Montessori Creative LLC

When is the last time you heard math students singing a popular song as a class during a fraction lesson? Or building an ancient city out of clay during history class? How about using technology in English? These are just a few ways teachers in San Juan Unified are changing the way their students learn and retain information.

The San Juan Unified School District is proud of the emphasis it places on the arts throughout its schools. In a quest to continue to find new and effective ways of learning at the top of an educators mind, Visual and Performing Arts coordinator Craig Faniani has found yet another way to make a difference in a child’s learning. It’s called Arts Integration and Faniani has already seen a lot of interest from principals, staff, teachers and students alike.

“We are finding through neuroscience and research that the way the brain works is to learn things in context,” VAPA coordinator Craig Faniani said. “The more we can put things together for kids the more we can give them a deeper grasp.”

Teachers are using music, sculpting, drawing, drama, technology, movement and a variety of other types of art to engage students and create a different and effective learning environment. Arts Integration is much more than the typical "art project."

“I think we think of it sometimes as, ‘oh it’s Friday afternoon, we’ll do a little art,’” Faniani said. “That’s for some other time. What it’s about is the arts are a way of thinking. It’s a philosophy of putting ideas together kind of like the scientific-method as a matter of fact. It’s a transfer skill that stays with kids into the next classroom, to college and then to career.”

Watch this video to get a clear understanding of how the arts are being integrated into main subject areas in San Juan Unified and why it’s such an effective way to learn.

For more information on Arts Integration or to get involved, contact VAPA coordinator Craig Faniani at 979-8641.


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