Overview: The Art of Curriculum & Instruction

SmART Schools Prototype Arts-Integrated Units

Arts-integrated schools make clear that the arts are not just affective and expressive. They are deeply cognitive. They develop essential tools of thinking: pattern recognition & development; qualitative judgment; symbolic, metaphoric, and allegorical representation. These same thinking tools are used in science, philosophy, math, and history.

(Nick Rabkin and Robin Redmond, “Arts Education: Not All is Created Equal.”)


SmART Schools is dedicated to creating innovative schools and engaging, arts-integrated classrooms where students of all backgrounds are inspired to meet high standards of performance across all core academic subjects including the arts, ELA, history, math, science, and technology.

To that end, SmART Schools engages participating teachers in a scaffolded three-step process to improve their instructional practice:

1. Offering state-of-the art professional development. Intensive professional development is provided by the SmART Schools roster of highly qualified master teaching artists who create and conduct original and innovative arts-integrated events tailored to the goals set collaboratively with participating schools.

2. Modeling dynamic and engaging instruction. Following professional development our master teachers artists work with teachers and students in their classrooms to facilitate arts and arts-integrated instruction utilizing SmART Schools prototype curriculum units.

3. Building teacher capacity within the schools. With ongoing support from SmART Schools staff and master teaching artists, participating schools build their instructional capacity and cultivate their own innovative interdisciplinary teams. Made up of arts specialists and classroom teachers across grade levels, these teams come together on a regular basis during the school day to design and implement arts-integrated curriculum, instruction, and performance assessments, aligned with state and local standards across all subjects.

We invite you to explore our curriculum and instruction pages showcasing a variety of our interdisciplinary arts-integrated units.


(Note: These units utilize a “planning backwards” approach organized around the Understanding by Design model developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.)

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