After getting the basics down for a good Arts Integration lesson, how do you share the process with other teachers? This summer, I attended a seminar on documenting arts integration. Not just the product, but the entire process the students go through from start to finish. This is especially important if there is no art piece, play, or presentation for all to see.
Parents, administrators, and your school staff need to see all of the hard work of the students. Just seeing the final product that goes home will not help them understand the thinking and learning going on in the classroom. I usually display our documentation on the outside of my classroom and I make sure the students invite their parents to stop by and see it. These displays are also great promoting arts integration in your school.
These are the steps I use for documenting my lessons:
1. A written narrative explaining the ideas behind the lesson. I make sure to make the connections between my content and the art form obvious in this narrative. It’s usually a short paragraph for each step of the process depending on how detailed I need to be.
2. The standards and objectives for both the core content and the art are essential. Parents might not understand, but a true AI lesson must have a natural connections between the standards.
3. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! I take photos of the students through every step. I try to get everyone in there and then put them up with the rest of the documentation. I also use video frequently, especially for dance, music, and drama. I share a lot of these at professional development and with my staff. A good friend of mine suggested putting them into a power point to run for parents (I’ll be trying that this year!)
4. The one piece I find the most valuable as a teacher is a student reflection. I generate a few questions related to the objectives of the lesson foe students to write responses to. I tell them it is not graded and to be honest. I use their answers to make changes if needed, but it is wonderful to see how much they have gained from the process.
5. I then include the rubric or checklist I use for the lesson to show how it is being assessed.
6. I type everything in Power Point and then print it out.
It goes up like a sequence chain showing our process. The kids love to see their work displayed and I have evidence to show the real effects of using AI to enhance students engagement and learning. It was time consuming at first, I’ll admit, but now I have so many saved and it is now a habit that serves me well. I also think it is a great way for AI teachers to share among each other.