The FWSU Story: BFA Fairfax Elementary Implements Art Integration Opportunities

BFA Fairfax Elementary is implementing a new learning opportunity this year by integrating art and core curriculum. Every classroom will collaborate to express their learning, make connections and have fun through art integration. 

Research indicates: There are powerful resources for integrating the arts daily curriculum:

  1. The arts make content more accessible.
  2. The arts encourage joyful, active learning.
  3. The arts help students make connections and express personal connections to content.
  4. The arts help children understand and express abstract concepts.
  5. The arts stimulate higher-level thinking.
  6. The arts build community help children develop collaborative work skills.

(Lively Learning, Linda Crawford)

Mrs Knapp’s language arts class was the first group to participate. Fourth grade students explored how animals can have symbolic meaning. Students learned about the symbolism of the tiger in the book The Tiger Rising, then chose an animal to represent or protect themselves. Students researched Native American symbolic meaning of animals, using iPads for image searches. With choice of a variety of art supplies, students demonstrated their creativity through creation of animal masks. They decided what the most important features of their animals were, then came up with ways to use the materials to sculpt, paint and add texture. Finally, they reflected in an artist statement. 

We are really excited to offer this integrated learning opportunity. The results of the first group indicate that students were highly engaged, experienced a deeper understanding of the content, and their creativity was on display for the benefit of all. Thank you to Kim Desjardins and Sandy Knapp for your collaboration and efforts to engage all students. We are looking forward to seeing all the different creative learning opportunities this school year.

Thomas Walsh is currently Principal of BFA Fairfax Elementary School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @educatamount

Contributions by Kim Desjardins and Sandy Knapp

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