Editor's Letter: Connections

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Sep 8, 2021

As an art teacher, I’ve always considered art to be central to the curriculum—a bridge that unites content areas in logical and meaningful ways. With art as a central focus, the interconnected concepts of the curriculum promote deeper understanding in students. The engaging nature of art can capture student interest, and learning becomes cumulative and holistic when art is taught as a subject within the general curriculum.

SchoolArts magazine, October 2021 issue, Editor's Letter on Connections
Student artwork from “Picture the Music.”
SchoolArts magazine, October 2021 issue, Editor's Letter on Connections
Left: Student artwork from “Digging Science through Art.” Right: Student Ciaria K. applies green paint to a collaborative mural. See “A Mural to Celebrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

This month, we share engaging crosscurricular lessons developed and taught by art teachers. Let’s take a look at some of their interdisciplinary connections and content.

Art and Writing
The integration of art and writing, two equally important symbolic forms of expression, offers students a dual opportunity to explore and express ideas, feelings, and experiences. “The Art of Writing” by Jennifer Klein and Elizabeth Stuart Whitehead (p. 11) focuses on teaching writing traits through art.

Art and Science
Both art and science require that students develop skills such as careful observation, reasoning, and prediction in order to draw conclusions, justify interpretations, and predict outcomes. Works of art and the processes and tools used by artists connect with multiple science concepts. “Digging Science through Art” by Jim Dodson (p. 18) details the collaborative creation of a skeleton made from clay that was buried, unearthed, and reassembled.

Art and Mathematics
Particular mathematical concepts may best be learned through engaging experiences in art that directly correlate with math. One approach is to have students investigate the math concepts artists have deliberately chosen to incorporate in their work. “Art, Math, and M.C. Escher” by Melody Weintraub (p. 32) brings creativity to the mathematical concept of tessellations.

Art and Dance, Music, and Theater
Learning through all the arts places visual arts, media arts, dance, music, and theater as central to the general curriculum. “Picture the Music” by Linda Sachs (p. 8) describes how young students interpreted symphonic music through art.

Art and Social Studies
An art-centered approach to social studies promotes a wider, more inclusive definition of art that recognizes and celebrates cultural diversity. As art is reflective of the times and cultures in which it is created, understanding of its cultural context deepens understanding. “A Mural to Celebrate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” by Elizabeth Barker (p. 15) shares a collaborative school mural created by working with an artist.

We hope this issue will assist you with the development of art-centered interdisciplinary lessons. What connections will you and your students make?

View this article in the digital edition.