3 Easy Ways to Add More Arts and Culture to Your Classroom

add more arts and culture


I know what you’re thinking, “I teach in an art room. How much more artistic or cultural can you get?” I am here to tell you…A LOT! Arts integration is not just for math or reading teachers, and culture is not just for social studies teachers.

Check out these three simple ways to boost the fine arts and cultural quotient in your art room.

Play music from the culture you are studying.

Making African masks? Bring in some rhythms from your region of study. Creating aboriginal dot paintings? Delight your students with the sounds of the didgeridoo! Don’t just make it background music. Have a discussion, or even better, ask your students to write about how the music reflects the art of the culture.

Make your cultural lessons more immersive experiences by adding foods, dances, folktales, and costumes.

Bring in a speaker or a guest artist as a motivational activity. Set up stations around your room to give your students a fuller picture of the culture their art reflects. Ask them to choose ideas from the experience to include in their art.

Add a touch of drama with tableau techniques.

Tableau means “frozen picture,” and that is exactly what students do: use their bodies and expressions to create a frozen scene that reflects a big idea. Learning about folk art? Have groups create a tableau of common folk art themes. Want to dig deeper into the lives of artists? Make scenes depicting pivotal moments in their biographies. Document the whole process and display tableau photos with the art. For more information on the tableau strategy, check out this handy guide over at

How do you incorporate other arts disciplines into your teaching?

What’s the most creative way you’ve helped bring another culture alive for students?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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