The arts do matter in their own right . . . but also as instruments
of cognitive growth and development and as agents of motivation for
school success. In this light, unfair access to the arts for our children
brings consequences of major importance to our society. (Catterall, Chapleau, & Iwanaga, 1999)
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK
Since the events of September 11, 2001, we now look at our work in education with a different eye. Of what value will higher student achievement on standardized measures be if our children aren't safe? What can educators do to prepare students to be more adept at solving the unknown problems ahead of them? How can renewed feelings of patriotism be coupled with increased respect for the diverse peoples of the world? How can children be taught democratic values for freedom and justice using pedagogic processes consistent with these valuesmethods that encourage students to think openly, take risks, consider choices, and make fair decisions? As we face these teaching challenges in the 21st century, we see a greater need to use our innate creative problem-solving abilities than at any other time in history. The fixture beckons with a plethora of educational promises and problems. Our challenge is to digest the growing mountain of learning research and convert it to thoughtful, artful practice.
One thing we have learned through the ages is that human beings are at their best when laughing, dancing, singing, painting, potting, and pretending. The most important aspects of civilization are preserved not in percentiles, stanines, or grades, but in imaginative literature, art, drama, dance, and music. And these are the ancient learning rhythms that draw contemporary children. The arts were, and remain, the most basic and most essential forms of human communication. The arts are ways to create meaning about our deepest feelings and most significant thoughts. To ignore or minimize their value by compartmentalizing them in our classrooms into "specials" on Tuesdays or an annual class play is to deny their power in teaching and learning. This is why increasing numbers of schools have chosen to integrate the arts as primary strategies to increase student achievement, especially in reading and writing. A substantial body of research supporting the impact of the arts on learning is now readily available through publications such as Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (Fiske, 1999).
The goal of this text, the second edition of Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts, is to help pre-service education majors and practicing teachers meaningfully integrate literature, art, drama, dance, and music throughout the curriculum by providing a basic knowledge of the arts, clear reasons for integration, and specific how-to arts integration principles. Teaching with, about, in, and through the arts implies an alternative approach to the traditional role of classroom teachers who teach science, social studies, math, and language arts/reading using the arts only as enjoyable add-on activities. It is no longer thinkable to cram children into rows of desks and allow them to see school as a lifeless, dull place compared to an outside world filled with emotional and stimulating visual images, concert-quality CDs and entertainment, and fashion designs produced by creative geniuses. It is our role as teachers to make school every bit as engaging, with compelling stories, songs, images, and movement in all lessons.
Because this is an introductory text, I have used my background in alternative learning strategies and many years in undergraduate teacher education to scaffold for readers with structuring devices, repetition, use of examples, and mnemonic devices. My hope is to empower readers to use their own creative abilities to discover patterns and use the ordinary in extraordinary ways in their teaching. Included, therefore, are actual teacher stories, lesson plans, tools to plan "original" lessons and units, and compendia of "seed starter" strategies in each chapter that describe a specific art form and in the chapter on integrating these arts with one another. A special emphasis is placed on active reader engagement through "Take Action" text features that invite readers to transform information and personalize its meaning. Finally, differentiated instruction is addressed throughout the text using a model to particularize instruction by employing ten different adjustments to meet students' diverse needs.
HOW THE TEXT IS ORGANIZED
The book is organized into 14 chapters. Chapters 1 ,and 2 provide necessary historical and theoretical background to understand WHAT is included in arts integration, WHY the arts are important in education, and How teachers can use research and the experiences of others to create an integrated arts program. These two chapters introduce basic frameworks that are applied in the remaining arts chapters, including implications from brain research, the National Standards, a leveled concept of arts integration (teaching with, about, in, and through the arts), the creative problem-solving process, four unit structures, a two-pronged integrated lesson plan, 10 principles of integration, and 10 particular strategies for differentiating instruction.
Next are 10 paired chapters on integrating the arts of literature, art, drama, dance, and music. One chapter of each pair deals with why, how, and what parts of the art form should be integrated. WHY includes an overview of the theories, beliefs, and research that support the art's use, as well as a discussion of the art form's unique contribution to student learning. In the WHAT sections, the necessary knowledge base for a classroom teacher is discussed, with focus on basic content, including literary elements such as plot and theme and art elements such as color, line, and shape. Also included in the WHAT sections are summaries of the National Standards for the Arts and the Standards for the English Language Arts to guide teachers in planning for goals concerning what students should know and be able to do in each arts area.
The How section forms the bulk of the chapter. It consists of general principles of integration applied to each art area. How is organized around a model for integration built on daily arts routines; types of integrated units; and other specific structures for creating meaning through the arts in science, social studies, math, reading, and language arts. Assessment is addressed in the chapters under the heading of "Evidence to Document and Assess Student Progress." Adaptations for students with special needs are suggested as well.
Following each of these introductory chapters for each art form is a black-banded chapter containing Seed Strategies that are adaptable for most elementary and middle school age and stage levels. These are brief idea starters, offered in the belief that teachers must choose and adapt all teaching activities to meet unique student needs. The Seed Strategies are organized into (1) energizers and warm-ups, (2) strategies to teach arts concepts and elements, and (3) strategies to integrate the arts in science, social studies, math, and reading/language arts.
Chapter 13 is a separate compendium of strategy seeds for integrating the arts with one another in 10 combinations.
Finally, Chapter 14 deals with assessment and other common questions that classroom teachers ask as they begin to integrate the arts. Topics include censorship, worries about materials, and concerns about diluting the arts through integration.
I would not be true to my roots in literacy pedagogy if I did not supply the following features to activate prior knowledge; establish the importance of particular information; engage readers in cognitive, affective, and kinesthetic ways; and structure response and reflection opportunities.
Post It Pages
One- or two-page summaries throughout the book pull together information that teachers can use over and over to integrate the arts. For example, "News Bulletins" give a quick look at research and current school programs that integrate the arts across the curriculum. Examples of integrated lesson plans appear on "Post It Pages." Post It Pages are set up so that they can be photocopied for ready reference. A Table of Post It. Pages is provided right after the Table of Contents so the reader can readily locate them.
The powerful words of artists and teachers are presented to provoke thought and give rhythm to the reading material. These can be culled for classroom use as "quotes of the day."
A basic principle of arts integration is to experience the art first and then isolate its components for study, so the story of one teacher's journey opens most chapters and makes the possible more personal. These vignettes are whole art forms that show how creative teachers craft lessons that meaningfully mingle art and math, science and drama, literature and dance, and social studies and art. A basic principle of arts integration is to experience the art first and then isolate its components for study so the story of one teacher's journey opens most chapters and makes the possible more personal. These vignettes are whole art forms that show how creative teachers craft lessons that meaningfully mingle art and math, science and drama, literature and dance, and social studies and art.
I can't pass up the opportunity to say it: "A picture is worth a thousand words." The faces of students and teachers tell the integrated arts story throughout the book.
Children's literature is both an art form and one of the basic integration principles used in all arts chapters. Recommendations about specific books and strategies for using children's literature to integrate art, musi...