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That colorful, visual image still provides the context for all the details I have learned since about the geography of North America. My experience is not unique. Children learn eagerly and well in an arts-enriched learning environment. Visual arts, storytelling, singing, theater, and movement are naturally appealing to children, and incorporating these art forms into daily curriculum work sweetens the exploration of just about any subject.

Mrs. Arnold's Lively Art Of Writing class rules (but I do a bad job explaining them)

One of the most powerful of these reasons is that the arts make content accessible to students across the spectrum of learning styles. When I was a student, geography was something I clearly did not learn well just by reading or listening to facts and then memorizing them.

Teaching as a lively art

I needed to make something that I could look at and feel in order to really understand and remember content. But far more have said they learn best if they see something or get a chance to try it out.

Teaching as a Lively Art

Many of us learn best by looking, talking, making, or moving, or by teaching someone else, and so do the children in our classrooms. If we integrate the arts into lessons in as many forms as possible, all students will have opportunities to lead with their strengths. Teachers can help these students practice writing skills by channeling the talking into oral storytelling, which then leads to writing down the stories and editing the written versions. For students who are visual learners, drawing might provide a doorway to writing.

I sometimes ask first graders to draw a picture to represent a special word they are thinking about when they come into the classroom in the morning. The sequence of idea-to-picture-to-words is a natural one. Some children learn best when they engage their whole bodies.

These kinesthetic learners might want to act out a story before writing it down, or use their bodies to form geometric shapes or demonstrate the movement of planets. I watched Michael, a second grader with language-processing problems, working on an alphabet book. The book was to include an action word for each letter of the alphabet. As Michael thought of each word, he would break from his seat and move his body to act out the word he was about to write.


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He was sure in his mind and his body that he was right. The answer is no. For over twenty-five years I have helped teachers integrate arts media into classrooms and learning. I have found that, given the desire, the proper tools, and some guidance, even those who have little experience with art forms can use the arts to teach more effectively. The only prerequisite is that the teachers be willing to learn alongside their students. When their teacher walks into new and scary territory to stretch her skills, children who secretly believe that they cannot read or write a story or do multiplication may gather their courage and go for it.

Start slowly, focusing on one or two familiar art forms. Learn and teach some basic skills in an art form before integrating the art form into daily lessons. And ask for help from other teachers and adult community members. In Lively Learning I present some of the skills involved in drawing, singing, movement, theater, and poetry, and I give suggestions for how to practice these skills with students. I know that teachers are pressed for time. But it can be done: The idea is not to teach more but to teach differently, to link up what we want to teach each day with how we teach it so that the learning will shine.

Linda Crawford is the founder of Origins, a twenty-five-year-old nonprofit educational organization based in Minneapolis. She has taught high school English, been an artist-in-residence in elementary and middle schools, taught multicultural understanding through the arts at all levels, and served as the principal of a K—5 elementary school. Your email address will not be published. Contact Login. Theatre: The Lively Art. With its hallmark focus on preparing future audience members, students will learn how theatre functions, how it should be viewed and judg… Read More.

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Table of contents. Part 1. Theatre in Today's World Chapter 1. Theatre is Everywhere Chapter 2. The Audience Part 2. Creating Theatre: The Playwright Chapter 3.

Product | Teaching as a Lively Art

Creating the Dramatic Script Chapter 4. Theatrical Genres Part 3. Creating Theatre: The Production Chapter 5. Acting for the Stage Chapter 6. The Director and the Producer Chapter 7.

Theatre Spaces Chapter 8. Scenery Chapter 9. Stage Costumes Chapter Lighting and Sound Part 4.