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Beating budget cuts: Incorporating the arts into traditional curriculum

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Beat cuts, save the arts

Districts all over the country find themselves slashing budgets to make ends meet, and art programs are often left on the cutting room floor. Beat those budget cuts by incorporating the arts into traditional curriculum.
Incorporating art
Kids in school

Reading

Reading is probably one of the easiest subjects to work art into. Fictional writing (and sometimes non-fiction, as well) is creative in nature, so the two blend well.

The next time your class is reading a book, have the students draw or paint their favorite scene from the book. They’ll have to have a good understanding of what is happening in the scene for their picture to make sense and be identifiable to the other students. You can also ask your students to illustrate an alternate cover for the book. This will demonstrate their understanding of the book as a whole and identify what they feel to be the most part of the story.

If your students like to be dramatic (and let’s face it, what students don’t?) get them to act out various scenes of the book. Watching the scenes unfold in front of them instead of reading them in the pages of a book may give them a whole new outlook on what’s going on.

History

It can be difficult for some students to grasp what it was like at any time other than the present. Help them out by dressing the part. Teach the class dressed in period garb from the era your class is studying and conduct yourself as someone from that time would. You can even take it a step further and ask your class to do the same.

Math

At first thought, it may seem like art and math would be difficult — if not impossible — to combine. When you really think about it though, the two do have a few similarities that make them easier to integrate than you think.

Have students paste together different shapes to make collages or even to come up with other shapes.

Have students cut snowflakes to study symmetry, then paint and glitter the snowflakes to use as classroom decoration.

Have students draw pictures, then use rulers to measure and make frames for their artwork.

Quick tip

If you don’t think your child is getting enough art in school, try signing him up for local classes in your community.

More tips for students and parents

Ways to keep students healthy at home
Healthy classroom gifts
Germ patrol: Where gerns are lurking in schools

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