Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ABCs of Arts Integration: F - J, Part 2

We're into Part 2, of a 5 part series on Arts Integration!
For anyone keeping track, this is without a doubt, my most ambitious blogging effort to date. 
BTW: That's what happens when you start associating with other bloggers. 
The expectations go up. 
What an amazing group to be associated with! The Kids Bloggers Network. 
Seventy of our members are in the midst of unwrapping their own A-Z series on a topic near and dear. 
WOW! Let's get today's party started!  


You know what I think? I think the Arts at their very core are fun. You know what else I think? I think the Arts are what keeps you young! When you're deeply engaged in a project -- whether it be woodworking as a senior citizen, or writing your autobiography, there's a moment described as 'flow.' 

'Flow' is the magic carpet that takes you out of the immediate and everyday circumstances that surround you and delivers you instead through a portal of sorts. 'Flow' happens in the midst of your focus -- where time seems to stand still. Time passes for the rest of the people on the planet, but you have merged with your creative process to such an extent that you look up to see stars twinkling overhead when just a flash ago, you could have sworn the sun was just rising. 

'Flow' is good for you. So is fun! Developing a sense and ability to FOCUS is just another of the many benefits of integrating Art into your life.  Into your classroom. Into your day. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING! Start with an Arts FOUNDATION! Start with babies and then toddlers exploring their world thru a variety of media, explorations and expressions. 

As a former Elementary Art Teacher, I'm all about that Fun! I'm also all about the Fine Motor work necessary to work forward toward the Fine Arts. I launched a series here, {which you can always locate in my side bar labels} called FINE MOTOR FRIDAY. There are 40 installments already gathered there where I share on the topic of 'Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts.' [Click here to go digging through the series.]

photo of: Fine Motor Development, Fine Arts with children, painting with children
Mother's Day Edition of Fine Motor Friday: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts

That particular painted hand is one of personal joy to me. Those are the fingers of our Mr. Eyelashes Twizee-guy. It seems he comes from a long line of Arts explorers. I think you get a sense of his fun-in-the-moment. 
I dare say, he's focused on his own approach and process. This photo might even be one of his first moments of documented creative "flow." Yeah mommy! Way to capture that instant. One of my favorites! 

Giggles! Guitar!
So where do you fall on the continuum of glitter vs. no glitter? I've noticed that there are definitely two camps of thought on this issue. This is an aisle that very def runs a wide swath right down the middle of the profession. There is very little crossing the line. You either do. Or you don't. 

Glitter to children is the very essence of fairy-tales. Its shimmery and gaudy and glimmers for goodness sake. Its the evidence of fairies, pixies, sprites and goblins. In young children there seems to be no line of demarcation between the sexes when it comes to glitter. Like glue. The more the merrier. Piled think and deep, glitter brings every project to a whole new level of WOW. For the adult in the equation, glitter is either joy in a bottle or it is the bane of one's existence. Once it makes its appearance on the first day of school, the remnants will be continuously swept up until the final school bell of the season rings. You know you're a teacher when you notice you have glitter embedded about your body in the midst of the produce aisle or while standing in line at the bank. Glitter is something of a right of passage. 

Here's a happy compromise that I saw on one of my school visits down here in Florida. Look how neat and tidy this glitter stays inside its hermetically sealed bag. I learned that its a container of hair gel with the glitter mixed in. How awesome is that? 

Hair Gel + Glitter  = PRICELESS 
Take a look at GLITTER in the hands of a mature third grader expounding on "The Nutcracker Suite." If you're a glitter aficionado or an elementary Art teacher, you really owe it to yourself to go back to this article and see the amazing work developed in this project. It was oh-so-hard to select 'just one' image for the glitter show! 

***Look for the evidence of guitar-glory under the I-is-for-Instruments section, just below! 

This is year seventeen for my travels as the music-lady, morphed most recently into Author/Illustrator woman. When I think back to individual moments over these amazing years -- I think of the moments of heart. The moments of HOPE. There are times when I'm just so happy I could burst. There are more than a few times when I've been so happy, I've been in tears. 

It turns out that when you offer children with special needs the opportunity to be engaged in the Arts, they have a predisposition to surprise you, to surprise themselves and to surprise the teachers and parents in the vicinity. I have been in the mist of tales too numerous to adequately chronicle here. I have been the instigator of children 'signing' their first sign of communication in sign language. I know because I have observed the tears streaming down the therapist's cheeks. I have been the instigator of a near six year old's first word. I know, because I was invited to be the center of fun for his sixth birthday party. You can click back here to read that a-ma-zing story in its entirety. Bring a tissue. 

Eric the 'Honorary' Fire Fighter of House 10 Fire Station, Orlando FL 

I have had so many hope-filled stories unfold right under my very nose. It was such an inspiration to meet Eric and learn of his affinity and devotion to the House 10 fire station of Orlando, FL.  You can read Eric's heart warming story in this earlier article and learn how my quilted fire station illustration was meaningful in his life journey and developing a 'new' appreciation and love of books as a mature teen-age reader. 

"If I had a pet it would be a butterfly, because they are beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity and dreams.  And they are marvelous." 
One of my favorite stories of hope revolves around an English-as-a-second language speaking Hajar. You have to be a tad bit familiar with the vocabulary of my first picture book and my song that its based on, to grasp the profound response that Hajar created above without direction. This VERY moving story is documented in this earlier article. Talk about the power of the Arts! Talk about hope. Talk about heart. When I share this story and the slides of Hajar's independent work -- there is a collective gasp from the participants adding it all together. 


I could write an entire book about the integrating of instruments into your circle time and their influence on Arts Integration. Needless to say, there would be a whole chapter devoted to the glorious greatness of learning the guitar enough to impress children. Honest. You only really need three chords to get underway and if you add just a few more, ya really can rock out MOST of the traditional children's songs in even the broadest of repertoires. 

What does that investment of time mean to those little ones in your world? Every instrument adds its own voice, but the guitar allows you to sit in the very midst of your audience. Its size allows for a delightful sense of intimacy. If it helps you at all, I think of my guitar as just one more 'prop' for the leading of the fun. You'll notice in the first picture below: I'M NOT EVEN PLAYING IT! Which only adds to the delight of the participants. 'If you're happy and you know it ~~ SHOUT HOORAY!'

Imagination, Imagination, Imagination


Yes. Folks those are nearly the entire set of lyrics for the first verse of my oh-so-popular 'Jumpin' Jiminy' dittie filled with both alliteration fun for the tongue and an inviting pogo stick rhythmic beat for the feet! 

Thirty seconds of jumping, spring-like on the beat is indeed jubilation for jesters everywhere. Three year old children given the direction to jump are in their element. As are second graders. It's just the adults that need the encouragement. All of that lovely early, jumping is a precursor to the grand jete of the ballerina off into the future. Controlling one's body in space, is just one of the delightful benefits of movement/dance in the classroom. Music that is specifically sculpted with choreographed expectations helps direct the enthusiasm while inviting all to JOIN the Jam-session. 

Here's the subset in my group within the ABC challenge. Click back here to my landing page to find EVERYONE involved  I hope that you have time to hop over and see what's happening with my peers! Tell them that I sent ya! Joy! Joy! Joy! ENJOY!!
-- Debbie -- 

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Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com
I have just opened a store at Teachers Pay Teachers, where I have my original songs for children in zipped folders with Mp3s and support materials in pdf format and or power point. Come follow me there to see when I have new products to announce. 

The really big news of 2013 is that we have launched an entire new enterprise
where you can shop in your jammies for all the resources you need.....
under one ever-larger, polka dot umbrella! 

Tell your friends! Come open your own shop! 


  1. I love these! H and J are so darn happy! Thanks so much for more inspiration and fabulous ideas. Pinning, tweeting, and all that!

  2. Thanks for your sharing, it's a good post, keep going and support you.


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