Using the Arts as Informational Text

By |2018-09-14T01:32:11-07:00December 16th, 2013|

Recently, I was honored to be featured in the November edition of Educational Leadership with a quick idea for making informational text more engaging and meaningful for students.  In today’s article, I go into a little more detail about how to use arts integration as an avenue to exploring informational text with authenticity to both the fine arts content and the Common Core ELA standards.

Informational text can be difficult for many teachers to get excited about – mostly because it’s difficult for students to be excited about unpacking this type of text.  Many students (and adults) would choose to read or write fiction over informational text any day.  As a way to prepare students for this kind of analysis, it can be helpful to use art work and musical, dance and dramatic compositions as a way in to the world of informational text.

If we view fine art compositions as text, then it is possible to use the same Common Core ELA standards as a way to “read” a piece of art work.  As such, by choosing a composition that is historically-based (such as a photograph or musical genre), you can use the artwork as a piece of informational text itself.

Using the Arts as Informational Text, Education Closet

The example used in this video and in the mention through Educational Leadership was the piece “Migrant Mother” from Dorothea Lange.  You could also use the genre of blues and jazz as that was developing at the same time period in America’s history.  Both of these could connect beautifully as a way to analyze a composition for information.

Have a question or comment about this approach?  Share your genius with us in the comments section and let the dialogue begin!

2 Comments

  1. […] Strategy videos. In this episode, we’re exploring a strategy that allows you to use an arts composition as a piece of text and to guide students to use the artwork as a process for inquiry, exploration and creation. This […]

  2. Anna Hertzog July 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    What a brilliant way to integrate the Arts and cover Common Core standards as well. I love that you used the photograph of the “Migrant Mother”-when I was teaching Head Start, I used the same photograph through a program called Picturing America (an arts integration program). Children were simply captivated by the picture, and used it for social-emotional lessons as well. Again, great tip. Thank you!

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