Arts Integration finds a natural connection between the curriculum and the art form. The teacher teaches both the arts objective and the curriculum objective side by side enabling students to make connections between them and the real world.
Arts integration is a seamless blending of the content and skills of an art form with those of a co-curricular subject. Most of us have the experience of working on an art project for school that adds to our understanding of a concept. But the art could easily be removed with little or no impact on the curricular objective. In arts integration, the skills and objectives are blended in a way that makes it impossible to separate the two. Students are able to understand the concept of verbs, not simply because they have worked on worksheets and answered questions in books, but because they have experiences with verbs. For example, students understand that actors and dancers need verbs to create movement and actions. They understand through experience that adverbs tell us how we will move through space.
Common Core…The Arts…Evolving Objectives
Our state-mandated objectives remain the core of our focus. But an arts-integrated format understands that these objectives mark the beginning of learning, not its end. Objectives are established and assessed in both the art form and the other subject area, and the students’ understanding of the content progresses over time. The arts require us to deepen our understanding and mastery of each subject. Just as a musician may work on a single piece of music for years in an ongoing attempt to refine their skills, a student will continue to work and refine their understanding of objectives. Those objectives may be understood, but the process allows the student to test, refine, apply, and naturally deepen their comprehension.
The unique approach to teaching and learning at Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts necessitates a unique system for measuring and reporting student progress. Students at Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts will be held to rigorous standards and extremely high expectations for their learning, but a student’s progress will be measured based on their mastery of critical skills.
Through arts integration, students will construct greater meaning of the world around them. Music, visual art, and performances will be used as a resource for teaching in all core subject areas. By using art as the resource, students will begin to notice their world more deeply and make connections between subject areas and content. Students will spend time discussing art, making art, and applying what they learn across the curriculum. By fostering the use of imagination through the arts early in a child’s education, we can encourage the innovators of the future.
Humanities instruction will include the study of literature, philosophy, and social studies. Students will learn to recite poetry and prose. They will study what it means to be human – the struggles and goals, comedies and disasters, and achievements and failures of human beings. Students will examine the dreams, traditions, cultural expressions, and contributions of peoples throughout time. They will examine the impact of cultural heritage on contemporary society and culture. Students will develop an understanding of themselves in relation to the natural world and in relation to others, reflect on ideas and confront beliefs from their own and other cultures, and respond creatively.
The humanities and fine arts will be interconnected through the inclusion of production, history, criticism, and aesthetics. Students will develop an appreciation of the visual and performing arts and enhance their skills in critical and creative thinking, communication, teamwork, and self-reflection.
Mathematics instruction will be taught using hands-on methods that engage students in ways that bridge “school math” and the real-world application of mathematical concepts.
Science and Social Studies
With the Common Core State Standards as our guide, science and social studies concepts will be fully integrated into the context of language arts instruction. Thematic units with a science or social studies focus will allow students to build on their knowledge across content areas. A hands-on approach will be used to give students authentic learning experiences.