Workshop 3: Arts Integration & Cabinets of Curiosity

In December, the Spencer hosted SMAC's third workshop focusing on arts integration and creating sustainable, personalized lesson plans. We began the workshop with a presentation on the foundations of arts integration (AI) and an introduction to the Kennedy Center's definition of arts integration. In doing so, our educators gained a better understanding of what arts integration is and what it means to truly integrate the arts in the classroom.

The Kennedy Center's definition of arts integration emphasizes the importance of creating an approach to teaching through which students may demonstrate their understanding of both the arts and another subject matter through a creative process that meets evolving objectives in both areas. Later, we discussed other uses of art in the classroom that would not be considered "arts integration," but may serve as an authentic segue, or first step, for educators just beginning their arts integration journey. For example, arts enhancement (also known as arts hitching), is the use of an art or art activity in conjuncture with another academic subject, but without an attempt to teach art skills or an understanding of the art, and is just one of the many ways educators may begin using the arts in their classroom.

This was followed by a presentation on supporting AI research, SMAC resources, and some tips for creating lesson plans. Visit our resources page to find a copy of the PowerPoint used to present this information; including the video of Two Rivers, a charter school implementing a school-wide arts integration program.

After the presentation on arts integration, the educators were presented with several resources for creating an arts integration lesson plan using the concept of curiosity cabinets, to teach students about scientific classification systems and museum-based research (Click here for more information on curiosity cabinets from the British Public Library). The goals of this lesson were to learn the history of collecting, classifying and exhibiting items; exploring and creating systems of classification; classifying objects using observation; and the identification and comparison of objects through both a historical and scientific lens. Additionally, students will learn to communicate systems of classification and are motivated to problem-solve though the use of critical analysis skills and higher-order thinking.

At the end of the workshop, educators were given the opportunity to visit the museum's galleries and create their own digital cabinets of curiosity. After identifying and classifying at least five objects, the educators organized and presented their cabinets through PowerPoint. This activity provided the educators with the opportunity to show what they had learned and receive feedback from peers.

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