ART, MUSIC, and STORY AT WOODS CHARTER SCHOOL : An Exploration of A/r/tography Methods

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Durham, Derrick Brett

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East Carolina University


Over the course of the 2009-2010 school year, I worked with my 8th grade art students to implement a series of projects using an interdisciplinary approach within the art classroom. The main thrust of the project was the creation of a children's book with a focus on art history using an interdisciplinary approach. Students initially explored different artists and art movements to narrow the subject for a story. Through that process, students created large scale works based on those artists' styles, illustrated possible characters for a children's story book, and brainstormed different story themes and ideas. These projects were conducted in a series of individual projects and group work. Once the theme and plot had been selected for the story, students began illustrating and refining the story. Music and a performance were created to accompany the book. This project culminated with a final performance of the book for the entire middle school. Once the entire project was complete, questionnaires and focus groups assessed the impact of these projects. The students benefitted from the various projects because they were able to employ individual talents and interests to different parts of the projects. The students' reflections and feedback indicated that they valued the creative aspects of the project and the ability to collaborate with each other. The students worked well together, focusing on the strengths of each group member. They also appreciated being able to take turns working within the group, sharing the creative input, and taking responsibility for quality control of each artwork during the project. This project demonstrated that interdisciplinary instruction utilizing story, art, music and performance can be powerful tools to promote group learning in education. By promoting these types of interdisciplinary approaches, an educator can increase participation, engagement, and enthusiasm in students.