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Imagination through art and music

David Carpenter

David Carpenter, previously the Instructional Technologist for the Washington International Primary School, USA

A school created a video on imagination through art and music related to the transdisciplinary theme How we express ourselves. 

The fourth grade teachers at Washington International School collaborated with the art and music teachers to design a unit of inquiry around the transdisciplinary theme of How we express ourselves. They focused on helping students to engage their imaginations to discover and express ideas while expanding their understanding of foundational aspects of art and music. The students used drawing materials, musical instruments and technology to combine art and music to represent and communicate an idea.

The following video outlines the teaching and learning process while also including a fun and interesting student work sample. The exemplar is provided by Finn who reflected in his French homeroom class to then write about his creation process. Finn used the iPad to voice record in French sharing his thinking using the Explain Everything app. Below the video is the English translation provided by Finn. To learn more about the lessons provided by the art and music teachers, you can access a post from my Lessons Learned personal blog that gives further details.

Finn's translation













David Carpenter is an international educator having taught in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America. David enjoys co-teaching the Information and Communication Literacies (ICL) curriculum with the school librarians while also collaborating with teachers to design units of inquiry. Another passion is connecting to the greater learning community through his Lessons Learned blog and his co-hosting of the Ed Tech Co-Op podcast. He is now working for Fairfax County Public Schools.

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6 Responses to Imagination through art and music

  1. Grant Lewis 16 September 2015 at 1:52 am #

    Really, really cool idea David. I particularly like the way you have merged the two fields of the arts together and integrated the use of IT seamlessly! Great to see such an idea used and then shared. Thank you!

  2. Cindy 24 September 2015 at 2:52 am #

    It´s incredible how little children learn through the music and art and awsome the results if we as a teacher mix them in our activities.I as a teacher of kids 1 to 3 years old I can see how they improve their language singing songs in their native language or other language and It will be very usefull if I can learn about this expirience to use it in Nursery.

  3. David Carpenter 25 September 2015 at 10:30 pm #

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for the support! I love it when we find ways to empower students to make connections and find ways to communicate their understanding. Cheers.

  4. David Carpenter 25 September 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    Hi Cindy,

    It sounds like you are finding ways to bring music, art and language together for the young ones. I am learning more and more about how to document student learning to help them reflect about their thinking. Technology definitely can help with this process.

  5. Jessica Vance 27 October 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Thanks for this post. As a new coordinator, I’m looking at ways to support my specials teachers as well as my general ed. classrooms. I’m curious as to how your two teams (4th grade and specials) were able to decide they wanted to collaborate with one another. Was this a suggestion as a coordinator? Also, interested as to how the planning on this unit looked.

  6. David Carpenter 27 October 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    Hi Jessica- You are spot on with your analysis. The coordinator at WIS meets weekly with specials to learn of their work and support their efforts. The primary school specials teachers are dedicated to connecting their curricula to that of the grade level teachers. In the case of this project, the art, music, and technology teachers met at the start of the year with a Grade 4 teacher representative to share learning goals for the respective disciplines. They outlined a plan for the unit of inquiry with each teacher having set responsibilities. It was the passion of the art and music teacher for their subjects that really pushed this project through to completion. An important bit of advice is to assign someone to be the facilitator of your cross curriculum projects. Busy teachers and students need and deserve a point person to guide the project through to completion. Leadership is key.

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