Why You Should Incorporate Arts Enrichment and STEAM into your classroom – A how-to guide for elementary teachers

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get creative in the classroom! No, I’m not talking about the latest TikTok dance trend (although, let’s be real, those are pretty fun), I’m talking about incorporating arts enrichment and STEAM into your curriculum.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “But wait, I’m a math teacher, what do I know about art?” or “But wait, I’m an art teacher, what do I know about science?” Well, teacher-friends, that’s the beauty of it. By incorporating arts and STEM into your curriculum, you’ll be able to tap into your students’ interests and passions, while also helping them develop important skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.

Arts Enrichment and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) are similar in several ways:

  1. Both focus on hands-on, experiential learning: Arts enrichment and STEAM both involve active, hands-on learning experiences that allow students to engage with the material in a tangible way.
  2. Both promote creativity and critical thinking: Arts enrichment and STEAM both encourage students to think creatively and critically, and to find new and innovative ways to approach problems and projects.
  3. Both integrate different subject areas: Arts enrichment and STEAM both involve the integration of different subject areas, such as art, science, and technology, to support the learning of other subjects.
  4. Both foster collaboration and teamwork: Arts enrichment and STEAM both involve group work and collaboration, which can help students learn how to work effectively with others and develop their social and emotional skills.
  5. Both support diverse learning styles: Arts enrichment and STEAM both provide opportunities for students to explore their own interests and talents, and to learn in ways that are best suited to their individual learning style.
  6. Both aim to prepare students for future careers: Arts enrichment and STEAM both aim to prepare students for future careers in fields such as science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
  7. Both provide opportunities to connect with real-world applications: Arts enrichment and STEAM both provide opportunities for students to connect what they learn in the classroom with real-world applications, and to see the relevance and impact of their learning in the society.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional artist or scientist to make it happen. All you need is a little bit of creativity, a dash of experimentation, and a sprinkle of humor. For example, instead of having your students memorize formulas for a math test, why not have them create a mural that illustrates the concept of geometric shapes? Or instead of having your students write a boring research paper on the history of art, why not have them design a sculpture that reflects their own personal history?

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “But wait, what about the budget? We don’t have enough money for art supplies or STEM equipment.” Well, my dear teacher-friends, that’s where you can get creative and resourceful. You can use everyday items such as recyclables or even food to create art projects or science experiments. Who knows, you might even discover a new use for that old can of beans sitting in your pantry.

And last but not least, incorporating arts and STEM into your curriculum is a great way to make your classroom more fun and engaging. Trust me, your students will be excited to come to class and learn when they know they’ll be creating, experimenting, and having fun. So, let’s get creative, folks! It’s time to make learning fun again.

P.S. Bonus points if you can incorporate a TikTok dance into your lesson. Just saying.

✨ Be sure to check out my selection of Arts Enrichment and STEAM resources over at my TPT store. ✨

⬇️ Learn more about Arts Enrichment and some concrete ways you can incorporate Arts Enrichment into your classroom by scrolling further on this blog post. ⬇️


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Concrete Ways You Can Incorporate Arts Enrichment Into Your Elementary Classroom

Arts enrichment in the elementary classroom can provide a variety of benefits for students. It can help to develop creativity and critical thinking skills, improve self-esteem and self-expression, and provide a way for students to connect with the material in a different way. Additionally, arts enrichment can be used to support the learning of other subjects, such as history and science. Furthermore, it can also be an effective way to meet the diverse learning needs of students and provide opportunities for students to explore their own interests and talents.

Here are several ways you can incorporate arts enrichment into your elementary classroom.

  1. Incorporating visual arts activities into lesson plans, such as drawing, painting, or collage-making to help students express their understanding of a concept.
  2. Using drama and theater to bring stories and historical events to life, or to help students practice public speaking and presentation skills.
  3. Incorporating music into the classroom by teaching students songs related to the material they are learning, or by using music to help students relax and focus.
  4. Using dance and movement to help students explore different cultures or to help students understand scientific concepts like gravity and motion.
  5. Incorporating creative writing activities, such as poetry or story writing, to help students develop their writing skills and express their ideas.
  6. Using technology such as film and photography to create visual projects that showcase their understanding of the material.

It is important to note that as an educator you should make sure to integrate these activities with the curriculum, and to provide appropriate materials, guidance, and assessment to help students achieve the intended learning outcomes.

In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of using children’s books to teach students about art history and famous artists to spark creativity and help reinforce art vocabulary. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that I also believe art history children’s books can be a great way to incorporate arts enrichment into the elementary classroom.

Here are a few ways you could utilize art history books in your classroom:

  1. Use art history children’s books to introduce students to different art movements and styles. This can help students understand the historical context of different artworks and how they were created.
  2. Incorporate art history children’s books into a lesson on a specific artist or artwork. For example, use a book on Van Gogh to teach students about post-impressionism, or a book on Frida Kahlo to teach students about her life and work.
  3. Use art history children’s books to help students understand different cultures and art forms from around the world. This can help students appreciate the diversity of art and understand different perspectives.
  4. Use art history children’s books as a starting point for art projects or activities. For example, have students create their own artwork inspired by a book or artist they have learned about.
  5. Use art history children’s books to teach students about Elements of Art such as color, form, line, shape, and texture.
  6. Incorporate art history children’s books into language arts lessons. For example, students can write their own art-related story or poem after reading one or several art history children’s books.

Lastly, you might be wondering if arts enrichment can be used to assess student understanding. And I’m here to tell you that it most certainly can!

Here are some ways arts enrichment can be used to assess student understanding in your classroom:

  1. Have students create a visual representation of a concept they have learned. For example, students can create a mural or a collage to show what they know about a particular historical event or scientific principle. This can be a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in a creative and visual way.
  2. Have students write a poem or a short story that relates to the material they have learned. This can be a way for students to express their understanding of the material in a creative and written form.
  3. Have students create a skit or a play that relates to the material they have learned. This can be a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in a creative and performative way.
  4. Have students create a musical or dance performance that relates to the material they have learned. This can be a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in a creative and physical way.
  5. Have students create a podcast or podcast episode that relates to the material they have learned. This can be a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material in a creative and audio way.

It is important to provide clear and specific learning objectives and assessment criteria for the arts-based assessment, and to provide students with appropriate guidance, support and feedback to help them improve and enhance their understanding of the material.

💜 Learn more about Arts Enrichment in one of my previous blog post titled “Teach Art Without Actually Teaching Art“. Also, be sure to check out my TPT store for Arts Enrichment and STEAM educational resources that you are sure to love! 💜

Stephanie

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