Integrating Visual Arts

Visual Arts
By Shelley Durling
What is arts Integration? We need a shift in our attitude towards instruction in
the arts as a part of the curriculum and not an “add on”.
Why Integrate the Arts ?
Ideas to Integrate the Visual Arts
These ideas all came from Artsedge. I have printed out some
lessons from the site. Each lesson has links to related sources.
• When writing haiku poetry, also look at Chinese
culture and illustrate the poetry with Chinese
inspired art works.
• Compare versions of the Cinderella story
(Egyptian, Chinese, and American) and integrate
the visual arts.
• Make a rain stick and accompany a traditional
rain making song when studying Africa.
Listen to the wind
Nature flows over and past
People standing still
Haiku Poetry
African culture
Cinderella Comparisons
Quick and easy ways to add art to lessons ...
5 W’s and an H
George Catlin
Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears,
Second Chief, in Full Dress 1832
Artworks are primary resources in
the same way that letters, diaries,
and other textual sources are.
Historical context is extremely
important to the “reading” of
these resources. To get the whole
picture, select a work of art and
assign your students to research
the answers to the simple
questions: who, what, when,
where, why, and how.
Teaching the skill of observing details and then inferring to
interpret and formulate a conclusion is key to critical
Observation vs. Interpretation
 aboriginal symbols in hill
 making a statement about the tie
between native peoples and the land.
 people in white coats
Conclusion: Uses art to magnify stupidity
Inquiry Planning for Integration
• Great for split grades.
• Original question generates new questions and new
learning opportunities.
• Can be done as whole group to start.
• With the gradual release model, small groups then
work on specific questions and become the “experts”.
• Jigsaw approach and addresses all learning styles .
• Questions often begin around social studies or science
expectations but can also focus on the arts.
• Integration of the arts has been proven to improve
engagement and raise testing scores.
Grade 2/3 Social Studies Example
Grade 2
Grade 3
Heritage and Citizenship –
Traditions and Celebrations
HC – Early Settlements in Upper
How does culture affect the way people live?
Canada and World Connections
– Features of Communities
around the World
CWC – Urban and Rural
Are some communities better than others?
What makes a community a good place to live?
(Start with a look at your own community – learn about
communities in Canada and around the world)
(Start with student culture – then go to specific cultures
Big Ideas:
Big Ideas:
past and present – eg. first nations in 1800, white people
Canada has people from a 
Early settlers had to adapt to in 1800’s Canada, European’s in 1800’s, present day
variety of cultures
their new environment and
cultures in Canada)
Various cultures have
learn how to use available
different beliefs which
resources to live
Role: Museum Curator , Archeologist,
influences their traditions 
The time period in which you
and celebrations
live influence community
Culminating Activity – Create a piece for an exhibit, or
values and culture
gallery showing your learning.
Big Ideas:
The world is made up of
various countries,
continents and regions all 
with their own similarities
and differences
People from around the
world interact with each
other in various ways.
All communities in the world
are either urban or rural and
must interact with each other.
Urban and rural communities
have distinct characteristics
some of which are similarities
and some are differences
Role: Travel Agent, Advertising – Tourism
Culminating Activity – create a tourism kiosk to show
what the community you studied is all about –
Students go around with their passports and places they
like to go they get stamped.
This inquiry was co-designed with Erin Poulin
Pioneer/Traditions &
Melanie Bilenker
Pioneer/Traditions &
Examples From Book 365 Things To Do With Paper and Cardboard
Examples From Book Classroom Art
These could both generate new
questions and more learning
• How does culture affect the way people
• Birthday (gr.2) with Adapting to
environment (gr.3) HAIR ART
• What could we use today to make
art if we had the same boundaries
to work with? (Something we readily
have that does not cost much to
• What would future archeologists
interpret from our artifacts?
• What makes a community a good
place to live?
• World communities (gr.2) with Urban
and Rural (gr.3)
• What are the similarities and
differences between Canada and
• POTTERY, (art galleries)
• How does the culture and
community affect the art produced?
• MASKS with a kiosk display
What if we used the same
idea for art assessment or
even added another row to
integrate art assessment
into our current
progressive walls....
Use of
elements and
principles of
Example Lesson Resource Package
Using the Artsedge Lesson Plan (Cinderella Trilogy) as a resource I made a lesson plan
called Paper Shoe Design with templates, activity cards, and assessment options. I would
do the activities in their lesson plan first to make sure they have the necessary prior
knowledge to make connections.
Check out the Artedge site with this link to begin other integrated lessons. It has built in
web links, resources and lesson plans with templates and sometimes assessment
rubrics. You can adapt the expectations to meet the Ontario visual arts curriculum.
One more thing....
Smart history has wonderful videos with art professors about many art periods. Check
out Contemporary Chinese Artist Al WeiWei, who is in jail for his “Message Art”. He was
one of the inspirations for my seed.
“Every child
is an artist.
The problem
is how to
remain an
artist once
he grows
― Pablo
Bibliography and Resource List
Curriculum Documents
• The Arts Ontario Curriculum Gr.1-8 2009 Revised
• Elementary Years Principles of Design Lessons
Grades One through Eight Resource to Support
the 2009 Revised Ontario Arts Curriculum Policy
Document Lead Writer: Beryl Cohen, Writer: Neil
Ritchie, Reviewer: Irene Jarosz
365 Things To Do With Paper and Cardboard
Classroom Art by Amelia Ruscoe
Engaging the Adolescent Mind by Ken Virth
Why Arts Integration? Two Big Reasons
Writers Lynne B. Silverstein Senior Program Consultant The John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts Sean Layne Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and founder of Focus 5,
Relevant Literature What are some sources for research and
current thinking about arts integration? by Joan Isenberg and Jennifer
McCreadie with Jennifer Dunham and Bernadine Pearson George Mason University
Arts Integration and 21st Century Skills
What knowledge and skills do students need to be successful in the
21st century? Arts integration provides answers. Lynne B. Silverstein
Senior Program Consultant The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
OAEA Visual Literacy 2008 by Bob Phillips
Nationa Art Gallery
Smart History
Video Links
Why Art matters:
The Right Brain Initiative:
What is Arts Integration?: