Including the Arts in All Lessons
Including arts activities in any subject and at any grade level can be simple and fun. It doesn’t need to be additional work and may substitute for some other activity you usually do.
Visual Arts. Are there components of the lesson that students can draw, sketch, color, or paint? Would a visual arts project be acceptable as an alternative assessment to measure student understanding?
Example: A science teacher has a student draw a chart to illustrate the important steps in an experiment.
Music.Is there an appropriate song or other musical composition that could be incorporated into the lesson or unit? Remember that music is a very effective memory device. Is there a familiar tune that would help students remember important facts about the unit?
Example: A social studies teacher has students put important facts about the Revolutionary War to a familiar melody.
Literary Device. Could students write a poem, limerick, or play to illustrate major points in the unit? Rhyming is also an excellent memory tool: “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue . . .”
Example: A mathematics teacher has students devise limericks to help them remember the mathematical order of operations.
Dance and Theater. Is there a dance that could help students remember some critical events or information? Can students act out a play that other students wrote?
Example: An English teacher has students write and act out a different but plausible ending to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Community Artists. Are there community artists who can demonstrate their skills in the classroom? Teachers working with artists receive on-the-job training and learn techniques that they can use later on their own.