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The Arts in Fifth Grade

The fifth grade is a good time to make art museums, art exhibitions, and musical performances a regular part of the curriculum. And discussions on the arts should be incorporated into all areas of study. For example, in social studies, much can be learned about American history from an examination of the nation's art, music, and literature in different eras. One way fifth grade teachers integrate the arts into the curriculum is by having the children read biographies of musicians, dancers, and painters as part of their language arts work; children can also read the lyrics of both classical and contemporary songs. Another way children gain enhanced awareness of the arts is by putting on plays or concerts for which they design and paint sets and write scripts and music. In social studies, the arts are introduced as cultural aspects of life -- for example, various art forms can be related to their regions of origin. Even science touches the arts when topics such as sound and color appear in the science curriculum.

Teachers and parents should encourage fifth grade children to watch performance programs on public television; these broadcasts can do a great deal to enrich children's knowledge and appreciation of a wide range of music and drama. So can visits to rehearsals of high school orchestras and dance and theater groups. Even opera can

be quite accessible and enjoyable to a child, if care is taken to tell the child what to expect and how to interpret what he or she views.

Reprinted with permission from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 5th Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers

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