4 tips to integrating art into your classroom

By | 2017-09-04T08:09:12+00:00 September 1st, 2017|For teachers|0 Comments

Arts integration might seem like such a daunting task to introduce to your classroom, but it truly is not a new concept. Since preschool, and throughout higher learning, teachers have tasked students to sing songs and dance, create models and structures, draw and design replicas, perform plays, take photographs and complete many other creative assignments. We took at look at 4 essential rules to remember when integrating art in your classroom.

1. Find a theme

Teachers should remember not to reinvent the wheel and first, consider the lessons that they are already teaching. For example, a teacher might be interested in introducing drama into their history class. They should focus on the events, political current, arts movements, literature and society of the timeframe already being discussed in class. Now, students can easily script and play out a historical event within the context of the lesson, recreate an act from an existing play or create their own based on a historical character of the time. Solidifying a theme will help students focus and formulate a deeper connection between the arts practice and the core lesson.

2. Focus on learning content deeper

When students learn and use information is different ways, more of the new information is embedded into their brain. Aside from the simple fact that students better perform with lessons that they are motivated by, learning through arts integration is actually linked to increased retention. So, teachers not only see a significant increase in engagement and participation, but also an increase in achievement. Projects that involve art organically empower students to problem-solve creatively, approach the material from many different angles, gain a unique understanding of the lesson and metaphorically, bring their projects to life.

3. Be brave enough to relinquish control

Relinquishing control is a scary thing for most teachers — but comes with the territory of allowing students to learn and perform creatively. Teachers can introduce digital tools, like Minecraft for educational gaming, The National Art Gallery for interactive lessons or Creatubbles for sharing multimedia works. Students have the freedom to learn and create, via these digital spaces, at their own pace and according to their interests.

Minecraft is a great educational tool to nurture students’ creativity while teaching core subjects, like engineering, math, art, history and more. This episode of the Creatubbles Minecraft Minute explores how to launch fireworks with a redstone detector rail. Visit the Creatubbles Minecraft Minute gallery for more STEAM-based Minecraft challenges for your students.

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A common concern for teachers is on how to assess students’ work that involves art. There is a set rubric for grading assignments, such as formal essays and multiple choice tests. But, there isn’t a customary way of teaching through art or grading the respective projects. Open-ended arts activities need more careful evaluation, trust in students’ capabilities, room for exploration, discovery and excitement, and the ability to take a step back and watch students flourish on their own.

Oftentimes, teachers tend to underestimate the creative capacity of students. Quite honestly, there is a kind of safety in worksheets, guided lessons and prescribed lectures. And besides, relinquishing control inevitably elicits more work for teachers. However, the benefits of allowing students to exercise their own creativity through self-guided, autonomous approaches outweighs the convention of formal lecture methods of teaching.

4. Use Creatubbles to integrate art in your classroom

Integrating art, providing autonomy, nurturing student creativity, providing a platform to spark curiosity — all while acting as a guide… That’s a mouthful! But, it can be easily done through the Creatubbles platform. Teachers of any subject can create engaging, arts-integrated lessons over Creatubbles, like art algorithms, or a collaborative mural project to celebrate athletes. Students can write and illustrate their own stories to record over, make a short animated film exploring space, create their own music scores for history lessons, or insert their own unique artwork into a Minecraft build. Students also have the autonomy to find other creations that excite them, get inspired and connect with other schools around the world to send encouraging feedback, ask questions or collaborate.

Kindergarteners can learn about the science of Color Theory in a fun way. “Kindergarten Watercolor Pumpkins” was shared by teacher Mitchellart in the USA. For this project, kindergarteners used 3 primary colors to make secondary colors. Take a look at Mithellart’s page to see more of their students’ creations.

Of course, teachers are wary of giving students free reign when using external tools — for good reason. Everything shared on Creatubbles (including messages) is monitored by our team. As well, teachers can act as a guide, creating dedicated galleries for student projects, facilitating collaboration between classes and managing each of their students’ accounts. So, go ahead and create your account on Creatubbles and get started with integrating art in your classroom!

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Tish Seabrook. Copywriter at Creatubbles. Writer and former university lecturer. Interests: edtech, STEAM, arts integration. https://ctbl.es/tishseabrook