills are also needed for the science of Geology.
    The jewelry designer in the video discussed how she transitioned from an architect to a jewelry designer.  The woman discussed how in both fields you must develop and evaluate a concept.  Architecture focuses on geometry, pattern, and structure, which is the way she also looks at the jewelry she creates.
    The Propulsion Engineer discussed how composing, always working on solving a lot of little problems to get one big accomplishment, is very similar to his work as an engineer.  He stated that creativity in music helps him to think out of the box in his work composing as well as engineering.
    The Planetary Scientist said her work involved looking at the observed world and trying to understand how it behaves the way it does.  Artists also observe to figure things out in a very similar way.
    The Climate Scientist discussed how he now tries to convey and communicate his ideas more artistically to make a bigger impact and get his point across.  Science and art both strive to communicate and convey a message.

2.  One of the scientists poses the question, “what would the world be without art?”
How would you answer? In what ways does art impact your daily life? Your community?
The world without art would be incredibly boring and dull.   Art helps to bring our world to life.  Many of the traditions and cultures of the world would also be non-existent.  People would be less creative and less stimulated and as a result we wouldn’t have nearly the achievements that we have today.  I can’t imagine going through a day without experiencing the arts.

3.  Which of your skills and abilities are most important for your career in teaching, currently or in the future? Can you connect this back to the arts? If so, how?

I think my skills in the arts are some of the most important for my career in teaching.  I love music and plan to use it a lot in my teaching.  I play the guitar and ukulele, and students respond so well to lessons I have used integrating song and music.  Students become excited and engaged and want to be involved in learning.  I also love visual art.  Students can learn so much from an example that uses art, or in creating a piece of art themselves.  By integrating the arts into classroom lessons, students have fun while learning.

4.  Identify a time when art has influenced your work or schooling. How did your experience with art affect the outcome?

A time when art influenced my schooling was when I took photography in high school.  I really enjoyed photography.  Through different photography assignments and taking photos for the yearbook I became more social around my peers and was less shy.  I became more confident in myself.  Photography class gave me a desire to want to go to school and provided me with a creative outlet to express myself.

The Arts in the Classroom

1.  In this lesson, how does Ms. Pippin use the concept of balance in art to reinforce her students' learning about ecosystems?
Ms. Pippin mentioned that it was helpful to discuss the concept of balance in many different ways.  First Ms. Pippin has the students look at the basin to see if the different specimens are artistically balanced.  Then she asks the students if the basin represents a sustainable balanced ecosystem.  Ms. Pippin uses the concept of balance to show how things relate to one another, and how the ecosystem is a delicate balance.  Later, Ms. Pippin has the students draw their own basin with different specimens they are currently learning about to create a balanced ecosystem.

2.  Select one of the Common Core Standards mentioned in the video. What skills or abilities do the students show that validate this?
One of the Common Core Standards mentioned in the video was to be able to present an opinion using relevant facts and details. A girl in the class was able to know that the habitat for the ecosystem containing a frog would be by fresh water, because she knew frogs do not live in salt water.

Arts Integration and Providing all Students with Access to the Curriculum

  • Reflecting on the recommendations in this discussion, what are some ways a teacher could use the arts to support students who face learning challenges?
After reflecting on the recommendations in this discussion, I see there are many ways a teacher could use the arts to support students who face learning challenges.  The visual and performing arts provide multiple points of access for students at all levels of learning.  Art can also be used as a gateway to discuss any topic. Using artistic visuals is very helpful for students learning English.  I think the quote by E.L. Boyer really sums up how art can be used to effectively teach.  “The visual arts are languages that reach all people at their deepest and most essential human level. Thus aesthetic literacy is as basic as linguistic literacy. Art is expression that words can’t convey.”

The Inclusive Classroom and Arts Integration

1.  How does this practice gradually shift responsibility from teacher to learner?

The teacher in the video uses a strategy she calls “I Do, We Do, You Do.”  In the “I Do” stage, the teacher is modeling the activity.  “We Do” is guided instruction where the teacher works with the students on the activity. Lastly, “You Do” is independent practice where students work on their own.  

2.  What makes this an effective strategy to support English Learners and students with special needs?

The first stage, “I Do” is very effective to help teach English Language students because the teacher models what is needed to be done for the activity.  During the “I Do” portion of the lesson, the teacher is thinking out loud.  This helps the English Language learner to see what is expected of them.  During the “We Do” portion of the lesson, the teacher is still there to help students and provide prompts.  By the last stage, “You Do” all students should have a good understanding of what they are to do.
Weekly Reading
How Arts Education Teaches Kids to Learn from Failure

Arts integration is becoming more popular because educators are finding that when art is integrated with other content areas, students are more interested and engaged.  The New Mexico School for the Arts explains how students learn from their mistakes and make the realization that it’s okay to make bad work, because that’s the only way to eventually make good work.  The training the students receive is fundamentally based on a growth mindset, which is applied to all their learning, not just artistic training.  In this environment students learn to not only handle but value critique as well as how to evaluate their own work.  In the peer reviews students learn how to give and receive constructive feedback and in the process learn to notice what patterns in the art works and those that do not.  Students and teachers recognize that every student is unique and each student’s voice is cultivated.  While the arts is the focus at this high school, traditional academic classes must also be taken in order to receive a diploma.  Educators at the school teach incoming ninth graders how to be high school students.  The first year seminar helps student’s learn to read their schedule, find their way around the campus, and gives tips on study habits, time management, and other key parts to success.  A similarly intense focus is put on Senior year students on the college application process.
    I think this school does a good job at making sure these students not only receive training in the arts, but in traditional classes as well.  I really like that they put a strong emphasis on fostering a growth mindset in their students.  When I am a teacher, I want to help create a growth mindset in each of my students.  With a growth mindset you are not afraid to take on challenges, and if you fail you are not afraid to try again, possibly in a different way.  I also think it’s really nice the way this school takes the time to help incoming students assimilate to high school life, as well as make sure their seniors will be ready for college.  It is very important as an educator to take deep interest in your students to help them attain success.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.