Friday was Resica Elementary’s Celebration of the Arts. These annual celebrations have been occurring since 1995, but this year was different. A group of veteran teachers and the art and music educators at Resica were involved in a year long study of documentation as a way to sustain and extend arts integration in the everyday work of the classroom and the learning life of the school.
Resica, since its inception in 1994, has been an arts integrated school, valuing the role of the arts in learning within and through the curriculum. Artist’s in residence, professional development, and a core of arts committed teachers and arts educators have sustained the arts integration impetus over the past years. I have had the honor of working with the amazing faculty and administrators for the past 19 years, so when they requested a “refresher” course on arts integration I saw this as a unique opportunity to take their work to another level!
Resica is a K-5 school in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and not unlike other schools across the county is faced by increasing accountability demands, such as increased testing mandates, meeting Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), scripted curriculum, and addressing more diverse learners in an increasingly narrow curriculum. We began by reviewing developmentally appropriate practices (NAEYC) and current research on arts integration, studies on the arts, brain and creativity, and examined student learning. We aligned research with curriculum goals and set out to document student learning through the arts, as inspired by Reggio Emilia schools, while sharpening artistic skills and studio thinking. The discussions were lively, the arts explorations engaging, and the thinking deep!
This year’s Celebration of the ARTS provided a perfect venue for showcasing their Arts Integration Documentation projects — a sustainable way to advocate for arts integration as everyday work in the classroom. I will be sharing their stories more fully in upcoming blogs, but here a few photos to pull you in, wet your appetite, and engage your curiosity.