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A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place!

Well, it is that time again, when teachers and students alike begin to imagine the alarm clock ringing at an unthinkable hour! For those (like me) who enjoy sleeping late, the transition back to “early-to-bed and early-to-rise” can be difficult. In order to make the transition as smooth as possible for myself and my students, I take time every year to re-evaluate my classroom environment and consider what changes can be made to maximize learning in the space.

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What is Arts Integration? The Growing Edge of Things

Welcome to our blog on arts integration! Carolyn brings the grounded perspective from the classroom and Rob brings the research and theory side of things. We love to talk about ideas around integrating the arts and invite you to join us in this conversation. This time Rob will throw out some beginning ideas for the conversation:

Some people think that arts integration is the use of the arts in core curriculum classrooms. And they are sort of right, but with this distinction: classrooms that use arts as a resource and classrooms that fully integrate art in the planning and implementation of curriculum. The latter definition is the one more favored by the famous education philosopher, John Dewey, who thinks that art's greatest validation is to engage students in the "growing edge of things" (Check out Daniel Green's Blog on Dewey and Art As s Experience ).

The reason why arts integration holds so much potential for the classroom is the power of art to engage students in experiential learning which is the process for making meaning directly from the learning experience (Itin, 1999). As opposed to academic learning, the study of a subject without the direct learning from experiencing that subject, experiental learning in the arts is the "hands-on" experience that most students love. The arts are inherently engaging and that is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that they help students engage with challenging curriculum and a curse in that the arts can be taken for granted, used as a quick resource of engagement in classroom planning and quickly discarded for the drier parts of curriculum.

When used well, arts integration is seamless—the interplay between the art and subject is fluid as one flows into the other—and students advance their knowledge along the growing edge of things. I look forward to continuing the conversation and if you have a need or an idea, drop us a line. Watch for Carolyn's blog next!

All the best, Rob

Itin, C. M. (1999). Reasserting the Philosophy of Experiential Education as a Vehicle for Change in the 21st Century. The Journal of Experiential Education, 22(2), 91-98.

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Please come back Sept 1st when our contributor team will begin posting.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Strategies for Arts Integration are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.