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Arts Integration Inspires Students in a Variety of Subject Areas
Arts Integration Inspires Students in a Variety of Subject Areas
Peggy Benkeser
The arts are threaded throughout the day in a variety of classes at Galloway.  This school year has already seen several collaboratively taught lessons integrating the arts and a variety of content areas to foster new understandings for students. 

Students in fourth grade math class began the year exploring the Rubik's cube as an introduction to geometry and geometric terms and to practice persistence, follow spatial directions, and have a common reference for a growth mindset.  At the same time, in their art class they met with abstract painter Paul Light, whose work is currently on display in the Galloway Gallery, to hear about his persistence, spatial awareness, and growth mindset. This conversation was expanded to include exposure to works by a variety of abstract artists, architects, and quilters. Students are now combining what they've learned about math and art by creating a collaborative sculpture inspired by the artists, designed by the students, and made from 100 Rubik's cubes.  

Our Middle Learning theater students were recently treated to a slide show and conversation with Head of School, James Calleroz-White, focused on African culture and animals. As Dr. White shared with students about his time teaching in Africa and learning on safari, students asked questions that will inform their understanding of the roles they are playing in their upcoming performance of Disney's The Lion King, Jr.    Middle Learning theatre teacher Elissa Marele explained, "Each group of animals in the performance  - giraffes, zebras, gazelles, lions - were challenged with creating an appropriate 'walk' to use while onstage, using Dr. CW's safari pictures, as well as his stories, for inspiration." Dr. Calleroz-White also emphasized the importance of being respectful of the African culture they are representing, even as they portray animals. 

Upper Learning botany teacher Sally Harvey and UL art teacher Lore Ruttan worked together to create an experience for students that connected their study of plants with the world of scientific illustration.  Dr. Lore Ruttan is a professional scientific illustrator and developed the lesson to help students see how their observation skills develop as a result of illustrating the plants they are studying.

"The students loved hearing a different voice.  The students that had never taken an art class felt at ease and worked to use their artistic skills to describe plant structures and environments," said Ms. Harvey. "Lore's visit has been a highlight of the class."

Arts Integration helps students grow in different content areas simultaneously and leads them to develop understandings they would not have come to studying each area in isolation.  It truly is one time when 1 + 1 = 3!