Brianne Gidcumb | November 2015

12 Books for the Arts Integrated Library

Whether you are crafting your holiday wish list, preparing for winter vacation, or gearing up for the second half of the school year, this is a great time of year to put some thought into what you might add to that wish list to recharge yourself, both personally and professionally. Today, I’d like to share some titles, old and new. You might be interested to add these to your classroom, professional, and personal libraries.

For Your Classroom

The Dot (Peter Reynolds): Deidre shared this book in her post “Children’s Books to Free the Inner Artist,” and it is truly a wonderful way to make art accessible to anyone. You can find an accompanying Circle Art lesson plan here.

What Do You Do With an Idea? (Kobi Yamada): This book explores how having a creative idea can be both exciting and uncomfortable.  Yamada tells the story of how one child’s confidence grows despite discouragement from others. And, his idea becomes a reality. This is a great addition to your classroom integrated library to encourage a growth mindset!

Math at the Art Museum (Group Majoongmul): This is a  great resource to add to your STEAM integrated library to foster the math-art connection. This book can be used for independent exploration by your students, or pieces can be incorporated into a specific content lesson.

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices (Paul Fleischman): This collection of poems about the insect world is written to be read aloud by two voices. What a natural way to bring theatre into your literacy classroom! To extend your students’ experience with poems for two voices, have them write and perform a two-voice poem about a specified topic.

For Your Professional Integrated Library

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica): Educational guru Sir Ken Robinson argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes an approach to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. See Typhani’s ARTISTIC Critique of this book!

Questioning for Classroom Discussion: Purposeful Speaking, Engaged Listening, Deep Thinking (Jackie Acree Walsh and Beth Dankert Sattes): Promoting inquiry in the classroom is a topic about which we at EdCloset are passionate, and this new resource explore the ways in which questioning and discussion work in tandem to push learning forward and move students from passive participants to active meaning-makers.

Moon Journals: Writing, Art, and Inquiry Through Focused Nature Study (Joni Chancer and Gina Rester-Zodrow): Teachers Chancer and Rester-Zodrow recount how their students observed the moon’s transit for twenty-eight days, recording their impressions in written and illustrated records called “Moon Journals.” These journals evolved to include many various types of composition, including prose, poetry, and artistic works. A spectacular example of integrated curriculum!

Colliding Worlds (Arthur Miller): Miller explores the ways in which artists have used advances in technology and science in new and innovative artistic works. From traditional art seen in museums to graphic design to the influence science and math have had on artistic movements, this book is sure to inspire you to look at the STEM world through an artist’s lens!

For Your Personal Integrated Library

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeown): This was one of my favorite reads of the past year (see my article on “The Art of Play,” which was inspired by this book). McKeown talks about the importance of making space in our lives to do less, but to do less better, reducing our stress, making room in our lives for what is truly important, and enjoying life more.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Elizabeth Gilbert): The author of Eat, Pray, Love shares her perspective on what it is to be creative and discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. An inspirational read for educators looking to promote creativity in the classroom!

The Art of Possibility (Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander): Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and Rosamund Stone Zander, psychotherapist, present twelve practices for bringing creativity into your life and thereby finding personal and professional fulfillment.

Steal Like an Artist (Austin Kleon): In this book, Kleon shares the “10 things nobody told you about being creative.” Kleon encourages us to embrace the influence of other works in discovering our own paths. And he just happens to be the keynote speaker at our Winter Connectivity conference, so get registered today!

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: