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Classroom Management: Bringing Art, Music Back

Janelle Cox

When it comes to budget cuts, the first two programs slashed are usually music and art. A number of schools across the nation have had to deal with reduced funds, and often they choose to eliminate or cut in half students’ music and art programs.

These programs are much more than just a break from academics: Research has shown that art and music education help students succeed in school. They improve language development and IQ, help students visualize elements like solving math problems, and help improve test scores.

When students are involved in the arts, they have a lower dropout rate, higher SAT scores, and are more likely to be recognized for their academic achievement.

If your school is at risk of losing or eliminating music and art education, here are three classroom management ideas to bring them back into your classroom.

1. Using Art and Music as a Writing Prompt

Creating an art piece, listening to music, or writing a story helps children explore their feelings and emotions. It has been well documented that when children use their creative skills, it can help improve their speech and language development as well as their cognitive skills and enhance their emotional and physical well-being. Some of the world’s greatest creative minds were able to convey their feelings through these art forms. An easy and great way to get students’ creative juices flowing is to ask them to write a story based on an unfamiliar piece of music, or work of art. This can help provoke some unexplored emotional pathways, as well as a very interesting piece of writing. This can also work using an old photograph, listening to someone play an instrument, or watching a play.

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2. Encourage Dramatic Role Play

Children are better able to understand a concept, story, or character when they act it out. Challenge students to write their own stories and perform them in front of an audience. You may find that even the most unlikely students will muster up the nerve to perform in front of their peers. To help students learn grammar, math facts, or important history concepts, have students write a song based upon the concept you want them to learn. Studies show that putting information to music helps students retain information better, in addition to helping develop their listening skills.

3. Classroom Management: Develop Skills by Using Visual Arts

Art can be a very powerful tool for those who have trouble expressing how they feel through writing, giving students the opportunity to visually and artistically express themselves through drawing. Art helps visual students grasp new vocabulary or important concepts by connecting the spoken or written word with a visual model. Create opportunities for students to connect what they are learning in a visually artistic way. For example, if students are studying about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., have them illustrate important facts in his life like the march on Washington, or the Montgomery bus boycott. If they are learning molecules in science, have them illustrate and label each part of a molecule. Studies show that by creating a visual artifact, students retain what they are learning much quicker. 

Incorporating the arts into education ensures that all students’ needs are being met, regardless of how they learn. It allows students a creative outlet, increases their self-confidence, and offers them an alternative way to learn new concepts. If your school is in danger of cutting out or eliminating art education, be sure to incorporate the arts into your everyday curriculum.

This article originally appeared in TeachHUB magazine, always available for free.