A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about “playing” through The Arts. I was inspired after listening to a Staff Meeting Presentation by Karen (@ArtsHWDSB), an amazing Arts Consultant for our Board. After reading this post, Kristi Keery Bishop (@kkeerybi), another consultant with our Board, replied to it with this comment:
This really got me thinking, as I continue to be fascinated by the Full Day Kindergarten Program, and I love the inquiry I see as part of many of these classrooms. Why couldn’t this happen in Grade 6?
When planning with my teaching partner last week, I thought of Kristi’s comment, and together we developed this GeoArt Math Activity. All weekend, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Tuesday: the day that I could introduce this activity to my students. While I really wanted this activity to be a success, I worried that it might be too open-ended. Would students feel overwhelmed? Would they be able to balance The Arts and Math, and would they truly share their learning through The Arts?
I think that I needed to have a little more faith. As soon as my students saw the project outline, they were quickly thinking of ideas. I know that my students love Drama, so I thought that this would be a popular option, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many groups chose Dance. The popular song, The Harlem Shake, got a makeover, with this math inspired video, The Harlem Shape: see the sneak peek below.
I was really impressed when this group realized that they did not discuss the shapes enough, and added an addition to their music video to delve deeper into the math part of this activity. You can see a short preview of this group’s communication component here.
It was fantastic to see so many students this week that usually dread math, eager to get started on math. They were even asking for additional math periods, and some groups even chose to work on their math projects while eating their lunches. Adding in The Arts added in this engagement piece, which is so important as well.
Reflecting on the success of this activity (which isn’t quite done yet, I must add) just makes me question, where do I go from here? I need to thank Karen and Kristi for their willingness to work with my teaching partner and I as we look at new areas to integrate The Arts. How do you integrate The Arts in your classroom? What would you suggest for our next step? I’d love to hear your thoughts!