Middle School Uses the Arts to Enhance Learning
Submitted by Christine Casale Broski
Carl H. Kumpf Middle School in Clark recently celebrated their second annual Arts Integration Day. Arts Integration helps students to use critical and creative thinking to gain a better understanding of the content being taught.
According to EducationCloset.com, “Arts Integration is a research-based approach to teaching and learning that has proven results for the past 30 years. For schools that commit to using arts integration with integrity, the results are astounding. Schools that intentionally use arts integration find student achievement rises by 10% or more across the board.”
On November 27, 2019, all teachers in every subject area used visual and performing arts in their lessons to enhance learning. For example, sixth grade science teachers had their students use watercolors to make drip paintings to represent precipitation. Seventh grade language arts teachers had various lessons that used the arts to demonstrate mood in reading. Suzanne Hamilton had her language arts students illustrate a comic narrative from parts of The Outsiders.Cheri Fabrizzio, language arts teacher, used The Dot, a children’s book by Peter Reynolds, and had her students create their own dot by listening to classical music to demonstrate mood and tone.
Fabrizzio stated, “The students really made a connection between music and mood. They were able to compare authors’ and composers’ creation of mood. The abstract art component really drove the lesson home.”
Danielle Bihuniak, seventh grade science teacher, is currently teaching chemical reactions at the atomic level. Her students are using stop motion animation with Legos to demonstrate how atoms interact during a chemical reaction. Shannon Caravano had her science students use wax dripping art with her students to show how rain falls from clouds.
Caravano stated, “I love how the students used creativity while using the concepts taught in class.”
Kelli Yetsko had her class write poems using color paint swatches. The students had to finish each line of a poem with the name of the color on the swatch. “This activity gives the students an opportunity to relate emotionally to the colors while also practicing using language to express themselves creatively,” Yetsko stated.
One goal of incorporating the arts is to help the students learn non-arts subject material in a variety of ways that will increase student interest. Another goal is to help the teachers become more comfortable with using visual and performing arts in their lessons. Assistant Principal, Amanda Clarke, stated, “We are thrilled that the arts have become part of the daily routine in a good portion of our classes and this day was only a small sampling of what goes on all of the time.”