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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Video Library K-5

Expanding the Role of the Arts Specialist Activities and Discussion

Dance teacher Kathy DeJean with members of the Dance Troupe at Lusher Alternative Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Suggested Activities and Discussion

Consider these questions for reflection:

  • If you are a classroom teacher, how can an arts specialist help you enrich instruction in your classroom?
  • What arts-based skills would help you teach more effectively?
  • How could you initiate collaborations among arts specialists and classroom teachers at your school?
  • If you are an arts specialist, identify one or two specific ways you could expand your role at your own school. What are some steps you can take right now to make this happen?

Improving Practice

Here are some additional ways you can build on the ideas in this program in a variety of school and community settings:

Professional Development for Teachers

  • Work with your arts specialists to present a workshop or series of workshops for classroom teachers to learn arts-based skills they can use in their classrooms; for example, drawing and painting techniques, theatre exercises, or skills in listening to and interpreting music.
  • See what resources for acquiring arts-based teaching skills are offered by museums, theatre and dance groups, and orchestras in your area. If no such training exists, ask a local group to help you develop one.
  • As a mixed group of specialists and classroom teachers, visit a museum, concert, or play. Afterward, discuss the experience from your various perspectives.

Curriculum-Planning Session

  • With your arts specialists, brainstorm ways the arts can make teaching more effective at your school; for example, by overcoming language and other barriers to learning or by reaching students with various learning styles or special needs.
  • Identify opportunities for bringing arts specialists into classrooms regularly.
  • Invite specialists to help you plan specific ways they could integrate with your curriculum and set goals for making this happen. Include periodic skills-sharing sessions with arts specialists and classroom teachers in your school schedule.

Community Outreach

  • Find opportunities for arts specialists to address parents’ groups, school board meetings, or other gatherings about how the arts benefit learning.
  • Invite parents, policymakers, and other community leaders to a student performance or exhibition of student work at your school. Share students’ reflections on the experience and what they have learned from it.
  • Hold a recital or exhibition by arts specialists from your school.