Arts Integration for Deeper Learning in Middle School

>>John: We’ve got to find a way to reach
all kids, every kid no matter what. And the arts do that. They give us ways to engage
kids, to get them involved, to have them be part of what
we want them to be a part of, which is learning the curriculum.>>Diane: I got here during the summer
and I had 18 letters of resignation on my desk from teachers, out of 45. That was really scary. And then the discipline on
the first day was shocking. I’d never seen kids
that disengaged before.>>Diane: After really fighting hard
to stabilize Bates Middle School for the first three
years, it became obvious that we needed a whole-school
reform effort.>>Pat: Because we are an arts-
integration school, every teacher is expected to use arts integration
in their classrooms, in some shape or form, in every content area.>>Pat: The idea behind
arts integration is that you learn the content
area through the art so it sort of opens a new door to understanding.>>John: One of the things that the
arts do is they provide different strategies and different skills
that go across all curriculum: collaboration, problem-solving
skills. You have to figure
out what will work, And you have to work through it. And sometimes you fail
and you gain from failure. I mean, that’s the best
thing about the arts. You don’t have to be
perfect all the time. We need to teach kids that
you learn through failure. Take that risk. You take a risk, you’re successful,
that’s a life-long skill for kids.>>Stacey: We’re going to start
off with some artful thinking. I’m going to show you another image
from the Ars Ad Astra project, the art gallery that went
to the Mir Space Station.>>Pat: Artful thinking is an
approach to teaching visual arts through a series of routines, and
each routine has a set of questions that the teacher asks about a
piece of art and they’re designed around critical-thinking skills. What they’re doing is showing a
piece of art and asking kids to look at it carefully and to make
some assumptions about it.>>Stacey: This will be a routine
for imagining and observing. Please take a moment to
look at the painting. Choose beginning, middle, or end. If this artwork is in the beginning
of the story what might happen next? And if this artwork is at the end of
the story, what was the story about?>>Student: I chose the beginning, I said “An international space
corporation wanted to send a new kind of space probe to each planet of
our solar system to study life. And the space probes hold a new
kind of animal scientifically made.”>>Stacey: Typically they spend
ten seconds looking at a piece. This encourages them to
really observe every portion of that painting or artwork, and
then it allows their thinking to be visible.>>Pat: We ask ourselves, where
are the kids struggling? We want to then target
that standard, because we want to approach it through
art integration to find another way to reach them.>>Stacey: Maddie, read the
learning goal for us nice and loud.>>Maddie: I will understand and
demonstrate rotation and revolution by choreographing a dance.>>Stacey: Thank you very much…>>Stacey: Today you kids are dancing.>>Stacey: I wanted my kids to
understand rotation and revolution, they frequently mix them up.>>Stacey: You will choose a
movement from your choreography today and you will tell me how your
movement represents rotation or revolution.>>Stacey: So I decided
to make two dance groups.>>Caleb: If I was doing the learning
out of a textbook, it wouldn’t stick with me, because
I’m a visual learner. I’m an active learner, so
by doing exciting things, creative things, it sparks
my interest, so then my mind, it keeps on my mind — oh
remember when you did this? Remember when you did that? When we have our unit test then
I can know the characteristics of the different planets.>>Stacey: These are all
the movements I want to see included in your choreography. I’m going to give you two okay?>>Student: Alec is the sun and like
you get in the middle and we all get in a circle at the very beginning.>>Student: Everyone who is
an expert of each planet, we each go around at
however fast the planet goes.>>Student: Boom, Boom,
Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!>>Pat: We’ve seen a huge
difference in the kinds of questions that kids are answering and the kinds
of questions teachers are asking because when they use the art to ask
these critical-thinking questions, the kids are using skills that
they didn’t know they had.>>Diane: Over the last five years
we’ve made significant gains in all of our student groups. For instance, our English-language
learners have increased their student achievement in math and in
reading by almost 30 percent. Our Special Ed scores are jumping
higher than we could have even hoped, and we’re developing a body
of research data that show that arts integration can
help struggling students learn those standards.>>John: To see parents that
never came into a school to all of a sudden be there, to come in and
say “Thank you, my son is engaged where he never was before.”>>John: I saw what it did for
kids and it’s changed my career. I mean they say arts are
transformative, it transformed me.


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