One of the deciding factors as to what makes a successful arts integration lesson is a set of “look fors” within the classroom. These items are all occurring at some point during the lesson or in the classroom structure that allow for student engagement, authentic arts integration practice and alignment of objectives. The following chart is helpful for teachers at any level in their arts integration journey to ensure a purposeful lesson and learning environment (thanks to Becky Braukus for her design):
“Look Fors” in an Arts Integrated Lesson
Art Form: Subject Content:
|Art Form||Subject Content|
|Is the district curriculum being taught?|
|Are the objectives from both disciplines being addressed in the lesson?|
|Does the lesson support a dynamic learning environment?|
|Is there a high level of student engagement?|
|Are there a variety of strategies in use to check for student understanding?|
|In the instruction differentiated to support student needs?|
|Are assessments being used across both disciplines to guide instruction?|
|Are natural connections evident between the two disciplines?|
|Is there a seamless flow between the two content areas during instruction?|
Notice how each area is assessed in both the art form and the subject area. This kind of quick “quality control” allows both the teacher and the reviewer know if what is happening is a true measure of arts integration.
While this form can be used as part of an observation by an administrator, its best used during either a peer review from a colleague or by the teachers themselves as an insight for their own professional development. Be careful to use this with the proper intent of reflection; if used only as a means for evaluation, this can quickly become something that teachers dread and therefore never use.
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.