The CPS Department of Arts Education defines arts integration as an educational approach in which an artistic discipline (or disciplines) and another academic subject (or subjects) are combined to teach and learn content knowledge and skills.

As a department, we are committed to providing quality arts integration resources to all CPS stakeholders, so that they can work together and individually to develop strong integration practices at their schools and reap the immense benefits of those practices.

The resources below are designed to help arts teachers, non-arts teachers, and administrators understand and implement effective arts integration practices in their schools. If you have questions about arts-integrated instruction or about any of the documents provided here, please contact cpsarts@cps.edu or (773) 553-2170.

Arts Integration Overview Documents

Arts Integration Overview
Our definition of arts integration, proven benefits, and supporting research.

Moving Toward Authentic Arts Integration 
A chart illustrating the progression toward authentic arts integration from both an arts and a non-arts instructional perspective.

Schoolwide Conditions for Quality Arts Integration
Four domains for coordinated efforts by administrators, teachers, students, community members, partners, and families to ensure that arts integration flourishes in a school.

Schoolwide Conditions for Quality Arts Integration: Reflection
Use this document to reflect on how your own school is currently doing in each domain, and brainstorm next steps and resources for areas that need improvement.

Arts Integration Lesson and Unit Planning Tools

Arts Integration “Wish List”
A document for arts educators to distribute to colleagues to determine who is interested in collaborating on arts-integrated lessons, units, and/or events.

Arts Integrated Unit Options
A worksheet for collaborating educators to reflect on the pros, cons, and logistics of three types of arts-integrated units.

Arts Integrated Unit Planner
A comprehensive planning document for collaborating educators to plan an integrated unit.

Arts Integrated Unit Reflection
Collaborating educators can use this document to reflect on the success of an integrated unit and the collaboration itself.

Standards Crosswalks

Comparisons of the eleven anchor standards of the Illinois Arts Learning Standards and the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Math, highlighting any similarities in the types of habits, skills, and abilities that are described in each. These crosswalks may be useful to teachers who are co-planning integrated units.

Illinois Arts Learning Standards and Common Core-ELA Crosswalk

Illinois Arts Learning Standards and Common Core-Math Crosswalk

Free Arts-Integrated Activities, Lessons, Videos, Printables, and Units

Art & Science: A Curriculum for Educators
Selections from a Getty Museum curriculum for K–12 visual arts and science educators, which mines the Getty collection to explore the intersections of the visual arts with scientific disciplines. The curriculum was developed by Getty educators with museum conservators, curators, and scientists and a teacher advisory group. 

ARTSEDGE: Arts Integration Collection from the Kennedy Center
A wide-ranging collection on arts integration drawing from more than a decade of the Kennedy Center’s efforts to clarify arts integration principles and implement best practices. Contains documents on the what and why of arts integration, a database of K-12 lesson plans, and professional learning resources.

Education Closet: Arts Integration Library
Free K–12 arts integration and STEAM lessons, videos, and printables for educators. Education Closet also offers a paid, comprehensive online K–12 arts integration and STEAM curriculum supplement, IntegratED.

Edutopia: Middle School Lesson Plans and Resources for Arts Integration
Educators from Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Maryland share arts-integrated lessons and resources (including templates, professional learning presentations, and more) for grades 6–8.

Exploratorium: The Science of Music
The Exploratorium in San Francisco created this resource for students to explore the science of music through online exhibits, movies, and questions. 

Getty Museum: Connecting Poetry and Art
Integrating language arts and visual arts, these resources help K–12 students pen poems, create visual poetry, and compare and contrast similar themes across visual art and verse.

Harvard Project Zero: Artful Thinking
The Artful Thinking program, developed by Harvard Project Zero in collaboration with the Traverse City, Michigan Area Public Schools (TCAPS), aimed at developing a model approach for integrating art into regular classroom instruction. The program’s website contains resources to help teachers regularly use works of visual art and music in their curriculum to strengthen student thinking and learning.

Incredible Art Department: Visual Arts-Integrated Lessons
Visual arts-integrated lessons for grades preK–12 created by visual arts educators. Lessons are categorized by discipline and can be used in music, drama, dance, theatre, science, social science/history, math, ELA, physical education, and technology classrooms.

NEA: Arts Across the Curriculum
Lesson plans and activities for educators in grades K-12 integrating music and visual arts with social studies, math, and science.

Open Educational Resource (OER) Commons: Arts Integration Collection
A searchable database cataloguing many open-source arts integration lessons, units, and activities on the web, including resources from ArtsEDGE, UNESCO, Getty Museum, and more.

PBS Learning Media: Math + Arts
A collection of PreK–9 lesson plans that use dance, drama, music, and visual arts to teach math concepts.

Phil Tulga: Music Integration Activities
Professional musician and music educator Phil Tulga offers these free resources linking music to language arts, math, and science.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Educator Resources
SFMOMA offers an array of educational resources for teachers to use in arts and non-arts classrooms, including discussion questions for artworks, lesson plans, graphic organizers and worksheets, artist interviews, animations, and more.

Books on Arts-Integration

Bogard, J., & Donovan, L. (2013). Strategies to Integrate the Arts in Language Arts. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
Practical arts-based strategies for classroom teachers to use in teaching language arts content. Overview information and model lessons are provided for each strategy and ideas are provided for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. 

Bogard, J., & Creegan-Quinquils, M. (2013). Strategies to Integrate the Arts in Social Studies. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
Practical arts-based strategies for classroom teachers to use in teaching social science content. Overview information and model lessons are provided for each strategy and ideas are provided for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. 

Dacey, L., & Donovan, L. (2013) Strategies to Integrate the Arts in Mathematics. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.
Practical arts-based strategies for classroom teachers to use in teaching mathematics content. Overview information and model lessons are provided for each strategy and ideas are provided for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. 

Diaz, G., & McKenna, M. B. (2017). Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
This resource examines professional learning approaches from across the United States to help schools integrate the arts fully into K–12 curriculum. 

Donahue, D. M. & Stuart, J. (2010). Artful Teaching: Integrating the Arts for Understanding Across the Curriculum, K–8. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Detailed explanations of how arts integration across the K–8 curriculum contributes to student learning, accompanied by rich examples of public school teachers integrating visual arts, music, drama, and dance with subject matter, including English, social studies, science, and mathematics.

Poey, V., Weber, N., Diaz, G., & Smiley, S. (2013). Strategies to Integrate the Arts in Science. Huntington, CA: Shell Education.
Practical arts-based strategies for classroom teachers to use in teaching science content. Overview information and model lessons are provided for each strategy and ideas are provided for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. 

Riley, Susan L. (2012) Shake the Sketch: An Arts Integration Workbook. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
A workbook designed for classroom teachers, administrators, arts educators, and community members looking to foster and support 21st-century learning skills that engage and empower students. Learn what arts integration is, how it’s revolutionizing education, and how to successfully implement it in your classroom, school or district.