Arts integration assist student learning

Classroom teachers see arts integration assist student learning

Local and national arts and education entities are joining forces in the classroom to better reach students whose brains don’t always grasp traditional learning techniques.

Advocates contend a variety of arts-related exercises are better suited to teach some students — especially the unique, foreign, special and gifted students.

Singing, dancing, jumping, citing poetry and taking photos are just a few of the art techniques that are more and more prevalent in the classroom in order to educate future generations.

Scottsdale and Paradise Valley unified school districts — who combined reach 54,000 students — have teachers who say they are seeing direct results from arts integration in their classrooms.

Arts integration is defined as the approach of teaching that “constructs and demonstrates understanding through an art form.” More than including an art project into a single day’s lesson plan, arts integration engages students in a creative process that connects a specific art form with another subject area.

While one young Paradise Valley girl created a skit about counting tickets and charging admission to a horse show, a classroom full of Scottsdale students physically moved around to mimic the rock cycle.

Areas such as science, language arts, math and social studies are benefiting through individual teachers using a new avenue to reach their students.

The “evolution of education” has created a partnership between SUSD, PVSchools, Scottsdale Arts and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Leading artists and educators meet in the Valley throughout the year to expand their approach.

The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program brings in teaching artists on the Kennedy Center National Roster to assist arts organizations and develop or expand partnerships with their local school systems. Scottsdale Arts, one of the 96 partnerships in 36 states working with the center, joined the program in 2001.

PVSchools, SUSD and Scottsdale Arts all contribute to pay for the program. SUSD officials say they have provided $3,000 to the program this year, while PVSchools is contributing $6,000…

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