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Weaving Inspiration into the Curriculum (New Teachers Column)

Carmen Oliveira

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is the creativity and inspira­tion we can weave into the curriculum to bring deep and meaningful learning experi­ences to our students (and ourselves!). This past week my class enjoyed an art lesson integrated with media, oral communication, and writing expectations. It served as a perfect example of how students become more engaged when our lessons are filled with what inspires us. A friend of mine emailed me a phenomenal video depicting the sheer beauty, simplicity, and breathtaking scenery found in the world. It moved me deeply and I knew I had to somehow share the video with my students in a meaningful way. I decided to use it as the foundation for an art lesson. We have been exploring cool and warm colours, texture, and patterns. We watched the video and had a class discussion using sensory prompts (I see…, I hear…, I feel…, I smell…). The descriptions were profound and all the students were eager to share their thoughts and feelings!

Next, students chose an aspect of nature (ocean, rainforest, sunset, etc.) to create a frame for a sensory poem using warm/cool colours and papers of different textures. Last, using a template as a guide, students created their sensory poems. Students were encouraged to experiment with word choice and powerful images to portray their scene. I cannot begin to describe how excited and proud they were to share their art and poetry with me and each other! At the end of the experience, they asked to watch the video again. I gladly shared it once more and silently thanked my friend for the inspiration that created a beautiful teaching opportunity. was developed to accompany the resource book, The Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning: Practical Ideas and Resources for Beginning Teachers. You can follow individual bloggers, or explore specific categories of the blog that coincide with chapters of the book including

  • Before School Starts;
  • Building Inclusion;
  • Classroom Management;
  • Communication with Parents and Guardians;
  • Diverse Learning Needs;
  • Occasional Teaching;
  • Professional Learning and Growth.

Each blog entry is “tagged” so with one click you can call up any blog entry and see how a specific area from the book is being lived in the classroom with real teachers and students. For more blog posts from Heart and Art contributors, go to