Arts Integration and STEAM Approach2017-10-12T08:28:08-07:00


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Arts Integration and STEAM are approaches to learning. They are not curriculum, nor are these a set of strategies. Instead, these are research-based shifts which embed both the art and the science of teaching and learning.

Within these approaches are four cornerstones which are key to building, using and sustaining any arts integration or STEAM effort.


ARTS INTEGRATION: Interweaves the arts and at least one other area of study with naturally aligning, equitably assessed standards.

STEM: Focuses on the process and inquiry of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

STEAM: Uses design principles and processes from the arts to manipulate science, tech, engineering, and math (arts act as a catalyst for STEM); STEM and arts integration combined.


Each of these cornerstones is essential to the integration process.

View each cornerstone and consider where you are on your own journey.

EXPLORATION |  Addresses the Why

This is one of the most crucial (but often skipped over) steps.  You need to take the time to explore this approach, understand how, when and where it makes sense and determine what it will look like in your unique classroom, school or district.  No two classrooms are the same and this approach will look different for everyone. So how will it unfold for you?

STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK |  Addresses the How and What

These are the nuts and bolts for putting Arts Integration and STEAM into action.  This represents your planning, lesson development, assessment alignment and data collection.  How are you going to utilize the approach and what specific steps will you take?

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT |  Addresses the How and Who

You cannot authentically use arts integration and STEAM without professional development.  It simply will not work.  People need to understand what the approach is, how to use it and how to make meaningful connections to their own teaching practice.  The single best way to do this is through professional learning opportunities.  But not just any PD will do.  You must include some key components so that everyone is on the same page and still has the flexibility to use an arts pathway that is most successful for them and their students.

IMPLEMENTATION |  Addresses the Who, Where and When

This is where the rubber meets the road. During implementation, you’re taking everything you’ve learned and developed about arts integration and/or STEAM and putting it into practice.  This includes everything from re-thinking your master schedule to collaborative planning, to artists-in-residences and partnerships.  It requires a clear, measurable and practical outline, and the tools that allow teachers to facilitate the process and then get out of the way.  Are you ready?


Within each of these cornerstones are elements that can serve as useful tools along the way. All of these tools are available for our Certification program members.

Some samples are provided here to get you started (they are hyperlinked), along with selected free articles and resources that aligned with cornerstone you’ve selected.

EXPLORATION | Addresses the Why

These tools help you to create a vision for what integrating the arts will look like in your unique classroom, school or district.

STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK | Addresses the How & What

These tools provide the nuts and bolts for creating and assessing Arts Integration and STEAM lessons.

  • Essential Questions List
  • Topics List
  • Student Interest Survey
  • Teacher Interest Survey
  • Arts Integration/STEAM Feedback Survey
  • Gap ID Form
  • Curriculum Maps (sample here)
  • Planning Grids
  • Assessment Alignment Guides
  • Lesson Template
  • Lesson Planning Checklist
  • Peer Review Forms
  • Data Analysis & Collection
  • Artifact Collection
  • Adjustment Guides

These tools offer specific and actionable how-to’s for integrating the arts across all content areas.

IMPLEMENTATION | Addresses the Who, Where & When

These tools provide you with resources for cultivating a pedagogical shift in practice and mindsets across content areas and grade levels using arts integration and STEAM.

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