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Arts Integration Methods Gaining Attention In Classroom

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With an increasing amount of pressure on teachers to focus on tested subjects in the classroom, some arts advocates are finding different ways to stay in the classroom. They're using a teaching strategy called Arts Integration.

Janice Zucker is a teaching artist with the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Virginia.

"This is called steady beat, steady beat is like your heartbeat, it's a steady beat that goes, 'boom boom, boom boom," she sings as she performs the rhythm for children.

She uses music and drama to teach young children how to count. In a recent demonstration of her method, she lined up five plastic pumpkins, which she points to:

"The second one says 'there's a chill in the air.' The third one says 'I don't care.'"

But Zucker doesn't just want to be considered a fun person with cool props.

"The math concepts are counting, subtracting--where you just look at the pumpkins and you know how many are left without actually counting them--ordinal numbers. Arts concepts are steady beat, pitch--because my voice was going up when I was doing the wind and coming back down--and dynamics also," she says.

With Arts Integration, children are expected to learn as much about arts concepts as they do the subject at hand.

The Wolf Trap Foundation recently received a grant for about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to use the arts to teach math and science to 1,400 four and five-year-olds in Fairfax County Public Schools.

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