Kennedy Center/Changing Education Through the Arts
Kennedy Center Definition of Arts Integration
List of 2011-2012 CETA Schools
Monthly Arts Integration Newsletter
Arts Reflections Contest Winners
As an arts integration learning community, we will engage, create, and problem solve as cognitively active learners, using the arts to make connections and gain a deeper understanding of the world and our environment.
Potomac Elementary School is one of three arts integration model schools in Montgomery County and is located in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Arts integration has been an integral part of the school curriculum since it was designated a model school in 2003. Through a federal grant, we were able to provide our staff with professional development in arts integration strategies and many arts opportunities for our students. The arts, including dance/movement, theater, music, and visual arts, have moved to center stage in our school and are visible from kindergarten through fifth grade.
What is Arts Integration?
Arts Integration is a teaching approach that incorporates the indicators of an arts curriculum as well as other content areas. Natural connections are made between subjects within lessons. Each enhances the topic. During a lesson, students learn about art forms(movement, theater, visual art or music) and content (reading, math, science, writing, and social studies).
Arts Integration Program
Potomac Elementary has a strong arts program, whose creativity is evident as you walk through the hallways. Classroom arts integration lessons are displayed in the hallways, showcasing how the arts are related to math, reading/language arts, and science.
Observing classrooms will also demonstrate the strength of our arts integration program. Art, for example, could combine science and visual art. Students in second grade learning about balance might incorporate science technology to create mobiles in art after learning about the work of Alexander Calder. The music teacher may work with a first grade teacher using musical instruments to teach punctuation, with each instrument being a different punctuation symbol. In another class, students could work collaboratively to create a tableau illustrating a poem. (A tableau is a "frozen" picture in which students create a frozen shape with their body to illustrate a person, place or thing.) In another class students might be create a mural based on the characteristics of tall tales and art elements.
Student-created "museums" are another facet of the arts integration program. Student displays demonstrate their involvement in the arts. Students develop a museum based on a content area--such as science--with studies of butterflies or the solar system. The resulting class work exemplifies how arts integration lessons support the theme of the museum. Students determine how the museum will look and install it at school for the rest of the student body to view. Students become docents in the museum, and share their knowledge with "hands on" activities for their peers. The opening night involves student performances that might include: dance/movement, reading poetry, singing and/or plays. The museums and their openings are a key part of communicating to the community about the arts integration program.
Artists-in-residence are also a part of the program. The residencies vary from poetry to painted murals and add a component to the program where students can work with poets and artists. Our partnerships with these artists have created permanent art pieces for our school, which enhance the enviornment for students, staff, and the community. There is a mural in the cafeteria, a structure in front of the school, and a mosaic collage in the school lobby. Students develop a deeper appreciation for art, because they are involved in the creation of permanent works.
One of the strongest components of the program is staff professional development. Staff members have participated in the Maryland Artist Teacher Institute (a week-long residency program sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education), a Kennedy Center program named Changing Education Through the Arts, or CETA, and graduate courses through Towson University's Arts Integration Institute. These opportunities, among others, help our teachers develop their repertoire in arts integration. The classroom teachers, the arts team, and administrators have all participated in these programs. Several teachers have received an Arts Integration Certificate, an 18-hour graduate credit program in delivering arts integration to students.