Posted on 01/19/2015 at 11:11 AM by Blog Experts

National Core Arts Standards have been written and can be found here: http://www.nationalartsstandards.org/. These standards are for dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. There are 11 anchor standards in four different strands: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Responding, and Connecting.

There are also philosophical foundations and lifelong goals embedded into these standards: The Arts as Communication; The Arts as Creative Realization; The Arts as Culture, History, and Connectors; Arts as Means to Wellbeing; and The Arts as Community Engagement. There is a rubric with performance levels of proficient, accomplished, and advanced.

According to a blog by the Hechinger Report (http://educationbythenumbers.org/content/arts-education-data_2636/), the standards emphasize the integration of art into math, literature, science, and social studies. As of the date of this blog, 25 states require some type of arts credit for graduation for high school, 17 states require assessment of student learning in the arts, and three Midwestern states (Arkansas, Kansas, and Nebraska) have adopted these standards or some form of them.

Several school districts have discovered that integrating the arts into the entire curriculum results in higher, deeper learning (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/01/how-integrating-arts-into-other-subjects-makes-learning-come-alive/). H.O. Wheeler Elementary in Burlington, Vermont began integrating the arts into their curriculum six years ago. Art was no longer thought of as an extra subject, but an integral part of all students’ learning. At that time, only 17% of their third grade students were proficient in math on the statewide assessment. After six years of art integration, they were up to 66% proficiency. The school had 95% of its students on free and reduced lunch, and many students were immigrants.

If your school or district isn’t interested in integrating art school-wide, consider doing it yourself, or finding one other teacher who will be willing to work with you. That’s what Elizabeth Peterson did at Cashman Elementary School in Amesbury, Massachusetts. She found that, “When kids are learning through the arts, they end up getting a deeper understanding and the concepts end up sticking much better” (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/01/how-integrating-arts-into-other-subjects-makes-learning-come-alive/).

Susan Barber (http://www.aplithelp.com/art-close-reading-5-ways-see-critically/) uses art in her AP English class to teach critical thinking. “Art,” she said, “is one of the most underutilized resources in today’s AP class.” She shared five ideas, using paintings from art history to enhance students’ understanding to think critically and analytically. Additionally, Barber has her students create their own artwork to help them understand difficult passages of text they may be reading.

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