Handbook for K-8 Arts Integration: Purposeful Planning across the Curriculum

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Whether you are a pre-service or a practicing teacher this is one book you will want in your library. This concise and practical, yet research-based, handbook will show you how to create and use standards-based art activities to teach across the content areas. Engaging classroom vignettes and examples show you what arts integration looks like in practice. A reflective framework throughout this handbook empowers you to plan, teach, and evaluate your own art-infused lessons within content area instruction.

Learn to create your own arts-infused lesson plans by exploring the features of this practical handbook, including:

  • In the Classroom. This feature provides detailed classroom lesson vignettes from contributing K-8 teachers who are integrating art across the curriculum. Hear about their ideas and experiences as they engage in each step of the planning process.
  • Lesson Tracker. This feature throughout each chapter enables you to identify the following key information related to each In the Classroom vignette:
    o “big ideas” addressed within the lesson, “what students need to know”
    o content standards involved
    o considerations/steps in planning
    o materials list
    o teaching strategies and sequence
    o assessments and evaluation techniques
  • Teacher Debriefing and Reflections. These features provide analytical interviews with a K-8 contributing teacher about the “why, how, and what happened?” in the In the Classroom vignette
  • Beyond the Classroom. Thesenotes provide ideas for extending learning in the arts beyond the school environment including websites, arts providers and organizations, museums, community activities, and more.
  • Self-Study forms and exercises throughout help you develop your own portfolio of arts-infused lesson plans and materials to use in your classroom.
  • Resource Bibliography (Appendix A). This materials and resource list provides a quick-reference to appropriate websites, books, and other materials related to arts-infused lessons across the K-8 curriculum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780136138136
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 8/17/2009
  • Series: Pearson Custom Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 699,043
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Nan L. McDonald, Ed.D., is currently an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at San Diego State University's School of Music and Dance. With over 30 years of teaching experience in preschool, K-university level music education, integrated arts for classroom teachers, music and early literacy development, and classroom discipline and management, Dr. McDonald is actively involved in training both future and practicing music and classroom teachers. She is the recipient of the prestigious “Monty”, the SDSU Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to the University for the SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. Dr. McDonald has twice been designated as the Outstanding Faculty Member in both Liberal Studies (1999) and School of Music and Dance (2005) and has been honored as the California Outstanding University Music Educator (2000) by the California Music Educators Association.

She was twice elected the Executive State Vice President of the California Music Educators Association (1994-1998) and continues to collaborate with many school districts and universities nationwide in professional growth offerings and curriculum development for practicing arts specialists and classroom teachers.

Dr. McDonald is the author of numerous scholarly articles in national and international publications. She is also a Program Author for Pearson Education/Scott Foresman, Silver Burdett Music’s K-8 national basal text series in music, Making Music © 2002, 2005 and Making Music With the Arts Across the Curriculum © 2008. Dr. McDonald and SDSU colleague, Dr. Douglas Fisher, have written two books for classroom teacher education entitled Teaching Literacy Through the Arts: A Guidebook for Teachers by Guilford Publications, 2006, and Developing Arts-Loving Readers: Top Ten Questions Teachers are Asking about Integrated Arts Education published by Rowan & Littlefield, 2002. Dr. McDonald is currently writing an integrated arts methods text for graduate education courses which will be published by Pearson.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What are the Arts, their standards, and impact on student learning?

Focus Activity

What are the arts?

Arts as Core Content

Who will teach the arts?

Classroom Teachers: General Education with and through the Arts

What is Purposeful Planning with and through the Arts?

Standards in the Arts

Suggestions for Standards-based Arts Activities

Research on the Impact of Arts Activity on Student Learning

Why use the arts within content area instruction?

How does participation in arts activities impact student achievement and learning?

Learning through the Arts: Student Academic and Social Development

Learning through Musical Activity

Learning through Visual Art Activity

Learning through Theatre/Drama

Learning through Dance/Movement

Learning through Integrated Arts Activities within Content Area Instruction

Learning through Arts-rich School Environments

Arts Infusion in Action: Classroom Vignette

In the Classroom:

Integrating Language Arts/Literacy with the Arts: “Orchid Paragraphs” (Content Areas: literacy/language arts, arts= visual art, music)

Teacher Debriefing: Mrs. Laws’ Grade 2 Art and Literacy Lesson

Big Ideas/ Standards Addressed

Teaching Strategies/ Sequences

Assessments/ Evaluations

Reflections on Mrs. Laws’ Lesson

Considerations in Mrs. Laws’ planning and teaching

Arts Infusion in Action: Classroom Vignette

In the Classroom: Integrating Social Studies/U.S. History with the Arts: “Let’s Find Out: George Washington and the American Revolutionary War”” (Content Areas: Middle School History/Social Science, English Language Arts, Arts= Theatre, Music, Visual Art)

Big Ideas/Standards Addressed

Teaching Strategies/ Sequences


Reflections on Mr. Gonzalez’s lesson


Chapter References

Chapter Two: What Students Need to Know

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Two

Food for Thought: What Your Students Need to Know

Hints in Reading Contributing Teacher Examples

K-8 Teacher Contributors: First Stages of Purposeful Planning

In the Classroom:

Integrating Science and the Arts: “Lifecycle of Butterflies” [Content Areas: Science, English Language Arts (reading/ author study, oral language), Arts= Visual Art]

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating Math and the Arts: “Singing, Moving, Drawing on the Language of Math” (Content Areas: Math, English Language Arts (reading/ author study, oral language), Arts= Visual Art, Music, and Dance)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies (Geography) and the Arts: “Desert Habitat Art”(Content Areas: History/Social Science (Geography), Arts= Visual Art)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies (History/Geography)/ Math/ and the Arts: “Exploration/Colonization”(Content Areas: History/Social Science, Math, Arts= Visual Art)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies/History and the Arts: “Jamestown in 1607” (Content Areas: History/Social Science, English Language Arts (writing and speaking) Arts= Theatre)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating Math and the Arts: “Measuring and Classifying Angles through Dance” (Content Areas: Math (Measurement and Geometry), Arts= Dance)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


In the Classroom:

Integrating History/Geography and Theatre: “Manifest Destiny: Westward Expansion” (Content Areas: History/Social Science, Arts= Theatre)

Big Ideas tied to Content Standards

Purposeful Planning Goals


Theory and Rationale: Reflective Practices and Constructive Curriculum Planning

What Students Need to Know: Key Ideas toward Student Understanding

Careful Choices

Backward Curriculum Design

Education for Understanding

Big Ideas

What students should know and be able to do

What we want our students to understand

Reflective Practices: The Importance of Others in Your Planning

Interaction with Peers

Suggestions for Discussion Topics

Self-Study: “What Students Need to Know”


Chapter References

Chapter Three: What Students Already Know

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Three

What Students Already Know

In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies/History and the Arts: “Jamestown in 1607” (Content Areas: History/Social Science, English Language Arts (writing and speaking), Arts= Theatre)

Anticipatory Activities as Platforms for Inquiry

In the Classroom:

“Orchid Paragraphs” (Content Areas: language arts/literacy Arts: visual art, music)

Experiential Learning: The Role of Direct Experience in Lesson Scaffolding

Tools for Finding Out What Students Already Know

Thought-Provoking Questions (K-W-L)

Visual Displays

Quick Writes

Anticipation Guides


Learning with Understanding: Arts Activity and Transfer of Student Knowledge

How to Complete the Self-Study: “What Students Already Know”


Chapter References

Chapter Four: Selecting Resources

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Four

Mr. Gonzalez’s Lesson: Beyond Teaching Comfort Zones

Teacher Debriefing: Mr. Gonzalez’s Connections Across Content Areas Materials Planning Cycle

Planning Interdisciplinary Activities to Connect Students to Other Learning

Summary: Mr. Gonzales’ Purposeful Materials Planning

Selecting Appropriate Resources: Interviews with Other Contributing Teachers

Interview with Mr. Pham (Grades 4 and 5)

Interview with Mrs. Gray (Grade 3)

Interview with Ms. Elemont (Grade Six Math)

Interview with Ms. Tanonis (Grades K/1)

Summary of Contributing Teachers’ Considerations and Criteria for Materials Planning


Self-Study Exercises

Suggestions for Peer Discussions

Suggestions for Completing FIGURE 4.4:

Self- Study: “Resource Planning and Selection”

Suggestions for Using Figure 4.5:

“Materials Criteria Checklist”

Chapter References

Chapter Five: Instruction

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Five

What are some ways to plan for instruction with the Arts?

Re-focus on “Big Picture” Ideas: The Arts Content Standards

Increasing artistic perception: Processing of information about elements found within the arts.

Creating and performing art

Analyzing and valuing: learning to make informed judgments about the arts.

Learning about and making connections between the arts within their historical and cultural contexts.

Comparing and connecting learning with the arts with other subject areas and careers

Characteristics of Successful Arts-Infused lessons

Instructional Components and Sequence in Arts-Infused Lessons

Introduction/Anticipatory Set

Modeling/ Use of Materials

Debrief the Model

Invitation to Create

Independent Practice: Allow Time to Create

Teacher as Facilitator of Creativity


Informal Performance/Displays (authentic assessments) and other forms of Evaluations

Reflection: Students and Teacher

Arts-Infused Teaching Strategies at Work in the K-8 Classroom

K/1 Lesson Instructional Sequence: Ms. Tanonis

6th Grade Math Instructional Sequence: Ms. Elemont


Instructions for Using Figure 5.3: “Self-Study: “Mapping Your Arts-Infused Instructional Sequence”

Chapter References

Chapter Six: Evaluation

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Six

Evaluation and Assessment during Arts-Infused lessons


Active Assessments to Determine Student Understanding

Authentic Assessments

Assessment/ Evaluation Examples

In-class performance sharing

Knowledge Charts/ KWL (Ogle, 1986)

Progress Checks during arts-infused activities

Evaluative Discussion, Written Self-Assessments, and Journal Prompts

Cross-grade performance sharing/ exhibits

Displays of student artwork paired with original student writing

School-wide festivals/ Thematic Arts Activities

Student projects based on famous works of art

In class word wall displays

Community outreach or service projects

Teacher Reflection

Summary of Examples of Assessment and Evaluation

Contributing Teachers’ Assessments in Action

In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies/History and the Arts: “Jamestown in 1607” [Content Areas: History/Social Science, English Language Arts (writing and speaking), Arts= Theatre]

How Written and Authentic Assessments Were Used

What Happened?

In the Classroom:

Integrating Social Studies (Geography) and the Arts: “Desert Habitat Art”(Grade 3 Content Areas: History/Social Science (Geography), Arts= Visual Art)

How Written and Authentic Assessments Were Used

What Happened?


Self-Study of Arts-Infused Lesson Assessments

How to Use Figure 6.7: Self Study: “What Happened?: Assessments in Action”

Chapter References

Chapter Seven: Unpacking the Arts Standards’ Big Ideas

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Seven

Arts Standards in Purposeful Planning

What are Content Standards in the Arts?

For whom were arts standards intended and what is their purpose?

What do the content standards in the arts contain?

Can I teach arts standards as a non-specialist?

Unpacking the Arts Standards

What are some Big Ideas within the Arts Standards?

Which “big ideas” in the arts standards are most appropriate for my personal use and why?

Discussion of Figure 7.1: “Unpacking the Arts Standards’ Big Ideas”


Suggestion for using Figure 7.2: “Self-Study: Review of My Visual and Performing Arts Standards”

Chapter References

Chapter Eight: Arts Within My Classroom and Beyond

Focus Activity

Overview of Chapter Eight

Creating, Using, and Sharing Your Customized Lesson File

Advocacy for Arts-Infused Teaching and Learning

Increase respect for the worth and value of arts infusion in K-8 general curriculum

Inform current or future school site leaders about the need for arts infusion within your curriculum

Inform and involve parents in the effort

Develop a simple model lesson presentation for other teachers or future teachers, interested parents, and administrators at your school site

Ask school site administrators, district supervisors/ curriculum coordinators for a list of all arts resources and materials available for classroom teacher use

Ask for time for professional growth and curriculum development in the area of arts-infusion across the curriculum

Ask for Professional Growth days or district teacher training in Arts Integration or Arts Infusion across the K-8 curriculum

Ask other grade level peers if they would like to explore the idea of teaming/rotating arts-infused lessons across their curriculum.

Form an Integrated Arts Committee at your school site

Thumbnail Sketches”: Additional Ideas from Our K-8 Contributing Classroom Teachers

Thumbnail Sketch #1: Ms. Tanonis

Thumbnail Sketch #2: Mrs. Laws

Thumbnail Sketch #3: Mrs. Gray
Thumbnail Sketch #4: Mr. Pham

Thumbnail Sketch #5: Mrs. Crandall

Thumbnail Sketch #6: Ms. Elemont

Thumbnail Sketch #7: Mr. Soto


Chapter References

APPENDIX A: Resource Bibliography

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