Blogs & Online Sources: arts integration
Debra Henning: What’s In A Word? Cross-Curricular Instruction and Assessment in the Arts
The following post offers an example of the manner in which MAEIA’s “Cross-Curricular Connections Assessment,” V.T 312 for Grade 8, can encourage students to think deeply about connections between the visual...
The following post offers an example of the manner in which MAEIA’s “Cross-Curricular Connections Assessment,” V.T 312 for Grade 8, can encourage students to think deeply about connections between the visual arts and language. In the assessment, students are asked to create an artwork that connects the principles and subject matter of another academic subject of their choice to the visual arts. The assessment item assesses several visual arts standards, including students’ ability to “effectively analyze and describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in school are interrelated with the visual arts, as well as their ability to “relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.”
A picture, we know, is worth a thousands words. But what’s the worth of a word? That depends, of course, on the word. Does it refer to a specific object, such as the tallest building in the world, or to something more general, as the word buildings does? In the vast hierarchy of words – call them concepts, if you like – few words encompass more meaning than vernacular. Commonly defined as “the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region,” the word, vernacular stands in contrast to literary or cultured language, most frequently to Latin. Carried throughout the Great Roman Empire, the Latin language served as a unifying force in law and religion, yet less so in the everyday lives of the people, who continued to find linguistic expression in their own mother-tongue. In a slow give-and-take process, aided by the translation of the Bible into English and by patriotic stirrings, the vernacular would emerge supreme as the mother-tongue in England, France, and Germany grew from spoken dialects into full-fledged languages, “adequate for the expression of any and every kind of thought.”
In the centuries-long evolution of language, however, the meaning of vernacular, itself, became something quite different from its origins. Which is why Adrian Villar Rojas’ sculpture, “Where the Slaves Live” makes such an intriguing subject for cross-curricular instruction in the arts. The title of the massive “living sculpture,” composed of multiple layers of earth and manufactured materials, recalls the Latin root of the word vernacular, i.e., verna, meaning a home-born slave, and, hence, language of the home-born slave.
Like the sculpture commissioned by France’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, Roja’s concept for the sculpture layers multiple meanings. “Where the Slaves Lives” confronts visitors with a silent reminder of France’s vacillating opposition to slavery, which the French abolished, re-established, and in 1848 again re-abolished in her colonies. On the terrace of Frank Gehry’s magnificent glass ship, Rojas’s sculpture recalls the ships that carried slaves and the fate of many at sea.
Set in a building that is synonymous with wealth, privilege, and luxury goods, Rojas’ work has the potential to stir the kind of debate and reflection intended by the mission of Fondation Louis Vuitton. By using the word as Rojas does – as a reminder that in verna and vernacular, slavery is at the core of the French language and the mission of L’ Academie Francaise – the artist ramps up the potential for debate and reflection. Today, one of the aims of the Academie is to “protect the French language from foreign, notably ‘Anglo-Saxon’ invasions,” but that goal has not always been central to its mission. Since its founding in 1635, the Academie has been tasked with a much more fundamental aim: to guide the French language from “from the vulgar (or vernacular) state of language to that of language equal in dignity to Latin.” As used by the Academie, the words vulgar and vernacular become synonymous, both meaning “the common or usual language of a country; both obscuring the meaning of verna – a home-born slave. In “Where the Slaves Live,” Roja recovers the origins of vernacular, while delivering a powerful message about the hidden history of language and the importance of cross-curricular instruction.
Debra Henning is a MAEIA key communicator, specializing in visual arts and arts integration. A downloadable pdf of this post is available here Debra Henning: What’s In a Word? Cross-Curricular Instruction and Assessment in the Arts.
Debra Henning: HUSTLE Opens Science Gallery Detroit
In 2008 science and art moved a step closer with the opening of
In 2008 science and art moved a step closer with the opening of Science Gallery Dublin at Trinity College. Science Gallery International followed in 2012 with the goal of establishing a Global Science Gallery Network with eight nodes by 2020. Today the Network has six members across four continents: Dublin, London, Melbourne, Bengaluru, Venice, and now Detroit. Bringing together a remarkable group of research institutions – Trinity College Dublin, Kings College London, University of Melbourne, the Indian Institute of Science along with the National Centre for Biological Sciences and Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru, and in the U.S., Michigan State University – the highly collaborative peer group of Science Galleries targets a unique demographic – 15 to 25 year olds who, founders believe, “hold the potential to solve the world’s biggest challenges.”
The opening of Science Gallery Lab Detroit’s first exhibition, HUSTLE, brings the work of seventeen artists, each working at the intersections of art, science, and technology, to the U.S. Open through August 25th, the exhibit “explores the many definitions of survival and success.” In Connor McGarrigle’s social media data project, #RiseandGrind,” which uses Twitter output to train a supervised machine learning algorithm, audiences can interact with the work and assist in the training process by tweeting with the project hashtag #RiseandGrindSGLD. “Post Laboratory,” a work by the German artist, Ottonie von Roeder “aims to liberate us from the idea of the necessity of labor, and supports us in discovering our true desires.” From “Blood, Sweat and Tears” to “Virtual Hustle,” the exhibits are “connective, participative, and surprising,” which is what happens when when art and science collide.
Gallery Operating Hours
Tuesday – Saturday | 11 AM to 7 PM
Sunday | 1 PM – 6 PM
Closed on Monday
1001 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226
Joni Starr: Arts Integration, Part 2
Arts integration as a teaching approach started to come into its own in the 1970’s and 80’s. For over 30 years, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Arts integration as a teaching approach started to come into its own in the 1970’s and 80’s. For over 30 years, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has been offering arts integration learning opportunities for educators.
They define the practice of arts integration as “an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject and meets evolving objectives.”
Today this practice of integrating arts with standard classroom subjects is growing as students, teachers, parents, and administrators recognize the value and strength of creative capacity in the 21st century.
In my 30 years experience in arts education, I find the challenge of arts integration is reflected mainly in two points:
1. A clearly stated outcome for the lesson.
2. A thorough understanding of the material being taught.
There are many wonderfully effective lessons that equally partner the arts disciplines with non-arts disciplines, where the outcomes are well matched for teaching two disciplines in one lesson.
-The levels of the rainforest and the levels of dance choreography.
-The contours of a map and the contours of texture in visual art.
-The understanding of character objectives in literature and drama.
-The understanding of fractions in math and in time signature in music.
Other times, when implementing arts integrated teaching and learning the outcomes are less clear or become complicated. Time is spent closely reading the standards to see which ones might connect across disciplines and which ones might be manageable in the allotted class time. Outcomes can easily become long and multi-layered to address objectives in both subject areas, thus confusing both teacher and student. And teaching can easily sway towards one discipline more than the other, ultimately negating the practice of arts integration.
It is important then to clearly understand how both the arts and non-arts subjects truly integrate. How they support and connect to each other and how they allow for the practice of creativity in the classroom.
Arts integration at its best allows students the creative opportunity to be leaders in their own learning.
In writing and implementing arts integrated lessons, many teachers falter in their confidence of one of the subject areas. If the art teacher is asked to integrate with a science concept, the art teacher must understand the concepts of science. And if a math teacher is asked to integrate with music, then the math teacher must understand music content. A strong solution to this is for teachers from differing disciplines to partner teach and/or learn from each other. In these cases the outcomes are often clear and the lessons effective and impactful for students.
This content understanding and/or partner teaching can, however, be a tall order for any teacher. Most teacher training programs do not integrate the arts into teaching, they actually separate them. Arts teachers are trained in their specific discipline and there are deeply important and valid reasons for this. So when asking teachers to make effective use of arts integration in the classrooms, it is a shift for both arts and non-arts teachers. Sometimes successful, sometimes not.
The benefits of arts integration for both teaching and learning are well documented and highly impactful, yet preparing teachers to do their best work so their students can as well, remains an area of growth.
Do you have examples of best practice for preparing teachers to integrate the arts and/or non-arts content? Or a strategy for facilitating effective collaboration?
Join the conversation by offering your perspective in article comments, social media shares, or by emailing Heather at hvsouthard@gmail with a prospective blog post for the MAEIA blog.
Joni Starr is an arts integration specialist, theatre educator, and teaching artist. She served as a Founding Contributor in Theatre for the MAEIA project.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here Joni Starr: Arts Integration, Part 2.
Joni Starr: Arts Integration, Part 1
Arts education benefits students because it affords them creative capacity and this allows students to be a part of making their own education instead of just receiving it. The creative process asks students to be...
Arts education benefits students because it affords them creative capacity and this allows students to be a part of making their own education instead of just receiving it.
The creative process asks students to be inspired and to be imaginative. To pay attention to the world around them and envision something that isn’t there, but could be. It sparks big and small “what if” question in individuals and these inquiries often lead to meaningful and impactful outcomes in all sectors of society.
The creative process also demands a skill from students. Often times this is in the form of artistic expression, from the more formal disciplines of music, dance, theatre and visual art to architecture, engineering and gastronomy. These skills are the foundation for creating, for putting something in the world that wasn’t there before.
The creative process requires students to relate to each other. The work is not accomplished in a vacuum. Making observations, discussing options and recognizing differences all feed the imagination. Choosing of materials, assessing value and editing choices hone the skills. In connecting with others, students are building a community of trust and confidence that provides a platform for success.
This approach to education, this integrating of the arts into teaching and learning, this practice of creative capacity, is a strong reflection of the needs of the world. Students of today are leaders of tomorrow who will be called upon to recognize how to solve problems, how to improve living conditions, and how to connect more authentically with others.
Arts education plays a central role in our world and should also play a central role in our schools.
Joni Starr is an Arts Integration Specialist and Theatre Educator. She served as a MAEIA Founding Contributor.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here: Joni Starr: Arts Integration, Part 1
Ana Luisa Cardona: Chutes and Ladders
When I arrived in graduate school forty-six years ago, it became clear that I enjoyed crossing the boundaries of academic disciplines far too often. In those days, crossing disciplinary boundaries was a practice frowned upon...
When I arrived in graduate school forty-six years ago, it became clear that I enjoyed crossing the boundaries of academic disciplines far too often. In those days, crossing disciplinary boundaries was a practice frowned upon by those whose professional careers were built upon ever-increasing levels of specialization. Forging new chutes between education and art, communications and anthropology, image and word, movement and understanding, practice and theory didn’t fall neatly into predetermined knowledge silos. Although change was in the air, evidenced by Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message (1968) and John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972), it has taken awhile for the breeze of change to take hold.
In 1984, my hunger for connections led me away from the ivory towers toward work with a community arts organization in Detroit where all forms of knowledge and skills had to converge to support a multi-arts and media community center dedicated to social change. Armed with the “just-released” ground-breaking 128 ram MacIntosh computer, this vibrant organization put the ability to combine words and images in the hands of artists and journalists, poets and musicians, community members young and old.
Continuing my dance with one foot in higher education and the other in the world of community-based arts, I happened in 1997 upon For the Sake of Science, the Arts Deserve Support by Robert Root-Bernstein in the Chronicle for Higher Education. Here was a MacArthur Fellow and “Genius Awardee” granting academic research-based permission to: make meaningful connections across the polar opposites of art and science; to align and make sense across disciplines and bodies of knowledge; and across habits of thinking and doing.
This “connected” approach later informed my work as Arts Education Consultant in Michigan’s Department of Education (1998-2011) where my mantra was – “Remember the arts…you can’t integrate what you don’t have” – a caution to those who use “arts integration” as an artifice to supplant the arts.
In fact, Michigan’s Arts Education Content Standard 5 calls for students to “recognize, analyze, and describe connections among the arts; between the arts and other disciplines; and between the arts and everyday life.” The National Core Arts Standards define the standard dedicated to connecting as “relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.” The connected approach is perhaps best illustrated by Michigan’s Visual Performing and Applied Arts Credit Guidelines developed by a committee of K-12 arts educators and higher education faculty and researchers in 2006- one of whom was the already-mentioned Robert Root-Bernstein, co-author of Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People (2001) with with Michéle Root-Bernsteinand professor of physiology at Michigan State University.
In these Michigan credit guidelines, silos are broken down and the artistic-creative process is described as a rather messy iterative process in which steps are revisited several times, in differing order, before creative results are finalized in significant contrast with the traditional linear process in which each step is visited once in a single order.
While discipline-based knowledge and skills are critical to developing fully in the arts, connections are essential in a world where no one discipline holds the answer to complex problems and the traditional ladders of specialization call out for the chutes that connect us and make our lives and work meaningful. Close to fifty years later, this “graduate student” continues to color outside the lines because that is where the interesting stuff is happening.
Ana Luisa Cardona serves as Arts Education Consultant for the MAEIA project. She brings a state and national perspective to the work of MAEIA.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here: Ana Luisa Cardona: Chutes and Ladders.
Cecilia Gollan: How MAEIA has Made Me a Better Teacher (Part 1)
If you were to stand outside my classroom or talk to kids that take my classes, you would get the impression that I know what I am doing. Kids would make comments about how they...
If you were to stand outside my classroom or talk to kids that take my classes, you would get the impression that I know what I am doing. Kids would make comments about how they like my class and want to take more art. Well, that is all true. Personally, however, I feel that I am not a master teacher and can always do better.
An Invitation to Elevate
Back in 2011, there was this survey about arts education came out and I told my principal I was filling it out. Little did I know, I would become a part of this project called MAEIA. I am not sure how it came about, but I applied to become a part a meeting with other art teachers from across the state.
I remember sitting in my first meeting as a blueprint writer. I was in awe and a little intimidated by the brain power in the room. I had heard of some of these names, but had never met them. It was pretty amazing. As the day went on, our task unfolded. We were going to create a gold standard plan for four arts disciplines in Michigan. All I could think about was how exciting this MAEIA thing was going to be for the arts programs in our state and I was going to be a part of it.
I started as a blueprint writer. During this process, I learned how to better express myself in order to have a greater impact on arts classrooms, including my own. I researched to see what was happening in our state and across the country to support our recommendations.
Next, a program review tool was created to help districts and schools take a deeper look at their arts programs. I tested this on my own visual arts teachers. The results were similar to what I expected. I was able to share my results with my superintendent and he then was able to look deeper at our programing.
Around the same time an assessment specifications document was created which looked at state curriculum and national standards to suggest ways to assess students. This process helped me to look at what I was doing in my own classroom and reevaluate my assessment processes.
As these documents were written I don’t think is was until we started writing the high school assessments that I was able to reflect on my teaching and see the benefits of this project. The process of connecting the standards with a way to assess students that let me see my practices needed a 2.0 version.
At that point, I had been teaching middle school for 19 years. I had always strived to change things up and be innovative in my classroom. It is amazing what diving into state and national standards does for your classroom practices. As I worked through the writing of first high school, and then K-8 assessments, I also switched from teaching middle school to high school. I was a veteran teacher, but really felt like it was my first year. As I made this switch and needed to familiarize myself with the state standards I was relieved that I had these assessments as my finger tips.
The best part of this project and MAEIA assessments is that they are adaptable to our current practices and projects. I found that it was easy to slip in an assessment when I could search for one that was related to what was already planned.
Fast forward to October 2017, I am still a part of MAEIA. I am a Leadership Fellow- sharing these resources with teachers, administrators, districts, and cultural organizations who want to advance creativity in education. I am also a Team Lead for the Collaborative Scoring System pilot. Along the journey of MAEIA there has been many parts to make it what it is today. I have been fortunate to have been involved in many of them.
Margaret Thiele: Go Get Lost!
I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not...
I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not only requires moving all my earthly possessions, but it also means finding new doctors, dentists, stores and more. While the internet is great, and I do have navigation systems on my phone and in my car that will lead me directly to where I want to go, I have found that if I just get in my car and take the risk of getting lost, I learn so much more about the area.
For one thing, I find new ways to get home, which is definitely helpful with summer construction and detours that seem to pop up all over. But even more helpful, I find new sites worthy of investigation such an amazing park, an interesting boutique, intriguing eateries, or other helpful businesses to keep in mind for future needs—such as a shop where I can get my bicycle repaired. It does require more time than if I used my GPS and travel the direct route, however, I never really realized how helpful it could be to get lost.
The MAEIA Connection
When it comes to exploring the MAEIA website, it helps to just go get lost. The MAEIA website provides an excellent search engine for locating exactly what you need for an assessment, such as: the specific concept, discipline, grade level, or Content Standard. In addition, you can do a keyword search if you are only vaguely sure of what you want in an assessment. But, to become really familiar with the assessments I recommend getting lost.
Just dive in and start reading through the assessments. You will always be able to find your way back to the home page, no problem. You certainly will become more familiar with assessments in order to answer questions and guide participants when conducting a face-to-face.
You will likely find many other helpful items along the way, such as: ideas for teaching that you might want to modify for a different grade or discipline, ideas for integrating other topics/disciplines into your own teaching or for assisting classroom teachers, or maybe an assessment to keep in mind for future reference—when you try out that new unit you have been thinking about.
It will take a time commitment, and if you don’t have the time at the moment you can always take the direct route with the easy navigation tools at the top of the Browse MAEIA Model Assessments page. However, if you take the time to explore, you will find it to be time well spent. So go ahead, just get lost!
A downloadable pdf of this article is available here MThiele_GoGetLost.
Liz Andrews: “Jump in- take a chance- try something new.”
The MAEIA Leadership Fellows work individually and collaboratively to create and present professional learning on the use of MAEIA resources in face-to-face and webinar formats. For some presenters, virtual sessions are new formats which lead...
The MAEIA Leadership Fellows work individually and collaboratively to create and present professional learning on the use of MAEIA resources in face-to-face and webinar formats. For some presenters, virtual sessions are new formats which lead to new understandings of how to create dynamic engagement.
We have invited the Leadership Fellows to write about their experiences as they engage the creative process in developing this work. Liz Andrews and Cynthia Clingman recently collaborated to present a virtual session. Here, Liz shares her thoughts on the process and the product of making her first MAEIA Leadership Fellows virtual presentation.
“Jump in – take a chance – try something new.”
These are encouraging words we give to our students and last month we got a chance to model this behavior. In creating and presenting our first webinar, my colleague Cindy Clingman and I did just that: jumped in, took a chance and tried something quite new. The result? Great experience for us and groundwork laid for future presentations.
Thanks to Cindy’s outstanding preparations, the technical aspects of the presentation including set-up and delivery were spot-on and easy for us to facilitate.
What I learned from the general lack of participant interaction is that we as presenters can improve our methods of instruction to adjust to the technical, online format. Basically, webinar participants can hit the mute button, walk away from the screen and tune out all together without the presenters ever knowing they left the room. Is this a high-quality arts professional development presentation? Without any engagement is any learning happening?
We need to adjust our planning leading to a webinar that brings the MAEIA project to life.
The challenge is how to make webinars: Engaging, Relevant, Interactive in ways that lead the participant to pursue the MAEIA resources further and want more .
After doing a bit of google research, here are some tips I’ve gleaned to pursue a more collaborative, inspiring webinar:
1. Make it personal.
Make some time at the very beginning of the webinar to find out some interesting facts about each attendee.
Begin with some type of question that requires an investigative answer. This can be anything from how much they currently know and/or use the MAEIA resources to other types of arts assessments they are familiar with.
2. Involve them with the content.
This can be like a guessing game – instead of presenting information on a slide and then moving on, show a photograph of a student in action and ask them to guess or make a prediction about the outcome relevant to the content.
3. Check in.
At several points within the webinar, stop and ask for specific feedback to check for comprehension. Present a thoughtful question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
I am looking forward to putting these ideas into action, making my next MAEIA webinar an engaging, inspiring presentation that arts educators will want to share!
Do you remember what it is like to try new things? Tell us about it!
Interested in becoming a MAEIA Leadership Fellow? We’ll soon be inviting applications to the program. Think it over! We are particularly interested in Administrators, Teaching Artists, Community Artists, and K-12 Educators.
Introducing the MAEIA Leadership Fellows
The MAEIA project, with generous support from the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Department of Education, assists school districts, buildings, educators,...
The MAEIA project, with generous support from the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Department of Education, assists school districts, buildings, educators, and the public in implementing a high quality arts education program in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts for all K-12 students.
We would like to introduce the MAEIA Leadership Fellows, a cadre of arts educators prepared with general and specialized professional development presentations and personalized coaching strategies to elevate the arts education programs offered in Michigan schools and beyond using the MAEIA resources.
The MAEIA Leadership Fellows work collaboratively and individually to offer presentations in virtual, face-to-face, general and specialized formats.
We proudly present the following educators with a sampling of their presentation and consulting topics:
Elizabeth Andrews: MAEIA Overview for Dance and Theatre, Moving to Learn: Kinesthetic Intelligence in the Classroom, Engaging with Community Organizations and Teaching Artists, Artful Thinking in All Classrooms, Philanthropy In and Through the Arts
Rebecca Arndt: MAEIA Overview for Music, Using PBIS in a Music Setting, Music Curriculum
Hedy Blatt: Public Relations for Arts Educators, Organizational and Classroom Management Strategies for Arts Educators, Arts Events Planning, Arts Advocacy Strategies
Tammi Browning: MAEIA Overview for Visual Arts, Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness with MAEIA Resources, How MAEIA Tools can be used by Community Partners and Teaching Artists
Cynthia Clingman: MAEIA Overview, Literacy, Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness
Cathy DePentu: MAEIA Overview for Music, Educator Effectiveness using MAEIA Resources
Cecilia Gollan: MAEIA Overview for Visual Arts, Using SLOs, MAEIA Resrouces, Student Portfolio and Electronic Data Systems to Demonstrate Educator Effectiveness
Debra Henning: MAEIA Overview for Interdisciplinary Studies, STEAM, Collaborating with Community Partners
Carrie Jeruzal: Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness with SLO writing and Bundled Assessments, Feminist Art-Based Visual Arts Curriculum, East Asian Art-Based Visual Arts Curriculum, Empty Bowls Community Outreach Programming, Fiber Arts Education for Middle School Students
James Mobley: Demonstrating Growth of Students and Educators in Music, Getting the Most Jazz Out of your Rock Drummer, Maximizing Technology in your Music Classroom Using One Device
Holly Olszewski: MAEIA Overview for Music, Music Curriculum
Beth Post: MAEIA Overview in Dance, K-12 Dance Education, K-12 Arts Integration, Collaborating with Community Partners and Teaching Artists
Cindy Swan-Eagan: Music Education, MAEIA Resources
Margaret Theile: MAEIA Program Review Tool and Resources, Music Development and Cognition, Rhythm Instruction for Assisting Elementary At-Risk Readers, Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness using the MAEIA Resources, Public Policy and Music Education
Soon, you’ll be able to read more about each of the Fellows as well as their direct contact information on a dedicated Fellows page on the MAEIA website. For now, please contact us to schedule professional development presentations and more at the Contact Us link at the top of the page.
Thanks, again, to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for providing the support needed to develop the MAEIA Leadership Fellows program.