Arts Integration


"I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life, a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training – training that prepares them to become confident young men and women."

Richard W. Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education


Arts Integration Introduction

Arts integration provides teachers with the opportunity to transform their classrooms into rooms where children are observing, comparing, assessing, critiquing, analyzing, and creating all while integrating other content areas in a meaningful and relevant way. We all know that children learn by doing, and the arts are intrinsically doing by nature.

This website will guide you through the different steps you can take to implement an arts integration plan at your school. As you read through this website, take time to reflect on what might work best at your school location. Although many teachers are already successfully integrating the arts into their curriculum, a team working together can generate more ideas. Arts integration practices are not “one size fits all” but rather a process of planning, implementing, reflecting, and refining. Do not be afraid to take risks and change your approach.

The following links can be found on the menu on the left side of this page. They are sequenced to guide you through the process of integrating the arts in your classroom:

To find support materials for advocating a Fine Arts program visit the Center for Fine Arts Education. On this site you will find an article by Steven N. Kelly titled "Fine Arts-Related Instruction's Influence on Academic Success," a study comparing the amount of fine arts credit in art, music, dance and test scores, one page brochures which can be downloaded and printed, and a PowerPoint presentation.


Authentic Connections: Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts
The purpose of this document is to assist and support educators in interdisciplinary work and to clarify how the arts can be taught with integrity through the interdisciplinary content standards. It has been prepared for teachers in all disciplines, teaching artists, administrators, teacher educators at the college level, and parents.

Principles of Good Arts Integration
This document outlines four characteristics of good arts integration.  Additionally, it includes the elements of an arts integration unit.

Creating Quality Integrated and Interdisciplinary Arts Programs
The report offers some reflection on arts integration while examining a diverse group of partnerships and a set of new important tools to aid efforts in improving arts teaching and learning across the classroom.

Characteristics of Exemplary Curriculum Units
Nebraska K-16 educators who have been working, as part of the Nebraska Prairie Visions Consortium to implement comprehensive arts education, developed this list of criteria to evaluate curriculum units incorporating the arts. We asked ourselves what an exemplary unit would look like and came up with this list which has been modified and adapted over a number of years.

Professional Pay-Off: The Rewards of Arts Education
As part of the ArtWorks Newsletter, this article discusses why integrating the arts into curriculum is vitally important as well as the rewards you reap when such integration is accomplished. It also includes several inspiring lesson ideas.

Checklist for Characteristics of Exemplary Units in Comprehensive Arts Education
An easy to use checklist for identifying best practices in arts integration.

Connecting the Visual Arts to Math
These innovative examples of arts integrated, grade-appropriate, standards-based lesson ideas were designed by visual artist and author of “Drawing in the Classroom” Roger Kukes. They all connect the visual arts to math.

Connecting Music to the Curriculum
Classroom activities and lesson ideas generated by teams of residency artists and educators are offered as practical and creative support for classroom teachers in connecting the art of music to other core content areas.

Crossing Paths with Eric Booth
This article is a transcript from the Keynote Address given at Crossing Paths 1999 by Eric Booth. During his keynote address, Mr. Booth lead participants through experiential exercises to discover the “skills of art” common to separate artistic disciplines, and discussed his view of art and arts education.

Learning Through the Arts
In this article, I will examine why the arts, with an emphasis on dance, are significant in education and why art forms should be taught with other disciplines.  I will also provide examples of integrated arts experiences for several age levels and describe how to begin with the essence of an idea, and through the creative process, make connections in the arts and other curriculum areas.

Learning Through Music Portfolios in Elementary School
This conversation, taken from a transcript of a student portfolio conference, provides a reference point for work that is vital to the Learning Through Music (LTM) program.  Three third-grade boys are sitting with me around a table in the library of Nahant's Johnson School.  I have been asking them about their work with LTM specialists.


Next: Why Arts Integration?