Posts Tagged ‘arts integration’


Brains on Fire Course

March 11, 2016

New England Institute for Teacher Education

EDAR 528 Brains on Fire: Rekindling Imagination in the Classroom, K-8. This course has been approved as one of four courses toward Gifted Talented endorsement 690 K-12 by the Maine Department of Education.

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Catherine Ring, course instructor

This exciting arts integration course will explore the significant role the arts can play in learning. Educating gifted and talented learners will be included as a component of this study and we will also explore the latest research on the brain and creativity.

You will get to see examples of student learning through visual art, dance, music and drama; learn about the critical evidence of improved achievement in all subject areas by students who are regularly exposed to the arts; and participate in practical, hands-on arts integration lessons which can be used immediately in the classroom. Helpful resources, including books, videos, websites and lesson plans will be shared. Collaborative work between arts teachers and classroom teachers are encouraged. You will take away a renewed sense of confidence that you CAN make a difference in your classroom by making room for the arts, promoting engaged students through a rich learning culture.

The New England Institute honors the individual needs of teachers taking our classes, and you will create a self-designed course study with guidance from the instructor, using the wealth of materials provided to you, making the course relevant and immediately applicable to your classroom.

So join instructor, Catherine Ring,  in this wonderful opportunity to learn, create, network and grow in your ability to make your teaching and learning for your students even more dynamic and engaging.

CLICK HERE to learn more and to register.


Creativity of the Blue Dog

November 15, 2014

Jacques Rodrigue

IMG_1302While in New Orleans these past few days for the State Arts Agencies professional development institute participants had the opportunity to visit with Jacques Rodrigue in the George Rodrigue gallery. Jacques is the son of famed Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue whose foundation is making an incredible impact on Louisiana arts education. In this TEDx Jacques tells his story about how he has bypassed a career in law to work to help Louisiana education through arts-integration. Jacques traces his father’s artistic history in order to draw parallels between his own career path and how we have to prepare our students for a life full of unknown opportunities.

In the hotel where I was staying there are several large paintings by George in the lobby. What a treat!


Integrating Teaching Through the Arts

August 10, 2014

Lesley University2d3d1be6-2b92-48d7-827f-1d7fefa351c7Lindsay Pinchbeck is teaching this course at her center in Hope, Sweet Tree Arts. Lindsay collaborated with Barb Vinal at the Summit on Arts Education, July 29-August 1, to present a session on integration. You can read about it by clicking here.


Arts Integration Session: Summit

August 8, 2014
 An Introduction to Arts Integration
The session “An Introduction to Arts Integration” was provided for the participants at the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Summit on Arts Education held July 29-August 1 at USM, Portland by Lindsay Pinchbeck and Barbara (Packeles) Vinal. Today’s post is information that they shared along with a plethora of resources  during the session. Both can be reached if you have questions by emailing them: Lindsay Barbara
It was GREAT to have both Barb and Lindsay participate in the Summit. They have areas of expertise that the Summit participants benefited greatly from! Thank you Lindsay and Barbara for joining the MAAI community and sharing your richness!

Lindsay Pinchbeck and Barbara (Packeles) Vinal Photo taken by Catherine Ring

About Lindsay Pinchbeck

Originally from Scotland Lindsay Pinchbeck came to Maine for her undergraduate degree. Lindsay has been teaching with and through the arts in a variety of settings for the past 15 years. Lindsay is now the director and founder of Sweet Tree Arts L3C, a community arts organization in Hope, ME. Pinchbeck gained her Masters in Education through Lesley University’s Creative Arts and Learning program. Creatively Lindsay works as a print maker and photographer. Lindsay believes the creative arts should be accessible to all. She encourages us to be active participants and keen observers with the hope of enriching our communities through the arts.

Collected ideas by Lindsay Pinchbeck

Arts integration brings the driving forces of the arts; story, drama, movement, poetry, visual thinking and music into our lives allowing us to deepen our knowledge as educators and to bring the feeling and emotion inherent in the arts into the curriculum. Further the creative process of Imagining, Creating, Critiquing, Exhibiting/ Performing allows students to retain their knowledge for life rather than just holding information for a test. We can also confidently say we are engaging in ‘21st century skills’ of communicating, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

“It is ironic, but the enlargement of life through the arts is a powerful way to see what is lifelike. By making things larger than life or by recontextualizing them, reality, whichever it is, seems to be made more vivid…..The arts provide a platform for seeing things in ways other than they are normally seen. In so doing they help us wonder, ‘Why not?”. – Elliot Eisner, The Arts and the Creation of Mind

When you engage in the arts you cannot escape the emotive qualities and questions which arise. The question which continues to come to the forefront when deeply engaged in the arts is ‘Why Not?’ This questioning allows us to take risks, and engage in innovative ideas and practices which propel us to higher level thinking and allows us to move forward as a society as well as in our own personal growth.

“If no one changes the world it will stay as it is, if no one changes the play it will come to the same end as before.” Augusto Boal.

Integrating the arts in an arts curriculum is just as important as integrating the arts into a math or science curriculum, as we are better able to meet the needs of variable learners in our classroom. The perception that art is a special talent attainable by just a few limits the potential for rich experiences in our classrooms and daily lives. Just as every child can learn to read and understand mathematical concepts so every learner should be expected to ascertain the skills to draw, sing or move with confidence and proficiency. These are measurable and attainable skills as the MAAI has proven and encouraged, and we can better meet the standards and needs of our students when we have more ways to engage many learning styles present in our classroom. With all the research now available on the success of Arts integration the question should be why are we not making this a standard in our approach to classroom teaching?

Process and Product are equally important in art making, as Elliot Eisner states –

“ The phrase ‘work of art’ can have two meanings. It can refer to work of art, or it can refer to the work of art. The former refers to the product created, the latter to the process of creating it. Aesthetic experience can be secured at each location.”

The value of process and product reminds us we gain from action as well as from observation and experience. For example standing in a museum and experiencing a pulsating Mark Rothko painting or listening to live music allows us to have both personal and shared experiences allowing for new thinking.

Arts Integration nurtures the teacher – Arts integration is enriching and engaging for the teacher. When you apply the creative process to your classroom you too are communicating, collaborating and applying critical thinking skills.

Empathy and Human Connection is also an important element to consider when engaging in the arts. When we connect with others through non-verbal experiences we are likely to experience an emotive response which encourages our empathic awareness. The arts offers us new perspectives; The child you are struggling to reach through your own teaching/learning style may let you in when given an opportunity to express herself through poetry or drama, allowing you another avenue to support.

Thus Arts Integration uses the power of the arts to learn more about the people we work with, ourselves included. It is truly about the human connection and having many ways in which to engage and deepen our understanding. Seeing with fresh eyes, listening to stories, moving through space together, are the elements of the arts we as arts educators know in our core. The ability to risk, play, make mistakes and create, allows us to engage deeply with students and inspires creative classrooms and schools.

Recommended resources:


Jensen, E. (2001), Arts with the brain in Mind,

Robinson,K.(2011), Out of our Minds, UK, Capstone Publishers

Elliot Eisner, E (2002) The Arts and the Creation of Mind. New Haven, CT.

McLaren, K. (2013) The Art of Empathy, Boulder, CO: Sounds True

Powell,M.C. & Speiser V.M. (2005), The Arts, Education, and Social Change, Little signs of Hope, New York; Peter Lang Publishing.


Way, Brian. (1967) Development through Drama, London: Longman Group.

Gilbert, M. (1997) Creative dance for all ages. VA: National Dance Association.

Collins, B. (2005) The trouble with Poetry. New York, Random House.

Boal, A. (2002) Games for Actors and Non Actors, London, Routledge.

Hamilton and Weiss(2005) Children Tell Stories, New York: Owen Publishers

London, P. (1989) No More Second Hand Art, Boston, MA: Shambala.


About Barbara (Packales) Vinal

Barbara (Packales) Vinal – Hello! This year marks the end of my 23 years in the music classroom. I have taught music predominantly at the elementary level, a few years teaching high school and continue to teach piano privately. I spent 12 years in Maine teaching Elementary music in MSAD #11 – Gardiner; as a member of the DOE Learning Results Review Committee; and part of the Maine Music Educators Executive Board. In 2010 I moved to Raleigh, NC to continue to teach elementary music and also coach teachers in Technology Integration for the Wake County Public School System. I now am a Technology Integration Specialist full time. I also develop and teach online Fine Arts courses for LearnNC a division of the University of North Carolina.

Visual Art Assessment project by Barbara (Packales) Vinal

This project was done with Grade 5 but is adaptable to any grade level.

Driving Question: “How can I use technology to assess my artwork?”

Tools needed:

  • Any device that takes digital pictures.
  • PicCollage (available on any Smartphone, iOS device or Android device)
  • Digital voice recorder – (built in to a Smartphone or stand alone)
  • Web space for uploading finished product
  • Optional: QR code generator and reader

Similar ways to use this type of assessment by modifying the media (video with voice over)

  • Portfolio of various works/performances
  • Music Composition


Black History Performance Project

This project was done with Grade 5 but is adaptable to any grade level.

Driving Question: “How can I create content for a performance about Black


Tools needed:

  • Research medium (Discovery Education or guided Internet searches)
  • Word processing program; Google docs or DE Board Builder
  • Video camera
  • Optional: Google forms for assessment

All links and tools will be found at:

Twitter: @BarbVinal

Text or call: 919-607-6541



Arts Integration Prezi

January 2, 2014

Integrating the Arts

If you are unfamiliar with Prezi it is a presentation software that is free and located at It allows you to create presentations that appear 3-dimensional. This Prezi does a great job at explaining arts integration and why it makes sense as an approach to teaching. It is located at


Arts and Literacy

January 22, 2013

How well do you play with others?

DanseThe second live webinar installment of the Arts component of the Cross Discipline Literacy Network (CDLN) is this Thursday from 3pm to 4pm.

“How to play with others” is an investigation in to using strategies and frameworks so that each content area is enhanced and strengthened in the learning environment.

There are many changes and adaptions afoot in the arts world and understanding the developments available to us will help to create relationships with our non-arts education colleagues that embrace and support the unique gifts that the arts bring us.

This is an invitation to join Jen Nash, Lisa Gilman, Suzanne Goulet and specials guests, Catherine Ring and Argy Nestor in these discussions.

Please consider sharing some of your successful integrations with us!

To join the meeting:
1.    Go online to

2.    Select ‘Enter as a Guest’ and type your name in the corresponding field.

3.    To listen and speak during the meeting, you will need to be connected by telephone:

·         The meeting can call you at a phone number you provide at log-in, or

·         You can dial directly into the meeting: 1-877-455-0244, Passcode 8332185782.  (Use this second option when joining the meeting from sites where your phone can only be reached through a switchboard.)

Thank you to webinar facilitator Suzanne Goulet for the blog post and for the Danse logo!


Articles, Resources, Ideas, Opportunities

December 14, 2012

Passed my way recently

Below are resources and information that you might find useful.

  • From Education Week an article called A+ Schools Arts and Other ‘Essentials’ written by Erik W. Robelen. In Oklahoma City they are solving math equations during math class. Ten years ago the idea started in a few schools and has grown to 70 today. Read about the A+ Schools network by clicking here.
  • Free professional development resources from Crayola. To learn more click here.
  • What’s Going on in this Picture? The NY Times Education section provides the chance for learning where they include photos and ask what is going on. The same question that we find in the Visual Thinking Strategy program. You can post what you think and read what others think. You can check out the article by clicking here.
  • Opportunity for students to create and for schools to benefit. Check out the vimeo with the information by clicking here.
  • This is fascinating and you will wonder “how did they do that?”. Check out Beautiful Bacteria: How to Make Art From E. Coli written by Claire O’Neill, posted October 23, 2012 by clicking here.
  • Carnegie Hall commissioned WolfBrown to conduct research to explore the potential of music and musicians in making a difference in the lives of young people in the juvenile justice system. “May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me” is the essay that was written as a result. You can learn more by clicking here.
  • Arts integration has great potential. This blog post located on the Teaching Channel Beyond Engagement: Changing How our Students Express Learning written by Lily Jones, November 6, 2012. Lily was a K/1 teacher and committed to making learning fun for teachers and students. This post is about integration and her awareness comes through in her statement: “I started off thinking of arts integration as an engagement strategy. But I soon realized it was so much more than that. When students learn through the arts, they are able to express their content knowledge in new ways.” Click here for the article.
  • Keith Haring’s interactive coloring book.
  • Read about how the opera is providing professional development for FL teachers in this article written by Stephanie Parra posted October 2, 2012 by clicking here. Music teacher from Miami Central High School said: “I want them to learn the technique of singing without a microphone and using their voice as a complete instrument; that’s what my students need to do.”

Arts Integration Transforming Schools

October 7, 2012

Edutopia recent focus on arts integration

Edutopia focused on integration and as they do so well covered many areas within the topic. The article Schools Transformation Through Art Integration written by Mariko Nobori for Edutopia explains what is going on at the Wiley H. Bates Middle School, a public school in Annapolis, Maryland after they became fully arts integrated in 2009. The transformation has positively impacted student behavior and learning.

The Edutopia staff wrote a piece called A Research-Based Approach to Arts Integration that includes the NAEP research along with other background information. Also included is the Bates Middle School information on the student growth in math and reading that was reported to the Maryland State Department of Education.

You can see the program in action in this YouTube and hear from students as well as school educators. I suggest that when you click on one of the links above that you read the other articles including How the Arts Unlock the Door to Learning.

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