Energize Your Program:
Collaborating Across the Curriculum

energize your program

While reading, writing, and mathematics are tools for expressing and understanding ideas and information, curricular areas such as art, music, health, and physical education inspire students to be active and creative. From books and blogs to GPS and video projects, this session stresses practical strategies for collaborating with teachers across the curriculum to address standards, as well as promote a passion for learning.


What do you do for fun? Do you get up on Saturday morning and plan a day of math and social studies? Or, are you more likely to listen to music, take a walk, or work on a home improvement project? Why not extend those "real world" times to the school environment by turning the school library media center into a place that brings learning alive for students.

Whether it's a book that stimulates a great idea for a skit and a video or a discussion with the media specialist that helps a student brainstorm for an inquiry project, the school library provides the bridge between the curriculum and the rest of the world. Let's make school engaging through authentic, meaningful activities. This means turning the library into an exciting learning laboratory filled with resources, tools, spaces, and places for sharing. In the same way, the art teacher, music teacher, physical education teacher, applied and technology arts teacher, and other special area educators can all play a role in bringing learning alive for children and young adults.

Take Me Home Country RoadsEnergizing your program means creating synergy. This can be accomplished by combining resources and designing exciting, inquiry-rich environments. For example, when you combine the picture book Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver (Illustration by Christopher Canyon) with the audio CD you get a new experience. Suddenly the old song become a new way of thinking about reunions. What song would you write about a reunion? What would the picture book look like?

ArtsEdge from Marcopolo is a great place to get started looking for ideas for art, music, movement, and related areas.

This page will explore ideas in the following four areas:

Visual Arts

art in the librarySchool library media specialists, technology coordinators, and classroom teachers can work together to design environments to release the artistic energy of children.

Bring art into your center. Develop ongoing, art-based activities. Display student work in showcases, bulletin boards, and easels.

Invite the art teachers to collaborate on ways to make your center visually rich.

Inspiration and Exploration

knittingTools of the Artist

Explore ways to enhance your center through artistic connections. Consider starting a teen knitting club. Read Teen Knitting Club: Chill Out and Knit by Wenger, Abrams, and Lasher.

Connections: Art+

Consider ways to connect the arts across the curriculum. Build books, videos, pieces of artwork, and tools of art into center displays and activity areas.

Art + All Subjects. Go to Rockwell's America: Celebrating the Art of Norman Rockwell at the Children's Museum. Visit art museums or create your own center art exhibit areas. Use online resources to help facilitate activities. Many museums have online activities such as polls and surveys, online art tools, and lesson plan ideas.

jan brettArt + Artists. Go to Jan Brett. Design learning centers focusing on the illustrations in books by Jan Brett or other picture book authors. Use the resources and videos such as Honey... Honey... Lion. Use these resources to provide art project ideas such as building a safari mural in your library!

Art + English. Go to Saint George and the Dragon from the National Gallery of Art . Use the website with the book Caldecott winning book adapted by Margaret Hodges, Trina Schart Hyman titled Saint George and the Dragon. Also, connect with the Dragonology books by Ernest Drake. Read and listen to The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy. Also, connect to monster books and websites such as National Geographic's The Search for Monsters. Consider the development of learning centers with laptops, pathfinders, books, and other resources.

Art + Nonfiction Reading. Go to Be An Architect. Explore ways to provide art-rich, easy-to-read texts that will appeal to students with an interest in art. Use these materials for simple reading comprehension and nonfiction reading activities.

Art + Picture Book Reading. Read Rembrandt's Hat by Susan Blackaby. Ask students to talk about the book. What happened to Rembrandt's hat? Make your own hat. Examine the hats worn by Rembrandt in his painting. What hat would you choose to represent yourself?

Art + Writing + Digital Camera. Go to Landscape Tutorial. Using this tutorial as an example, create your own step-by-step instruction or "photo tutorial."

Art + Ancient Civilizations. Go to Eternal Egypt. Explore ways to connect the art and visual writing of ancient civilizations with history classes.

Art + History. Go to Dorothea Lange. Consider ways to incorporate the use of primary sources such as historical photographs. Tie information literacy standards related to evaluation and interpretation of visual, primary resources to these activities.

Art + Government. Go to A New Deal for the Arts from the National Archives. Connect the art of the Great Depression with the political situation and government programs such as the New Deal.

Art + African Geography. Go to Africa & the Art of a Continent. Connect the art of particular regions with the history and culture.

Art + North American Geography. Go to North American Landscapes. Post maps in your center and highlight landscape art from each area.

Art + Math & Science. Go to Symmetry and Patterns in Textiles and Symmetry in the World. Display art and natural objects that can be connected to geometry and other aspects of math and science.

Art + Technology. Use the tools of technology to promote the creation of art including scanners, digital cameras, and laptops.

Other Resources:

art studentsEnergize!
Explore the resources provided.
Brainstorm ways that you can use technology tools to connect your subject area with the visual arts.
Add your idea to the Workshop Blog!

Performing Arts

singFrom music to theatre, the performing arts are attractive to many of our students. Whether it's holding a poetry slam in the library or building a music area in your center with an electronic music keyboard, bring the center alive through the performing arts. Turn your school library media center into a learning laboratory where students can explore all aspects of performance art. Provide a performance area including costumes, puppets, and other resources to encourage exploration and creation.

Consider playing a variety of background music in your center and encourage students to meet and share their ideas about performance art in your center.

Inspiration and Exploration

Many books, websites, and other resources can encourage students to learn about music. It's our responsibility to expose students to a wide variety of experiences.

Tools for Artists

Connections: Performing Arts +

Music + Reading. Highlight books with audio CDs such as the books by John Denver and John Lithgow.

Arts + All Subjects. Yo-yo Ma started the Silk Road Project to encourage the exploration of different cultures and their music. Explore artists of different genres. Start your own "Silk Road Project" to explore the link between cultures and music.

Music + Listening and Reading Comprehension Skills. Consider ways to use music as part of practice related to listening and reading skills.

Music + History. Music is a part of our culture and our history. Whether students are reading historical fiction books or exploring a particular time period, consider ways to incorporate music. If students are reading Buddy, Not Buddy, then incorporate jazz. If it's Crispen, then get out music from the Middle Ages. Civil War era music is a great way to get students "into the time period" of Soldier's Heart. The book doesn't need to have a music focus for music to play a part! Use the Amazon sampling or other online sampling services for quick examples.

Music + Geography + World Cultures. Listen to music of the Andes while reading books set in the that area of the world such as South America and Secret of the Andes or Ireland and Nory Ryan's Song.

Music + Sociology. Explore the connection between music and culture. Collect oral histories related to music. What do your parents remember about music of their generation?

Theatre + English. Use the resources of your library to share idea for Reader's Theatre, plays, skits, and poetry readings. Get students involved with performances. Ask students to develop "cue sheets" for their children's play!

Other Resources:


music studentsEnergize!
Explore the resources provided.
Brainstorm ways that you can use technology tools to connect your subject area with the performing arts.
Add your idea to the Workshop Blog!

Health and Physical Fitness

Health and physical fitness can literally energize your center. Whether it's hosting the morning yoga club or coordinating the safety fair, consider ways to get physically active students into your center and promote healthy living.

Inspiration and Exploration

Through biographies of inspirational figures and stories of physical fitness there are many opportunities for students to explore a healthy lifestyle.

Tools for Health and Fitness

Connections: Health and Physical Fitness

Health, Sports + Science + Reading

Sports + Science

Health + Communication

Ask student to conduct interviews and share information about topics of their choice such as teen vegetarianism.


Sports + Communication

Get students involved with blogging.

Other Resources:

physical education studentsEnergize!
Explore the resources provided.
Brainstorm ways that you can use technology tools to connect your subject area with health and physical education.
Add your idea to the Workshop Blog!

Applied Arts & Technologies

The applied arts are about thinking, problem solving, collaborating, exploring, creating, and tinkering with ideas. How are you encouraging students to be creative and critical thinkers?

Inspiration and Exploration

Connections: Applied Arts +

Applied Art + Subjects. Get out your GPS devices and explore the community. Go to Global Positioning of History for ideas.

Applied Art + History. Go to Museum of Costume - Costume Games.

Applied arts studentEnergize!
Explore the resources provided.
Brainstorm ways that you can use technology tools to connect your subject area with the applied arts and technologies.
Add your idea to the Workshop Blog!


artistThink different!

Look for ways to get ALL children, young adults, and teachers involved with the exciting things happening from the art and music classroom to the school library media program.

Developed by Annette Lamb, 11/05. Updated 4/06.