Arts integration is an approach to teaching that uses the fine and performing arts as primary pathways to learning. The goal of arts integration is to increase knowledge of an academic subject area while concurrently fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of the arts. A growing body of research consistently demonstrates that students experience greater academic success when taught how to use music, visual art, dance, theatre/drama, and the literary arts to understand and express concepts, ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
At SBCS we integrate the arts in myriad ways in an attempt to enrich our students’ learning and increase their engagement in school. We hire resident artists to work with individual classes or grades, bringing their expertise in a particular discipline or medium and marrying this expertise with our teachers’ mastery of academic content. Students experience and learn art, craft, and academic content concurrently, using the arts both to deepen their understanding of content and to display what they’ve learned. Along the way students often learn to love art. Furthermore, with every resident artist we engage, we increase our faculty’s capacity to teach through the arts. In this way, as our staff gains arts experience and wisdom, we build a more self-sustaining arts integration program.
In addition to our eclectic resident artist experiences, our students attend art classes taught by our own elementary grades art teacher. In these classes too, the arts are integrated with other academic content. Our art department works collaboratively with classroom teachers to connect with and enrich classroom expedition work. Throughout the year, you can find art in regular classrooms in which all hands are on deck for the ambitious, fun, frequently boisterous, often messy, and always productive work of solidifying, synthesizing, and demonstrating knowledge through the arts.
Arts Integration in the Middle Grades
Students in 5th-8th grade can choose to take visual art and/or dance.
Dance: Students learn the basic skills, technique and etiquette of ballet, modern contemporary and jazz. They focus on core strength, endurance and stretching. Students learn foundational movement concepts such as spatial awareness, proper body alignment, precision in movement, and the use of momentum and direction. Students are also given the opportunity to create personal choreographies. The Dance Teacher works collaboratively with the classroom teachers to create dance pieces that connect to the academic content. Dance is presented to students as a way of staying active and physically fit.
Visual Arts: In the Middle Grades art studio at SBCS, students are encouraged to engage with Big Ideas and question the world around them. Student artists explore a variety of art forms, including painting, drawing, sculpting, and pottery. All students are encouraged to take risks and create high quality work. Student art pieces can be political, expressive, exploratory, or just for fun. The Art Teacher works collaboratively with the classroom teachers to create works of art that connect to the academic content.