Monday, January 28, 2013

Common Ground is Common Core

As a certified K-12 music teacher in Spanish Harlem, I regularly find myself in an ELA or Social Studies room cooperatively team teaching everything from the Neolithic revolution to literary elements and argumentative essays. When I first received my schedule 3 years ago, I was certain there had been a mistake.

I struggled over terminology and believed that as a musician, I was doing a disservice to my scholars by teaching them out of my subject area. Then one day, we were discussing essay structure, and I made a comparison to the parts of a song, and as I continued to explain, a veil was lifted- I already knew how to do all of these things because as a creative artist, I have been doing them all along.

I quickly realized that as an artist, we incorporate all of the content areas into one content. It was then I realized just how much I have to offer other content areas. In the music classroom, we are constantly reading and counting, converting symbols into instant math solutions, listening to others and harmonizing, choosing and comparing qualities of sound and texture, arguing tastes and opinions an composing based on structured rules and guidelines while always finding ways to reach outside the box. In the art class, scholars are weighing colors and textures, graphically representing cognitive maps, visualizing, balancing tone and symbolizing ideas and concepts without the use if words.

Every day, artists, musicians, dancers, sculptors and architects pick up pieces of science, math, language and history to express feelings and thoughts, to create buildings, devices and works that help us to live better lives or better understand the condition of others.

As I join my colleagues in common planning meetings, we have realized that in addressing common core, we are all becoming art teachers. Instead of departmentalizing and compartmentalizing content (as our universities so regularly train us), we must all learn how to find the many common threads that tie is together. Whether supporting an argument in a persuasive or supporting the choices in a melodic composition, we are using the same evidential applications.

As artists, the Common Core is a fundamental component of all we do. As such, we are an invaluable resource to our content area teachers. While math, ELA and science have often been called the "Core Curriculum" I would argue that our artistic endeavors can serve as equally substantial cores around which we can make relevant connections to science, math and language arts.

To me, we are all arts educators, and finding Common Core is finding Common Ground- the art lies in finding the thread, no matter how tenuous, that ties each of us to the other subjects in our schools? We must use our skills as artists to best service the integration of creative practices and thought processes to help our students develop meaningful and lasting connections between subjects and content.

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1 comment:

  1. I was looking for this information from many hours Thanks for sharing it! Allen