Connecting the Core Curriculum


Making connections is what learning is all about. Integrating art activities with your core curriculum is a fun and easy way to help students of all ages connect new learning to their prior knowledge and understanding of the world. By connecting to what students already know you ensure a deeper level of understanding. Looking at art, talking about art and making art are all activities which help you build a foundation for new learning across all subjects, for all ages.

Integrating art with the core curriculum is a great way to build a strong foundation for learning. The preschool theme units as well as the language arts and social studies lessons at use art and craft activities as one way to explore the core subject matter. The art activities and lessons at pair well with many core subjects. If you are a language arts teacher you will find that read alouds and journal writing are an important component of these art activities. As a science teacher you may enjoy using the "Crazy Critters" art activity as an assessment to test your students' knowledge of the attributes of organisms in the animal kingdom. Social studies teachers will appreciate the research activities included with Art Units such as "Wrap It Up: yarn Coiled Baskets" to engage students in exploring world cultures of the past and the present. Math teachers, check out the patterning possibilities with "Signs and Designs" a clay pendant project. You don't need to be an art expert to use art activities in your classroom!

If you are an art teacher you will find that your "regular classroom" colleagues appreciate the integration of language arts, science, social studies or math in your lessons as you support their efforts to help kids learn these important skills. I start many art lessons with read alouds of fabulous picture books which help me integrate social studies themes and learning standards with my art lessons. Check out the cool picture books and art projects paired with the Democratic Values Lessons. Go ahead and advertise the fact that students are engaged in the writing process in the art room! Display student written critiques and art reviews along with your students' art work. Impress your social studies teachers as you create a visual time-line of the Underground Railroad. Connect to the science curriculum when you teach students how to identify different types of clouds from cumulonimbus to cirrus, as you show them how to paint these clouds in watercolors. And math is everywhere in art, just waiting for you to reveal to students that math is fun and helpful as they identify patterns, draw three dimensional forms, use tools to measure, or gain a deeper understanding of visual perspective.

Afterall, art doesn't happen in isolation. The artistic process naturally integrates creative problem solving with the subject matter of the core curriculum. Participating in art activities gives students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in other subject areas. It is through this process of synthesis that students begin to take ownership of the learning and build true knowledge.

Make assessment fun! Visit my blog, Art Adventures, to find out about "The Totem Spoon Ice Cream Test!"

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