El Puente’s Integrated Arts Projects (IAPs) are in-school and out-of- school arts-based projects that engage students in a dynamic, in-depth learning process that creates integrated academic experiences around a central theme, vision, or community issue. The IAP model is facilitated by a Design Team comprised of school administrators, academic facilitators and students, along with El Puente teaching artists/arts administrators & members of community/cultural organizations. Together, they develop a central theme from which arts/academic faculty and El Puente teaching artists develop integrated lesson plans focused on mastery through sequentially developed skill-building activities, 1-on-1 mentoring and community-driven projects that are aligned with New York State and City learning standards for the arts. A major goal of the IAP is to extend learning beyond the traditional curriculum & into students’ home & community lives. This is achieved primarily through the integration of culturally relevant arts instruction with a unit of the existing academic curriculum. Through Hablamos Arte we have expanded our model of arts integration to support ELL students through a focus on language acquisition skills, cultural identity and community development.
In the 2014-2015 school year, El Puente’s Hablamos Arte Integrated Arts Project, partnered El Puente teaching artists Sylmarie Santos-Santori, Erin Fritts, and BombaYo with ELA teachers Mr. Warren, Ms. Atkins, Mr. Whitaker and Bilingual and ESL teachers Mr. Moran, Ms. Brito, Mr. Abergas, and Ms. Kao in projects integrating Theatre, Visual Art, and Bomba (Afro-Puerto Rican Drumming, Dance & Song) into English Language Arts, Social Studies, and English as a Second Language curriculum. Students learned the foundations of each arts discipline while exploring academic areas in a deep and hands-on manner. For the final academic unit of the school year, “The Centennial,” which commemorated the 100th anniversary of MS 50 classes explored the history of Williamsburg over the past 100 years and their own role in that history. As final projects, students wrote and performed original plays, created historical fiction graphic novels, painted a mural in the courtyard of the school, and learned the three elements of Bomba: drumming, dance, and song. Special emphasis in all projects was placed on language learning with ELL students of all levels.
El Puente’s Integrated Arts Project is funded by the NYS Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.