Brianne Gidcumb | May 2014

Organizing an Arts Integration Toolkit

Last year, as part of a team tasked with restructuring the school day for my district, I heard about this idea of STEAM and arts integration.  I admit that, with my limited understanding of what arts integration is, I had mixed feelings at first.  Of course, I was thrilled that my students’ art and music educations would extend beyond my little corner of the building.  However, I had reservations.  Would this mean I had to abandon my standards and focus on Common Core standards?  Would I be at the mercy of others, having what I teach dictated by different units in different classrooms at different grade levels?  Would it mean that I no longer had regular time with my students to teach the fundamentals that would allow students to experience concepts and skills deeply with and through the arts?

Arts Integrated Toolkit

So I started gathering resources.  And gathering.  And gathering. Organizing an arts integrated toolkit is a must for any teacher. I took courses through Education Closet.  I searched for articles, videos, lesson plans, and curriculum maps.  We are so fortunate to be in an era where resources are endless, but it can also be overwhelming!  I had really great tools about STEAM and arts integration, but I had to find a way to put them together to form a toolkit that could be a resource to others.  While taking EdCloset’s “STEAM in Learning” course, I decided to create a LiveBinder as a way to organize all of these tools. provides a way to compile your resources digitally.  You can link websites, create text, and upload documents.  For someone who appreciates organization like I do, it’s a great platform to organize materials from different places.  I’ve linked websites, uploaded documents, and created links to some of my other organizational and social media tools (for example, my Arts Integration board on Pinterest and my Twitter account).

I want my arts integration toolkit to be as comprehensive as possible, including background information on AI and how to begin using this strategy: articles, case studies, and lectures, how to build curriculum maps and lesson plans, links to organizations and websites, specific lesson plans for grade level bands, and professional development opportunities.  My toolkit is by no means complete- I envision it to be a continually changing document, but I think it’s a pretty good start!

LiveBinders works really well for me in organizing materials that I’ve found in my own research as well as those I’ve gained from taking classes through Education Closet, but it’s not the only option.  What works for one person might not work for another, but I have found the process of creating a comprehensive toolkit, in any format, to be incredibly useful in my own understanding of arts integration!

To see my Arts Integration/STEAM Toolkit LiveBinder, click here.  If you have resources that you would recommend, I’d love to hear about them!

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: