by Bethany Johnsen
David Ginsburg's article Arts Education Cuts: Lack of Funding or Lack of Faith? in Education Week yesterday got me reflecting on my own experiences with art education. I came to two conclusions: Art was both one of the major disciplines I got least exposure to in elementary and secondary school, and one of the most valuable.
Like many advocates for art education, Ginsburg argued that it helps students excel in academic areas. I happen to agree, but I also think the necessity of making that argument to preserve arts education funding in the first place is a terrible cultural problem. Art doesn't achieve its value to humans secondarily, through giving us higher SAT scores or a more lucrative career. It doesn't need to help us make a living; for many people, it's one of the blessings that make life worth living.
Fortunately for everyone who shares this view but teaches in a district with insufficient arts funding, art is too integral to everything else we do in the world not to be relevant to the academic disciplines (thank you, Intro to Math for Liberal Arts Majors). No matter what subject you teach, you can enhance your students' excitement for learning with an appropriate art project. Here are some of my top picks for crosscurricular lessons that involve art:
- Pinterest has a great board for Math & Art Connection Art Lessons.
- Yahoo! Voices offers 11 lesson ideas integrating art, gardening, and science.
- KinderArt gives lessons using art to teach language, history, and geography, among other things.
And of course, don't forget to submit your students' amazing work to Creative Kids!