Incorporating art across the curriculum


Quick Links:

Mini Course Homepage: Understanding & Increasing Visual Art Engagement

Portfolio Page: Eric Rodrigues' Portfolio Page

Module 1: What is art education and why is it important?

Module 2: Building Trust & Confidence

Module 3:  Current Page

"I, Thou & It"

In unit 2, I refused to put my response to the shoe activity directly under the original section. Instead, I opted to put it at the end of the unit and instructed you to read it only after you completed the activity. The reason I did this is to help develop the “I, thou and it” framework described in David Hawkin's, THE INFORMED VISION, Essays on Learning and Human Nature (2002).

Take a look at the image below to view this relationship.

Image by Eric Rodrigues

The I, Thou, It framework contains so much information that it could never be explained fully in this mini-course, so I want you to specifically look at the teacher and how the chart says "possible intervention". This framework suggests that students should interact with the subject matter on their own. Once a teacher says the answer or what they believe something should be, many students feel shut down and their creative thoughts relating to the subject matter abruptly end. After all, why think beyond when the answer was already figured out?

For this next activity, I want you to look below at this artwork. Some of you may recognize it, but I do not want to give any extra information away if this is new.

1*gDhHpDqlfMBgB-rKruQ wg.jpg

Find a partner to do this with and set a timer for 10 minutes. I want you to discuss with your partner what you are seeing and why you think that. You must provide evidence for your answers. Even if you are an art teacher/art enthusiast and know this artwork, a discussion with others is beneficial to really explore what you are seeing and understand the thought process of others.

Consider the following:

What is this artwork of?

Why do you think this?

What emotions are represented and why? Remember to list specific evidence.

Why is one part of the image in gray?

Please write your findings of what this piece represents to you on this google slideshow: 

Further instructions are written there.

Do not read further until you have completed the activity above.


My whole point is that I can lecture you on what this piece of artwork represents and how it impacted history, but that doesn’t help you look and interact with information on your own. We want to teach students to interact with the world, not just listen and wait for others around them to feed them answers.

In the I, Thou, It relationship, teachers play an important role of watching and observing. When a discussion is taking place, we have to act as a guide rather than an all knowing being in the equation. One way you could incorporate this into your own classroom is to simply not provide the answer for a limited time. Instead, you could ask a few students what they believe the answer is and what evidence they have to prove their answer. Even if you hear the correct answer, do not react. Praise the students on their effort and for taking a chance, but do not necessarily praise on getting the answer correct. You may find that students take an extra chance and the conversation can still develop even after the correct answer was given. This also provides you with feedback on how the students are thinking. If you would like to know more about the work above, the name of the piece is The Weeping Woman by Picasso.


Now that we understand some of the benefits of art education and have become better observers, we will explore how we can incorporate art across the curriculum.

Whether an art teacher or not, art can help engage students of all ages and backgrounds. It can be a form of expression and creativity, while connecting back to students on a personal level.

This mini-course is meant for all types of teachers, not just art teachers, so for this next activity, I want you to think about how you can incorporate art into your subject area. If you are an art teacher, I would like for you to pick a different subject area and brainstorm a lesson idea - after all, my needs assessment suggested that plenty of teachers would be open to working with you! Click the link below to access the padlet and add your lesson idea under the appropriate section and include a grade level your lesson could be used for. I created an example of a brief social studies lesson for reference.

Hammond (2015) states that "active" and "focused" practice can lead to improved neural connections due to myelin developing. Art can provide students will a new perspective on topics and strengthen their working memories. I hope you were able to benefit from this mini-course, thank you for your time.


Hammond, Z. L. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain. CorwinPress.

Quick Links:

Mini Course Homepage: Understanding & Increasing Visual Art Engagement

Portfolio Page: Eric Rodrigues' Portfolio Page

Module 1: What is art education and why is it important?

Module 2: Building Trust & Confidence

Module 3:  Current Page