- - - - - - - - - Boosting Student Engagement, Knowledge, Skills & Character

Arts Integration

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“Art is the most effective mode of communications that exists.” 
 John Dewey

Video: Arguments for Arts Integration

Art For Children's Sake - A+ Schools Model, and more.....

Why Arts Education in Important and Who is Doing it Best?

The Various Arts: Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Media & Digital Arts, Literary Arts - Writing, Drama, Storytelling

Universal Concepts & Academic Vocabulary

ArtsNOW Workshop Follow-Up - July 2012

Go to the related website - arts integrated character development units

Go to related website masterworks universal concepts big ideas essential questions

Arts Integration – the use of the arts to initially engage students, and then to accelerate and then to deepen learning, and then to forge vital connections with other learning, is in some ways easy and simple and in some ways complex.

Arts integration can be simple - just attention to the timeless idea that anything ‘hands-on’ is more engaging, is more likely to be understood and more likely to be  remembered.  So, simply remembering to try to engage more of the senses, through music, visual arts, dance or movement, or drama or storytelling will make lessons or units more engaging and more effective.

Arts Integration can also be complex and effective at the very highest levels of learning and understanding, and doing this takes time, practice and usually involves collaboration, with other teachers and ideally with artists, and it involves the teacher in high levels of personal and professional learning – so be ready…

Nearly all of us have made use of the arts in one or more of our lessons, and have seen the difference.  When we are asked to reflect and describe an unusually effective learning experience of our own, we most likely will describe a time when our senses were engaged, when we were making something, and that the learning was made more meaningful by careful attention to our interests or to the making of connections during the lesson.

Formally, arts integration is usually thought of having three components:

1 – as Learning “Through ” and
“With” the Arts....using the arts to teach and learn another thing.....

2 – as a Curricular
Connections Process....Integrating two or more 'subject areas' to make higher level connections

3 - as a Collaborative
Engagement, Professional Learning Experience.....artists and classroom teachers working together......

Purposeful doing of this, planning for the benefits of arts integration, can become nearly automatic with practice, and when done collaboratively can be some of the most effective professional development available.

This is what we will be aiming for in the following website, podcasts, prompts, modules and courses.  Of course, we will be emphasizing the connections to character development and the benefits of school transformation through art integration and character development and transformational (teacher) leadership.

Just click on any underlined text to jump to more information.....

Arts Integration Overview

Case Study & Related Research: Bates MS

Case Study: A School Revitalized Through The Arts

Case Study: Arts Integration in Cobb County GA

Case Study: STEM in Cobb County Schoolc

Arts Integration - School Implementation Rubric

Project Zero - was founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1967 to study and improve education in the arts. Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that "zero" had yet been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name. Over the years, Project Zero has maintained a strong research agenda in the arts while gradually expanding to include investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thinking, and ethics.

Masterworks.....Universal Concepts.....Big Ideas.....Essential Questions

All The Senses

What Works......

The Brain

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."
John Adams
John Adams is a very important 'founder' of the US, but in this case he might have it backwards. The arts are vital to our quality of life, and education in the arts is vital.  There is also a strong role for the use of the arts in learning and understanding other academic disciplines, and in interdisciplinary / transdisciplinary learning. 

Perhaps John Adams might better
have thought about starting with the power of the arts, and understanding and appreciating the lessons of the arts....  (He also needed to give some thought to daughters, as Abigail famously reminded him  "I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors." )

The picture below is related to an emerging Arts Integrated Unit, and is only a small portion of an incredible achievement by five Hong Kong 10th Grade students (CoCo Cheung, Becila Tang, Manna Wong, Helen Wong, and Jonann Yau) with the encouragement of their teacher Ms. Elaine Dew.  They will make the trip to Lianshan, China with me in November 2011, to discuss the painting and their effort and teach younger students, a real opportunity for moral action.  The original scroll painting from which they worked is considered the 'Mona Lisa' of China, and the first of several versions, was completed in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).  Learn more by clicking below the picture.


More about the painting 'Scenes Along the River......' by Zhang Zeduan

Interactive 'Scenes Along The River'

Modern Sculpture of the Ancient Painting

Interactive Timeline of Art History - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art History Today - Website & Blog

Art History - Interactive Timeline - Kahn Academy

Kahn Academy on 'The School of Athens'

Arts Integrated Instructional Units

Why Study History, Language Arts, Science, Math, The Arts....?

PPT What Is Arts Integration

David McCullough on the Arts and History

The use of the arts in learning of other disciplines can lead to very high levels of student engagement, deeper learning and understanding, better retention, and more certain application of what has been learned.

How & Why - We are rapidly learning more about how the brain works, especially in terms of memory, emotions, learning, and motivation, and about how emotions might be key to the formation of vital neural connections

Exploring these findings and possibilities for improved engagement, learning, remembering and applying what is learned is exciting to me and possibibly important to students and teachers.

Arts Integration Self-Assessment Rubrics & Surveys

Websites for Finding and Using "Works of Art" to Teach Universal Concepts

Monet - Multiple Canvases

ArtsNOW Teacher Resource Project - Ignite Guide On-Line Professional Learning Extensions...more

ArtsNOW Arts Integration

The use of the arts, and arts integration, can link emotion, cognition & action in ways that are important for boosts to meaning, purpose and identity.

The Power of Story Telling - Sherry Norfolk


The Power of Visual Arts

Visual Art as Critical Thinking

Math & Music

Music & Social-Emotional Learning


London Museum of Childhood: Creativity Gallery - Imagination, Creative Problem Solving

Masterworks, Works of Art, Original Creations

Art & Literature Inspired by the Chambered Nautilus

Arts-Based Strategies

Arts-Based Strategies

S.T.A.R. - Using visuals to increase engagement, understanding & retention


Chalk Talk by Sir Ken Robinson an the arts in the changing paradigm of education. More...

Makings of a Unit in Progress: The River of Wisdom

Case Studies

Arts-Based Lessons & Units

  Panter Chart 

Featured Project June 2014 - Thomas Panter 8th Grade - Arts Integration and Character Development - Academic Service Learning

Good impact of the use of DRAMA

click here to download file

Teaching as a Performing Art

Current Projects & Schools:

ArtsNOW Foundational Training July 10 2012

Jackson ES GA

Hong Kong, China / Yan Oi Tong Project,

Birmingham MI - August 2011 - Character Education Partnership

Lafayette LA / Comeaux HS

ArtsNOW Hickory Hills

ArtsNOW / Teacher Resource Project

Willow Run MI / Willow Run Community Schools

Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences

Primary Resources:

Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development...and much more

ArtsNOW Teaching & Learning Across The Curriculum

ArtsNOW - Ignite Curriculum Guides

Lincoln Center Institute - Aesthetic Education

Lincoln Center Institute - Imagination First - Overview

Lincoln Center Institute - Imagination First - List of Practices

Edutopia - George Lucas

Annenberg - Arts

ASCD Education Updates

ASCD - Arts With The Brain In Mind - Jensen

Carnegie Hall

* Arts
Visual & Fine Arts
Literary Arts

Courses, Prompts & Modules:

Arts Integration Criteria & Standards:
Authoring Tools
Classroom and School Standards

Related Prompts, Modules & Courses:

James Jackson ES Prompts - "Get a Fish....Learn to Fish"

Sample Prompt: Comeaux HS Lafayette Louisanna - Drama / Presenting or Teaching Others Math. more...

Prompts for the collaborative design of Arts Integrated Instructional Units - ArtsNOW Teacher Resource Project


Arts Integration References

Arts Integration - Arts Everyday Guide....Arts integration is highly effective in engaging and motivating students. It supports academic achievement and improved social behavior of students while enhancing school climate and parental involvement. The arts provide students multiple modes for demonstrating learning and competency.

Project Resources - School Transformation: Character Through The Arts

The Orff Method

Music-in-Education National Consortium

Arts & Humanities

Real or Fake Photos

We hope you enjoy this website, and find it useful. If you have any questions, or suggestions, related to the content of the website, please contact Dr. Richard Benjamin at