Jef Lambdin, Faye Stanley, and Sheila Kerrigan gave a presentation, Effective and Efficient Arts Integration Learning Strategies, at the South Carolina Alliance for Arts Education conference in Columbia, on October 8, 2015. About twenty-five teachers, old friends and new, participated. Jef taught the group a simple mime game that can be used to assess, teach, reinforce, and demonstrate learning in science. Teachers immediately made connections to several other subject areas. Sheila told the group a story while some people drew key images on large paper. Everyone chose a character in the story and explored key moments through movement, stillness, and in relation to other characters. Faye taught everyone a traditional African-American chant with interchangeable verses, and we sang it about the cycle of human life, butterfly life-cycles, and other topics.
Teachers grasped the point–that they can use these simple structures to teach subject areas across the curriculum. They do not have to be mimes to invite their students to show what they know using their bodies. They don’t have to be musicians to lead a chant. (No melody!) They can tell a story while their students create the setting on big paper and physically explore character relationships, thoughts, and emotions.
In spite of devastating flooding in parts of the state, and in spite of the fact that the city of Columbia had no potable water, the SCAAE board decided to go ahead with the conference, as planned. Many teachers and administrators from all over the state managed to attend, even with hundreds of roads across the state closed due to flood damage. The conference hotel staff at the Marriott, put in much extra effort to creatively manage contingencies like the inability to wash dishes, using bottled water to make much-needed coffee, and providing bottled water for 200 or so attendees.
Our hats are off to the SCAAE board, to all the educators who managed to get there, and to the Marriott staff who made it work for the group. We look forward to seeing them next year!