Elements of the Arts: Creating Access and Alignment

Brianne Gidcumb  •  Curriculum & Instruction

If you are new to arts integration, creating connections between core content areas and the arts can seem like a challenge. It takes intentional, authentic connection to elevate arts alignment from “arts enhancement” to true integration. It seems that the greatest hurdle is simply to develop a working understanding of other content areas: the big concepts, the vocabulary, the scope and sequence, and the resources available.

Finding Big Connections

With this challenge in mind, as you start to familiarize yourself with contents outside of your own area of expertise, finding big connections is key and will maximize your efforts. In arts integration, we want connections between core and arts standards to be authentic and naturally aligning. This gives us a great point to jump off from as we begin to forge connections, creating access to the arts and alignments to other content areas. As educators begin the road towards arts integration, my first recommendation is this: create your own chart of big connections.

The Elements of Arts Alignment Template

Elements of the Arts Alignment

If you look at the elements of the arts, some natural connections might begin to immediately come to mind. For example, “shape” in visual art is a natural connection to geometry. “Pitch” in music is naturally aligned to the science of sound. And every element of drama is closely connected to ELA concepts and standards.

To help you facilitate the process of creating these big connections, of finding access to the arts by aligning elements to other content areas, you’ll find a template that will help you organize your alignments. This template includes the elements of each arts area and the definition of each of these elements. You’ll find space to connect the elements of each arts content area to a core content area, as well as a space to notate any lesson seed ideas or link existing lessons.

Creating Access through Alignments

Ready to get started?  Here is a sample alignment chart for the elements of drama. While each element of drama has been aligned to a connecting content area and a connection seed, the possibilities are endless. I encourage you to use these templates as you begin to explore connections between the arts and other contents, and feel free to make it a living document- continue to add connections and seeds to your bank of resources.

creating access through the elements of drama

Download the example Elements of Drama Alignments

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: https://artsintersection.wordpress.com/

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