Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts An Integration Resource for Classroom Teachers

Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts An Integration Resource for Classroom Teachers
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  • ISBN-13: 9780130977779
  • ISBN: 0130977772
  • Edition: 2
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR


Cornett, Claudia E.


The arts do matter in their own right . . . but also as instruments of cognitive growth and development and as agents of motivation for school success. In this light, unfair access to the arts for our children brings consequences of major importance to our society. (Catterall, Chapleau, & Iwanaga, 1999) THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK Since the events of September 11, 2001, we now look at our work in education with a different eye. Of what value will higher student achievement on standardized measures be if our children aren't safe? What can educators do to prepare students to be more adept at solving the unknown problems ahead of them? How can renewed feelings of patriotism be coupled with increased respect for the diverse peoples of the world? How can children be taught democratic values for freedom and justice using pedagogic processes consistent with these values--methods that encourage students to think openly, take risks, consider choices, and make fair decisions? As we face these teaching challenges in the 21st century, we see a greater need to use our innate creative problem-solving abilities than at any other time in history. The fixture beckons with a plethora of educational promises and problems. Our challenge is to digest the growing mountain of learning research and convert it to thoughtful, artful practice. One thing we have learned through the ages is that human beings are at their best when laughing, dancing, singing, painting, potting, and pretending. The most important aspects of civilization are preserved not in percentiles, stanines, or grades, but in imaginative literature, art, drama, dance, and music. And these are the ancient learning rhythms that draw contemporary children. The arts were, and remain, the most basic and most essential forms of human communication. The arts are ways to create meaning about our deepest feelings and most significant thoughts. To ignore or minimize their value by compartmentalizing them in our classrooms into "specials" on Tuesdays or an annual class play is to deny their power in teaching and learning. This is why increasing numbers of schools have chosen to integrate the arts as primary strategies to increase student achievement, especially in reading and writing. A substantial body of research supporting the impact of the arts on learning is now readily available through publications such asChampions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning(Fiske, 1999). The goal of this text, the second edition ofCreating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts,is to help pre-service education majors and practicing teachers meaningfully integrate literature, art, drama, dance, and music throughout the curriculum by providing a basic knowledge of the arts, clear reasons for integration, and specific how-to arts integration principles. Teachingwith,about,in,andthroughthe arts implies an alternative approach to the traditional role of classroom teachers who teach science, social studies, math, and language arts/reading using the arts only as enjoyable add-on activities. It is no longer thinkable to cram children into rows of desks and allow them to see school as a lifeless, dull place compared to an outside world filled with emotional and stimulating visual images, concert-quality CDs and entertainment, and fashion designs produced by creative geniuses. It is our role as teachers to make school every bit as engaging, with compelling stories, songs, images, and movement in all lessons. Because this is an introductory text, I have used my background in alternative learning strategies and many years in undergraduate teacher education to scaffold for readers with structuring devices, repetition, use of examples, and mnemonic devices. My hope is to empower readers to use their own creative abilities to discover patterns and use the ordinary in extraordinary ways in their teachCornett, Claudia E. is the author of 'Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts An Integration Resource for Classroom Teachers', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130977779 and ISBN 0130977772.

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