Eric Lowe


I'm an art educator with 16 years of experience in teaching for Brandon School Division. I was the art coordinator of the ArtsSmarts project, wherein artists and educators developed art-integrated lessons. I am now a sessional lecturer at Brandon University, developing an art-integrated curriculum for my M.Ed. project. These lessons will integrate art across the general school curriculum. They will increase awareness and sensitivity of the students’ personal environment and the natural world. From the Introduction to Educational Administration course, I hope to understand the problems that administrators face when introducing new curriculum documents.


D. Jack Davis
Art is more than creative expression, which has been the dominant theme of art education for much of the twentieth century. Expression is important, but researchers are also finding connections between learning in the visual arts and the acquisition of knowledge and skills in other areas. According to a 1993 Arts Education Partnership Working Group study, the benefits of a strong art program include intensified student motivation to learn, better school attendance, increased graduation rates, improved multicultural understanding, and the development of higher-order thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

ARTS EDUCATION Creating Student Success In School, Work, and Life
􀂗 The Arts Prepare Students for School, Work, and Life As this country works to strengthen our foothold in the 21st Century global economy, the arts equip students with a creative, competitive edge. To succeed in today's economy of ideas, students must masterfully use words, images, sounds, and movement to communicate. The arts provide the skills and knowledge students need to develop the creativity and determination necessary for success in today's global information age.
􀂗 The Arts Strengthen the Learning Environment Where schools and communities are delivering high-quality learning opportunities in, through, and about the arts for children, extraordinary results occur. A study by the Arts Education Partnership, Third Space: When Learning Matters, finds that schools with large populations of students in economic poverty - too often places of frustration and failure for both students and teachers - can be transformed into vibrant hubs of learning when the arts are infused into their culture and curriculum. Additionally, studies have found that 8th graders from under-resourced environments who are highly involved in the arts have better grades, less likelihood of dropping out by grade 10, have more positive attitudes about school, and are more likely to go on to college.2
􀂗 The Arts Can Attract and Retain Teachers Who Love to Teach Attracting and retaining our best teachers is a daunting challenge. It can be met, however, by ensuring schools embrace the arts. Schools, especially those struggling, can attract new educators and keep their best teachers by becoming havens for creativity and innovation;
places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach. As we aim to improve the teaching environment, the arts can help us retain our outstanding future and current educators in our nation's schools. A comprehensive strategy for a complete education includes rigorous, sequential arts instruction in school.

Arts at the Core Recommendations for Advancing the State of Arts Education in the 21st Century
The arts are intrinsic to who we are as human beings, and just as they have always been at the core of what we call “civilization,” they should be at the core of the education we provide for our children. In a letter (August 2009) to school and education community leaders, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, stressed “the importance of the arts as a core academic subject and part of a complete education for all students,” and he noted how “the arts play a significant role in children’s development and learning process.” The NTFAE urges the College Board to exercise its broad influence to encourage its members to implement and sustain

Robinson, S. (2008). Promising Practices and Core Learnings in Arts Education, Literature Review of K–12 Fine Arts Programs, SUBJECT INTEGRATION
Subject integration is encouraged in the educational field of fine arts (complementary, core, and technology) within existing programs of study frameworks with subject-specific outcomes (Wyman as interviewed by Willingham, 2005). However, “Bresler (1995, as cited by Mishook & Kornhaber, 2006) looked at qualitative studies that examined arts integration in action. She found that most examples of art integration were ‘subservient,’ where the ‘arts served to spice [up] other subjects” (pp. 4–5). There is a concern expressed in the fine arts communities that the arts disciplines’ content and knowledge and skills pedagogical delivery is sometimes compromised or “watered down” in these integrated situations if they are not planned well (Mishook & Kornhaber, 2006; Appel, 2006).

An Art-Integrated Curriculum through the Art of Bookmaking


Society needs and values creative individuals. Therefore, demands are increasingly placed on early and middle years educators to provide more creative and challenging daily lessons that engage students in critical enquiry for everyday problem solving. The proposed art-integration curriculum, based on the art of bookmaking, offers a unique hands-on learning experience, wherein educators will learn to create and implement personalized art-integrated lessons across the general curriculum. Their students are given a deep-rooted learning experience that will meet the needs of society and our current educational system.

An Art-Integrated Curriculum through the Art of Bookmaking

Society needs and values creative and inventive individuals; therefore, demands are increasingly placed on early and middle years teachers to provide more creative and challenging daily lessons. Art-integrated lessons infused into the curriculum give students the freedom of creative and critical enquiry for everyday problem solving (Donahue & Stuart, 2008). Students engage in a unique hands-on learning experience, because learning through the arts requires active participation. Art-integration through the art of bookmaking can be the perfect medium to accomplish hands-on learning with creative problem solving techniques, and a pride of ownership and accomplishment of creating one’s own book.
Through professional development and education, the educators gain personal confidence and assurance that art-integration into the general curriculum is possible and fun through bookmaking. The goal is to build the individual educators’ confidence in their ability to create and implement personalized art-integrated lessons across the general curriculum with bookmaking techniques. In return, their students experience real problem solving, critical reflection, and observation within an interactive, collaborative social environment that is nurtured by an art-integrated curriculum (Belver, Ullan, & Acaso, 2005). Such an innovative art-based curriculum requires thinking “outside the box” and understanding the long-term positive impact for a creative society.
Society and industry demand more creative and critical thinking for everyday problem solving. This demand is being felt in education. The Manitoba Department of Education is developing an online Arts-Integrated Curriculum for early years students in Manitoba and is asking universities to develop a methods course for art-integration (Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, 2007). There is a need for educators to set teaching goals that provide creative, inventive, and challenging daily lessons for students.
Collectively, educators should share their best teaching practices while developing an art-integrated education program (Belver et al., 2005). Art educators who have a passion for a particular subject area could share their ideas and hopefully pass along some of that passion. This exchange of ideas and passion is already taking place with such programs as “Artists in the Schools Program” (Manitoba Arts Council, 2008) and “ArtsSmarts” (ArtsSmarts Manitoba, 2004). These private and government-assisted programs, which were formed to infuse and integrate more art into the curriculum, have been very successful and have provided a fund of ideas and information. These new ideas have been shared in professional development workshops for educators. For example, bookmaker and artist Elaine Rounds was the guest artist at one of these workshops a few years ago. Such sharing of innovative ideas and best practices ensures that all educators have access to art-integrated lesson ideas that cultivate creative and critical thinking in students.

The four steps of Long’s (2008) “Full Circling Process” engage students in creative thinking and observation. This four-step method is deeply rooted in an individual’s social development and sparks a growing interest to explore and expand new possibilities and directions. Parker (2005) added, “Creative intelligence is relevant to all aspects of the school curriculum” (p. 188). Teachers in all subject areas should strive to develop creative and innovative approaches, rather than “ordinary thinking” (Parker, p. 187). Individuals strive to reach their maximum potential when they are engaged in the learning process.
Strand’s (2006) conclusions also support the value of art-integration in the schools: the interrelationships among various themes support curriculum development into an art-infused general curriculum in all subject areas. Burton, Horowitz and Abeles (1999) found that “pupils in arts-intensive settings were also strong in their abilities to express thoughts and ideas, exercise their imaginations, and take risks in learning. In addition, their teachers were seen as more cooperative and willing to display their learning” (p. 45). Eisner (2002) described the arts as having diversity and variability, which opens up new considerations, directions, and possibilities for creative expression. Educators who have a passion for their work and are able to be creative and think outside the box can use art-integrated lessons to add joy to all of their classes.
Most visual information in society today is delivered by mass media, such as television, videos, and video games. The audience participation is reactive, rather than proactive, requiring very little creativity. In art activities such as bookmaking, the artist is the creator, constantly making new decisions through trial and error (Atkinson, 2006). This process can be intimidating for young minds unfamiliar with creativity in visual form. Improving and heightening individuals’ observation skills and knowledge of art as a visual language gives them an increased awareness and a respectful understanding of their environment (Donahue & Stuart, 2008). Teachers need to motivate and stimulate young minds so that they gain confidence in this hands-on approach. Bookmaking engages young minds in a creative process that engenders pride in personal accomplishments.
Art-integrated hands-on classroom activities such as book art provide a unique learning process. Students become excited when physically and mentally involved in a deep-rooted educational experience. Developing art-integrated lessons through book art across the general curriculum addresses many of the needs and goals that students and society have today, which heightens the students’ appreciation of the society and the environment in which they live. Eisner (2002) wrote of enriching individuals to learn with an eye towards aesthetics, something that is emphasized in effective art education. Art-integration through bookmaking can build and sustain understanding through hands-on learning in many subject areas across the curriculum.
Educators need to motivate and stimulate young minds so that they gain confidence in their ability to create their own expression from their own experience (Atkinson, 2006). This journey can be intimidating for teachers; teaching young minds unfamiliar with the creative process can be very challenging. Being able to communicate and express oneself is the foundation of teaching art (Donahue & Stuart, 2008). Book art and the art of bookmaking are not intimidating and are easy for educators and students to gain confidence and success. Students will respond if they find a connection with the topic.
Students love to learn and explore new possibilities and directions if they find a connection or bridge. Educators must be able to motivate the students to attempt the unknown, which requires dedication and passion (Atkinson, 2006). Integrating book art methods into the general curriculum, educators meet this demand and students enjoy a more lasting and grounded educational experience. Hands-on bookmaking engages all of the learners’ senses; art-integration gives students the opportunity to become physically and mentally involved in a unique learning process that provides personal ownership. Therefore, the job of the educator is to convey a personal relationship and build a bridge between student and task (Belver et al., 2005).
High expectations are placed on educators to incorporate the arts into their lessons, but how can they be confident in knowing how to integrate art into the general curriculum without any

formal training or an instructional background in art? Art is a visual language that requires an understanding of the fundamental elements and principles that are used in this language (Donahue & Stuart, 2008). Educators require training in the basic foundation skills so that they become familiar with the fundamentals of art.
The art of bookmaking requires very little training, but it can encourage educators to develop a personalized art-integrated curriculum and their own art assignments and, in the process, incorporate the elements of design and art. With book art they can draw, paint, and paste their way into an appreciation of what certain materials can do, and what they can do as creative entities in their own right.
It is only through a hands-on approach that an understanding of the potential and limitations of any medium can be realized. Completed student books can be studied for the elements of art, and suggested improvements or alternative approaches can be critiqued, thus enhancing the students’ observation skills. Heightened observation skills and increased understanding of the visual arts as a language give educators and their students a chance to explore the creative process with positive final results (Belver et al., 2005).
Art teachers often are concerned that an art-integrated curriculum will pose a threat to art as a subject in its own right. Jacobs (1989) countered that “experiences in purposeful curriculum integration can serve to increase the power of our creative teaching, increase job satisfaction and interaction with our teaching peers, and increase direct student interest and active involvement in learning linked within the school environment” (as cited in Fisher & McDonald, 2004, p. 246). Many examples exist of students experiencing activities and wishing to become more involved in training in a particular subject area. As Jacobs explained, “Finally, with the idea of improving and enhancing quality arts instruction for every child, we have nothing to lose as we include others in our collaborative teaching efforts” (as cited in Fisher & McDonald, p. 246). An art-integrated curriculum and bookmaking techniques enhance and strengthen art as a means to deliver and understand information from a new perspective.
Learning through the arts and teaching through the arts require a distinct approach for integration of new knowledge and skills. Simple bookmaking is a medium that has infinite possibilities for integration across the curriculum. Book-artist Elaine Rounds introduced this technique at an ArtsSmarts workshop in Brandon a few years ago. Since then, her hands-on book making technique has been introduced to hundreds of students with extremely positive feedback from students, educators, school administrators, and parents. Students begin their class by examining sample books provided, and then they are given instructions in simple folding techniques for making a simple pop-up, accordion, or flag book. Once the book is folded, book covers are selected from a number of possible resources, such as magazines, old calendars, newspapers, wallpaper, hand-made paper, and cloth ties or scarves.
Once the book is completed with the covers, endless possibilities exist for what could, or should, be put into the book. The student has been engaged and has taken ownership of the book. Now the subject matter is important, because it is going into a personal book. The student researches the subject with passion and conviction, wishing to find the best possible visual examples and pertinent information available for the topic. Envelopes are glued onto the back cover of the book to hold extra materials that could be found at a later date. “I know you throw away some of my art work,” a student told his mother, “but never ever throw away any of my art work from Ms Rounds.” The little books are captivating, and the students have accomplished the making of a treasure. What better way to educate for lifelong learning! (See Appendix for examples of book art.)
Educators gain personal confidence when teaching new concepts and ideas. Art-integration through bookmaking should serve as a fundamental catalyst in the transformation of individuals, increasing creative expression while working towards developing the “whole person” in a process that validates the importance of all subject areas across the curriculum, including art. Our society will be enriched with imaginative individuals eager to confront the challenges of the

future. Individuals capable of thinking outside the box, becoming creative thinkers, will solve the unique problems that our planet is facing.


ArtsSmarts Manitoba. (2004). ArtsSmarts Manitoba program. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from
Atkinson, D. (2006). School art education: Mourning the past and opening a future [Electronic
version]. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 25(1), 17-27.
Belver, M., Ullan, A., & Acaso, M. (2005). Integrating art education models: Contemporary
controversies in Spain. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 93-99.
Burton, J., Horowitz, R., & Abeles, H. (1999). Learning in and through the arts:
Curriculum implications. Center for Arts Education Research, Teachers College,
Columbia University.
Donahue, D., & Stuart, J. (2008). Working towards balance: Arts integration in pre-service
teacher education in an era of standardization. Teaching and Teacher Education,
24, 343-355.
Eisner E. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven, England: Yale University
Fisher, D., & McDonald, N. (2004) Stormy weather: Leading purposeful curriculum integration
with and through the arts. Teaching Artist Journal, 2(4), 240-248.
Manitoba Arts Council (2008). Artists in the Schools Program. Retrieved August 15, 2008,
Manitoba Education, Citizen and Youth (2007). Draft Manitoba Curriculum Framework.
Retrieved August 15, 2008, from
Long, T. W. (2008). The full circling process: Leaping into the ethics of history using
critical visual literacy and arts-based activism. Journal of Adolescent and Adult
Literacy, 516(6), 498-508.
Parker, J. (2005). A consideration of the relationship between creativity and
approaches to learning in art and design. International Journal of Art and
Design Education, 24(2), 187-198.
Strand, K. (2006). The heart and the journey: Case studies of collaboration for
arts integrated curricula. Arts Education Policy Review, 108(1), 29-40.