Motivation is one of the instruments enhancing the learning process and enabling students to achieve academic results at an appropriate pace. The exploration of children’s creativity is another important component of learning, so creative arts are often integrated into teaching diverse disciplines. This integration serves multiple purposes as it makes students more engaged, contributes to the development of their creativity, and facilitates the learning process, among others (Institute of Education Sciences, 2016). Primary-school teachers often incorporate creative arts when teaching English language arts. Music, painting, drama, and other forms of art are employed to provide instructions, assess students’ progress, and present the necessary material.
One of the illustrations of this integration of creative arts in literacy teaching is an activity performed by third-graders. Students were working in small groups of three during the activity. The group under consideration consisted of high-performers. Each group had a story they knew quite well but was somewhat changed, and they were to create a small comic based on the story. The story the group worked on was about the Red Riding Hood with some parts to be made up. When discussing the storyline, students practice diverse skills associated with writing, comprehension, communication, and collaboration. As a result, the girl was wearing a red riding hood and big red glasses, had to bring hot pizza, she had a bike, she met a tiger, she lost her glasses, so she asked the tiger about his eyes, ears, and teeth.
Importantly, the instructor monitored the student’s work and, at the final stage, the class listened to the performance of the group with the pictures on the board. The children were to act out the comic book they created by reading aloud their stories. Reading aloud is an engaging activity involving drama as students are encouraged to act out rather than focus on reading per se (Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education, 2019). Performing is a creative activity many students like, although it is necessary to make sure that all the participants are eager to join and have the necessary knowledge and materials (Edutopia, 2019; The Lettered Classroom, 2020). Singing and chanting when giving instruction and directions can facilitate the learning process as students remember what exactly is expected (Teacher Julius, 2020). Hence, the teacher provided instructions that ended up in a chant, including the most important points in the instructions. When necessary, the teacher chanted to remind the students about the task and major domains of the activity.
The activity was positively accepted in the group as the students loved acting out and drawing. A combination of the activities they liked was a treat for them, as seen from their reactions. At some points, the learners had some difficulties when completing the task, so the instructor had to assist them by chanting instructions, and giving some advice regarding the story or visual elements. The teacher met the needs of all the group members by giving clear instructions with the use of different strategies that are appropriate for a specific learning type. One of the participants was a student with special needs (ADHD), so he had additional activities to make him focused. He cut out some textual elements for the entire group.
The activity was instrumental in gaining some insights regarding the students. The integration of creative arts (drawing and drama) made the students highly engaged. They also explored their creativity when adding to the story and providing their visuals. Reading skills practice was rather effective, but the writing part was somewhat hectic. The students spent a large part of the given time discussing their story and pictures, as well as drawing the visuals. They had a limited time to write the parts needed, so their handwriting was far from being exemplary.
The mentor teacher provided detailed instructions regarding the activity and paid specific attention to balancing tasks. Overall, the mentor teacher was satisfied with the student’s performance and the activity. She praised the chant saying that students used it as an effective reminder, which guided their work. She added that gestures could facilitate the provision of clear instructions for children. We also discussed ways to adjust this activity to other contexts (group size, students’ level, students’ needs, and so on).
In conclusion, the integration of creative arts proved to be effective, so I will use such techniques in my future practice. I will make sure I balance the activities and make sure students complete the tasks by paying the necessary attention. I will consider students’ peculiarities when integrating arts as well. For instance, some students may find it challenging to perform in front of the class and will be emotionally overloaded, which will have a negative impact on the learning process. In some cases, students find it difficult to draw something, so they will get models and examples or even templates to color. As far as giving instructions, I will use chants, music, and gestures to help students remain focused and engaged.
- Course Title:
|Date||Video Title||Video Link||Video Time|
|02/27/2021||Enhancing the Instructional Program with Creative Arts||Web||1:57:43|
|02/28/2021||Promoting Literacy Skills—Read It Once, Read It Twice, Read It Once Again||Web||53:37|
|02/28/2021||Art as Text: Bridging Literacy and the Arts||Web||4:35|
|02/28/2021||Home Literacy Activities: Music And Movements Part II||Web||1:50:05|
|03/01/2021||Bridging Literacy – ELA Extension Activities for Literature||Web||52:52|
Edutopia. (2019). Art as text: Bridging literacy and the arts [Video]. YouTube.
Institute of Education Sciences. (2016). Enhancing the instructional program with creative arts [Video]. YouTube.
Teacher Julius. (2020). Home literacy activities: Music and movements part II [Video]. YouTube.
Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Education. (2019). Promoting literacy skills—Read it once, read it twice, read it once again [Video]. YouTube.
The Lettered Classroom. (2020). Bridging literacy – ELA extension activities for literature [Video]. YouTube.