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Artful Learning



A school improvement model that stimulates and deepens academic learning through the Arts.

Artful Learning® is a transformational school improvement model that empowers educators to use the arts and the artistic process to awaken and sustain the love of learning for all students. Artful Learning is a K-12 comprehensive school improvement model specially designed to engage students at a deeper level of inquiry and understanding than can be achieved with standard educational approaches. By providing educators with a unique framework to present academic content, Artful Learning links the arts and the artistic process to the daily classroom learning experience. Artful Learning employs an interdisciplinary approach that is anchored by a central Concept while posing a Significant Question that allow educators to teach a broad spectrum of rigorous academic content. Studying through the lens of the arts generates a measurably deeper level of comprehension and retention in students.

The Artful Learning interdisciplinary approach is designed to help students develop the capabilities that educators, parents and business leaders desire: • analytical thinking across disciplines • collaborative skills • objective judgment • higher academic achievement • a commitment to excellence • technological competence • productive citizens and workers • appreciation for diversity • global perspective • adaptable learners • creative and innovative solution-driven characteristics

Advantages of the Artful Learning Model Uses the arts and the artistic process to increase student engagement and improve academic achievement Provides a framework for exploring and delivering curriculum that revitalizes teaching, learning and leadership Facilitates a three-year professional development and training series for teachers and the school leadership team Adaptable to any educational system for seamless integration to align with the school improvement plan


Allows educators to develop dierentiated instruction that meets the needs of all learners

Research Supported Schools effectively implementing Artful Learning demonstrate a pattern of increased growth in state achievement measures, school level data relative to their districts and an increase in student motivation to learn. Educators endorse the Artful Learning professional development as effective with measurably improved outcomes in their students. Artful Learning has proven to be a highly successful education model across demographics from the impoverished to the affluent - closing the achievement gap and increasing student engagement toward learning.

The Leonard Bernstein Center mission is to strengthen education on a global level by preparing educators to use the arts and the artistic process to reinforce teaching and learning across all academic subjects. Conductor, composer and educator Leonard Bernstein believed that the process of experiencing the arts could provide a fundamental way to instill a lifelong love of learning in children. Through intensive collaboration and field research with leading educators, researchers and practitioners Artful Learning has developed Bernstein’s vision into a powerful and transformative education model.

Professional Development Artful Learning provides educators and administrators with extensive, research-proven professional development on how to utilize the methodology over a three-year implementation process. Leonard Bernstein Center Trainers help schools build a sustainable and thriving learning community.

Artful Learning, Inc. Leonard Bernstein Center 121 West 27th Street Suite 1104 New York, NY 10001 212.315.0640

Artful Learning



A Framework for Learning Artful Learning uses a distinctive four-phase sequence for curriculum planning, delivery and assessment as well as identified strategies for school improvement. The framework may be applied to any existing curricula by incorporating the arts and the artistic process across all academic disciplines.


Artful Learning Sequence

Uses a Masterwork linked with a Concept and Significant Question as catalysts to engage students

Experience | Inquire | Create | Reflect

inquire Leads students through research and inquiry-based activities to new hypotheses

create Brings students' original ideas to product and project-based outcomes ™

reflect Guides students through documenting and interpreting their understanding

Artful Learning Sequence • How It Works

1 Social Studies Language Arts Mathematics Science Geography Reading English Language Learners Special Needs Learners Technology School-Site Initiatives District & State Mandates Music Visual Arts Theatre Dance Multiple Intelligences Visual Auditory Kinesthetic


2 All learning content, modalities and initiatives are reviewed by teachers. Interdisciplinary connections are made between all subjects of focus. A rigorous Unit of Study is developed to follow the Artful Learning Sequence.



significant question concept

3 reflect

interdisciplinary academic content masterwork

original creation

Outcome: Students actively investigate their learning through this concept-based, interdisciplinary Unit of Study utilizing the Arts and the artistic process to express their understanding of all content. Benefits: Increased student engagement • Students display understanding at a higher cognitive level through metaphorical thinking • Improved student academic performance • Transformed school culture & community


Concept : Relationships

Artful Learning



Unit of Study Sample experience Students experience and respond to a Masterwork through sight, sound and movement. Ideas, emotions and understandings are awakened by the Masterwork, which serves as a catalyst for immediate engagement. Students leave the Masterwork phase curious and wanting to know more.

Significant Question : How does independence and interdependence affect relationships?

What is a Concept? An organizing idea or mental construct that is timeless and universal - powerfully linking various topics while crossing multiple disciplines of study.

What is a Significant Question? An overarching question that frames the inquiry by challenging assumptions. This point of reference generates researchable investigations to produce diverse answers.

What is a Masterwork? Any human achievement that has exerted influence over time and regarded to be the best example of the genre. It embodies a significant innovation, theory or insight and has the intrinsic power to engage across disciplines and cultures.

Masterwork : Declaration of Independence - John Trumbull • 1817

inquire Students begin a substantive investigation triggered by questions raised in the Masterwork experience. A Concept is identified. A Significant Question guides the inquiry and students employ a variety of research techniques utilizing the interdisciplinary content to learn more. As students inquire, new understandings develop and connections are made.

Subject Areas of Focus Teachers design concept-based Units of Study that incorporate interdisciplinary subjects to explore the Concept and Significant Question from a variety of entry points. Rigorous study for both content and artistic fluency are assessed. This unit contains the following academic areas of emphasis. • Social Studies • Geography • Language Arts •  Mathematics • Science

Students pictured are using music, visual arts, dance and theatre Arts-Based Skills and Strategies with the Subject Areas of Focus through Inquiry Centers to represent and convey understanding of their learning.

• Music • Theatre • Visual Arts

create Students design and complete an Original Creation - a tangible, artistic manifestation that demonstrates their understanding of this new knowledge. Thinking moves from divergent to convergent as students’ focus on what is best to represent the academic content learned. They construct a prototype and create the final product - continually evaluating and revising until the Original Creation is ready for presentation.

Independence and Relationships

Students worked as individuals to create a singular mosaic tile through the visual arts to illustrate Independence and Relationships. The entire class worked together to create a tapestry from the individual tiles to realize their understanding of Interdependence and Relationships.

What is an Original Creation?

Original Creations can be realized through traditional or nontraditional arts media, technology and a myriad of other forms. Subject Areas of Focus can be transformed through sounds, materials, words or movements to communicate a point of view.

A bold or innovative product created by the student to express understanding of the Concept and Significant Question in a new or distinctive way. The act of creating challenges students to use higher order thinking requiring the ability to apply and synthesize the knowledge they have learned.

Interdependence and Relationships

reflect Students cogitate on their journey through the Unit of Study and ask Deepening Questions about what has been learned. They document this process through detailed narratives, maps and metaphors. Students look ahead and consider how they can use what they have learned in practical application, identify the valuable skills acquired and what their next steps will be.


Artful Learning Promo  

Artful Learning Promo