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This playlist reflects action research for the graduate course ED599, Culminating Project, at Arcadia University, spring 2015. The music highlights the use of lively arts of music, art, poetry, storytelling, visual arts, and movement offering an integrative approach to educating children. In using best practices in education that support the arts, this pedagogy enables us to find new ways to reflect on how we teach, learn, and live.

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The lively arts provide ample methodologies to engage with students in profound ways, and to have the students express their learning through various artistic forms. This manner of teaching builds to the positive environment of the classroom setting, increases cooperation among students, and provides ways in which students draw on each other through peer mentoring and influence. The use of the lively arts enables teachers to share and connect with students in ways that strengthen teacher-student relationships. As students write consistently when given time and space, the joy and love of language is created. I witnessed students finding inspiration from within the classroom walls. Students used the word wall, the class decorations, class projects that were displayed all to find resources and inspiration to write. The theory of creative representation emphasizes the significance of giving opportunities to young children to approach real objects, people, and places in enhancing their thinking in and about art. In addition the window of opportunity where young children have the cognitive capacity to learn specific skills such as music, art, and language, leads to the notion that to become literate in visual arts, increase the ability to produce and perceive art. In presenting poetry to children teachers do not aim to enforce the technical terms and analysis of poetry but rather the purpose in engaging children with poetry is to encourage their enjoyment of language and literature. Poetry can enhance learning experiences related to any subject at all levels of education.
I conducted my action research in multiple first grade class rooms at James Logan School, John Webster School, and Universal Creighton Charter School in the Philadelphia School District. As the project progressed I extended my research to work with students with special needs, and one third grade class. In addition I used this project as an opportunity to openly discuss race, culture, and ethnicity with my three young daughters. As a part of my research my daughters have joined me in creating art, painting, dancing, writing original poetry, and conducting music reviews. I explored the importance of understanding a child’s love language in order to communicate better as a parent. I wrote countless poems as I explored the creative process of writing poetry along with my students. I found value in writing consistently over time, and finding my voice in celebrating African American culture through the arts!