Using Drawing with an American Urban 6th Grade Class to Enhance Learning of an Interdisciplinary Social Studies Curriculum

By Karen Kakas.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

According to the Ohio Academic Content Standards for Social Studies “...effective social studies necessitates an interdisciplinary approach because inquiry into any real-world matter related to citizenship is holistic and multidisciplinary in nature.” As a university professor of students who will become art teachers, one of my goals is that they learn to make holistic learning connections between the visual arts and other school subjects. This paper will describe an in-depth research project in which I collaborated with a 6th grade teacher of youngsters in a low income, primarily nonwhite, urban neighborhood. Drawing and other hands-on activities were used to enhance learning of the teacher’s interdisciplinary social studies curriculum. Outcomes of these learning activities and recommendations for thematic approaches to cross-curriculuar learning are reported.

Keywords: Drawing, Interdisciplinary Social Studies Curriculum, American Urban Youth, 6th Grade Students, Research Collaboration with School Teachers

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 12, pp.75-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.181MB).

Dr. Karen Kakas

Associate Professor, Division of Art Education, School of Art, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA

With a Ph.D. in Art Education and MFA in Painting, I have served as Chair of the Division of Art Education (not currently) and faculty member in the art education program in the School of Art at Bowling Green State University where undergraduates obtain preK through grade 12 licensure. My earlier research interests focused on children with special needs and on exploring ways to teach youngsters about art objects in an “art worlds” context. Since 2003, my primary interest has been on urban high need young people, developing programs and projects (partially grant-funded) to engage my students with youngsters at urban school sites and in after school programs. Influenced by Waldorf Education, I collaborated with a 6th grade teacher on art-related projects that connected to other subject disciplines. I have become a “community arts” advocate for high need neighborhoods and an advocate for increased holistic learning in which the arts blend thematically with other disciplines. My research always includes teaching involvement in classrooms, putting theory into practice.


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