Showing posts from June, 2009

Michelle Obama Speaks to the Value of Arts Education

Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release May 18, 2009
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, New York7:00 P.M. EDTMRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Well, thank you, Caroline. I am thrilled to be here in support of American Ballet Theatre and to join you in celebrating the opening night of ABT's spring season.Through its leadership role as America's National Ballet Company, ABT's education programs reach over 25,000 students in some of the most underserved communities and schools across the nation. In many cases, a child's first inspiration through the arts can be a life-changing experience. One creative dance class can open a world of expression and communication. Learning through the arts reinforces critical academic skills in reading, language arts and math, and provides students wi…

Advocating for Arts Integration in Schools

In this interview in the Wittenberg Journal of Education, Dr. Lora Lawson who teaches Integrating Literature, Art, Drama, Dance, and Music Throughout the Curriculum at Wittenberg discusses advocating for arts integration among other things. Here's an excerpt:

WJE: How would you recommend teachers and others supporting the arts advocate for arts integration in school?Lawson: It depends on what will convince the audience. But first, provide data. Spread the word about research supporting arts integration. For example, arts-based programs around the country are demonstrating they can engage disadvantaged youth in schools, as evidence by increased attendance and graduation rates, and the closing of achievement gaps. Talk about research that concludes school reform through the arts can result in better student motivation, increased problem solving and higher-order thinking skills, better multicultural understanding, and more.Next, tell the story: share examples of effective arts integr…

Test scores Rising up to Two Times Faster in Chicago Arts-Integrated Schools - Washington Post

The knee-jerk reaction to the attempt to raise student test scores is to go back to the old ways...drill, drill, drill. Yet more research is coming out to suggest that may not be the best way to get the scores up. This Washington Post article titled "The Art of Education Success" discusses the benefits of integrating the arts into the curriculum. Here's some excerpts:

The new economy may require higher-order skills such as creativity, adaptability and teamwork, but most schools in low-income areas focus narrowly on "basic" academic skills, testing and discipline. The student boredom and academic failure that follow prompt calls for yet more testing and discipline.

The first school and others like it are proving that integrating the arts into the core of the academic program is a far more productive strategy. Recently the principal of Edgebrook, Chicago's highest-scoring non-selective elementary school, attributed her school's success to its embrace of the…

Brain research confirms the benefits of Integrating the Arts

This is from the Maryland Fine Arts Education Tool Kit.

Common to all subject areas across the curriculum are various “overarching” skills and processes, such as synthesis, analysis, reasoning, and communication. Integrating the fine arts with other disciplines (core content areas) through instruction and assessment supports the development of these skills and processes. Real-life tasks require constant and complex integration of learning that crosses content area and disciplinary boundaries. Educators can enhance student learning by creating opportunities for students to make connections between arts content areas and other disciplines across the curriculum. Recent studies conducted in the area of brain research and the development of higher order thinking skills have also confirmed the benefits of integrating fine arts education across the curriculum. Integration of learning outcomes across disciplines may take a number of different forms, including: Incorporation of a content …

Integrating the Arts with Academic Subject Boosts Student Scores

This article from discusses the Kennedy Center's Changing Education through the Arts (CETA) program. Here are some excerpts:

"A controlled comparison has shown that CETA students showed significant improvement in non-art academic achievement — including test scores in English and history — and effort grades, according to the school district’s Web site."

(Note from Jeff) This is something that we arts-based educators have know for a long time, but it's great to see it substantiated and a great counterpoint to those who want to increase the drill, drill, drill methodology to get students ready for standardized tests.

"Student engagement and motivation to learn has risen. There has been a positive impact on test scores overall, but much of the impact of deeper learning is not measured by standardized tests. We are especially noticing that English language learners and special education students benefit even more from arts integration.”

“It’s all about helpi…

Excellent Activities for Integrating the Arts

This comes from a series of activities from a workshop by Dr. Sue Snyder for Oak Grove Upper Elementary School in Mississippi. They can be adapted for any level. Visual Art, Creative Movement, Music and more are clearly described. It's worth a look!