Art as a powerful learning method for kids!
I teach pre-service teachers about how to use the arts as a means for teaching the regular curriculum. With our test-obsessed educational system, all too often the arts have been eliminated. This means for kids to get any art experience, they need their classroom teachers to provide that. In the process of teaching this class for the past nine years, I have had my students working with children in a wide range of schools. We have done Appalachian culture projects (featuring dance, music, and quilting), puppet projects (turning a childrens book into a puppet show; having kids create and work with “reading buddy” puppets), and creating and performing an opera. I know from watching children in these projects that the arts are engaging to students and that students learn more when they are engaged. Over and over again, I have seen kids absolutely ecstatic that we are in their schools and they look forward to these projects and we can see that they are learning the curriculum but also how to work together in a team. Most of all they are learning. My pre-service teachers are so glad to be part of a powerful learning experience and to have a chance to participate in fun, creative, and interesting classroom experiences.
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