One of the main reasons Kat and I were hired at ECA was because we used to teach Humanities at Renaissance Arts Academy, an incredible performing arts charter school in Los Angeles. Our new principal seemed to think we would be good at helping to advance the ECA Middle School plan for integrating arts into core subjects. We certainly believe that the arts are integral and have witnessed time and again how allowing children to be artists transforms them from students into scholars.
Under the expert guidance of Mr. Michael Anderson, the visual arts program in the ECA Middle School has produced incredible work. (Here is his Arts Integration Blog.) He worked with Kat and I various times on projects for 6th grade Humanities. In my 8th grade Social Studies class, I felt like I never stopped working with him. It all started with a bottle of wine and his ideas that helped me design a new approach to the 8th grade Social Studies curriculum. His guidance and friendship have been indispensable.
Though it’s not “Arts Integration,” we want to highlight a project that he led with his Advanced Art students. It’s a large mural in the Middle School multi-purpose room. Even if you don’t know the students, I’m sure you’ll still be impressed by what 8th graders can accomplish when given the right time, tools and encouragement.