Cross-curricular learning embeds art in a multitude of lessons



Recent record attendance at the spring musical, “The Little Mermaid” and the opening reception of the K-12 Art Show “Portrait of a Mayfield Artist” at Hillcrest Hospital highlight the importance of art in education. But in Mayfield City Schools, art is embedded in nearly every curriculum thanks to the momentum of cross-curricular learning.

During the 2017-18 school year, the influence of art across the curriculum has enhanced not only how students learn, but how many.

Elementary students discovered the art and science connection during field trips to the Mayfield Innovation Center throughout the school year.

First-graders created tessellation art inspired by artist M.C. Escher using FabLab equipment to create acrylic shapes. Third-graders created paintings inspired by Jackson Pollock using computer guided sphero balls dipped in paint. Fifth-graders designed a computer-based logo for their class using Google Draw to create a vinyl decal.

Photo: First grade STEAM field trips focusing on tessellations at the Mayfield Innovation Center.

    “Art is a critical component for intellectual growth in children and adolescents,” said Superintendent Keith Kelly. “In our world art is embedded everywhere. By integrating art into projects of all kinds, Mayfield teachers give our students the opportunity to demonstrate their academic growth by way of creative expression. This is important not only in art class but in all subjects.”        
      This idea of “deeper learning” links art to nearly all studies. Dissecting a cow heart is about as hands-on as a student can get to understand the intricacies of the organ. But allow those students to dissect and draw what they are dissecting and their depth of knowledge grows.        “Our job as educators is to develop all of our student’s capacities. It’s the idea of multiple intelligence. That’s what the world is looking for from our graduates. That’s what we’re giving our students,” Dr. Kelly said.        
      Earlier this school year, MHS English teacher Kari Beery fused her Creative Writing students with Excel TECC Medical Technologies students to participate in the Cleveland Clinic eXpressions initiative. The eXpressions project engages students in an inter-disciplinary exploration of science, medicine and creative writing.        
      During the six-week lesson, Medical Technology and Creative Writing students collaborated on authentic medical cases from the Cleveland Clinic not only to understand the science of medicine, but also to reveal the humanistic side of a diagnosis. Students wrote essays, poems and created graphic art stories about pediatric immunization, concussions, depression and anxiety among racial groups, eating disorders and the impact of infant driven feeding, to name a few.        
      “By providing the poetic expression or narrative behind the patient, the person behind the story takes shape and the writer gives another perspective of human care that needs fostering in the medical field and in society,” Ms. Beery said. “Through the eXpressions project with the Cleveland Clinic, I know scientists became writers and writers became aware of the technical details of how narrative and expression can transform the medical field. Our goal as educators is to nurture the whole student.”      
       As a result of the initiative MHS students Julianna Longano  “The Withdrawal Baby” and Sarah Teckmyer “The Last Two Weeks”  each were selected as winners from a pool of 1,700 submissions by a  panel of Cleveland Clinic specialists. Their work was honored at an awards ceremony and gallery opening at the Cleveland Clinic Global Center for Health Innovation in February.    
Photo: MHS teacher Kari Beery and student Julianna Longano celebrate eXpressions at the Cleveland Clinic Global Center for Health Innovation.

     “Whether it’s the study of classical and fine art or teaching and learning with art innovation using coding, robots and computers to create art, our inter-disciplinary curriculums are giving our students an ingrained lesson on how to problem solve and collaborate. Those are the skills they need to succeed,” Dr. Kelly said.      
       From the architectural design of dollhouses utilizing virtual reality in the sixth grade to the exploration by eighth-graders to paint by light, the influence of art across the curriculum is embedded in robust learning across the district.


PHOTO:  Sixth-graders used Auto Desk Inventor and 3-D Printing to construct dollhouses and furniture that were later donated to Head Start/Providence House.    
       It is that outside-of-the-box thinking which led district leaders and students to explore the possibility of a STEAM2M bus – a mobile classroom equipped to teach students and the greater community about Mayfield’s  initiatives and experiments using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Medicine.    
      The concept was unveiled at the 2018 Green Tie Gala hosted by the Wildcat Community Foundation. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, six teams of students have designed their concept for the mobile learning space.    
      “The student teams will present their designs just like any vendor or designer would present a competitive bid,” Dr. Kelly said. “A component of the design requires the integration of art in the technology of the mobile classroom. It’s an opportunity for us to partner with our students to gather their expertise to help advance the Mayfield Vision.”        
      With imagination, the possibilities are endless.    In April, hundreds of community members witnessed first-hand the enormous talent of our art students and teachers during the annual art show exhibit in the Atrium of Hillcrest Hospital. More than 400 pieces of original art were on display for two weeks showcasing the skill and craft of Mayfield’s art education program.    
      “Yes, art is everywhere,” Dr. Kelly said. “But standing in front of our students’ work in the atrium of Hillcrest surrounded by hundreds of people absorbed by it shows the awesome influence and impact art has on all of us. It is the common denominator.”  

PHOTO: MHS senior Chloey DiBartolo proudly showcases her drawing, “Friends Forever” during the annual art show at Hillcrest Hospital.    

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