Interdisciplinary arts projects bring together artists from various disciplines and media to explore big ideas, challenge perceptions, discover new meaning and understanding of a topic all within the context of time and place, and relationships to events and to each other.
They begin with a Big Idea or question that inspires the artists, teachers, and students to build stories, songs, spoken word and dance that are then reflected in the visual art…or vice versa! These inquiry-based arts experiences lead to varied rich topics and engage students in a meaningful group creation resulting in remarkable visual art pieces, spoken word, song and musical compositions, and dance.
An inspiration for Big Ideas can come from stories, songs, poetry, proverbs and rhymes, great works of art, film and theatre, the spiritual and natural world, historical and current events, our community and world leaders. They are also integrated through cross-curricular subjects such as literacy and numeracy, geography, sciences, health and wellbeing, and character development. Students express their learning and creativity through various activities such as: songwriting and composition of sound scores, spoken word, and dance, together with beautiful works of art including murals, sculpture, installation, illustration, puppetry and mixed media. Each project leaves a legacy of learning along with a heightened awareness of the importance of the arts in our lives.
STEM to STEAM & Wellbeing
We are in an age of unprecedented rapid change and challenges, where traditional barriers are disappearing between disciplines, academia and industry, as well as between nations. The answers to tomorrow’s challenges cannot be found within one defined set of subjects or skill sets. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as artists and educators to provide our young people with the tools and opportunities to develop the myriad of skills, knowledge areas and just as importantly with the resiliency they’ll need to thrive in tomorrow’s world as well as to support and encourage them to explore and experiment with ideas, concepts and talent as they pursue the paths that interest them and bring them joy throughout their life-time.
We believe that Big Idea learning opportunities and STEAM – the integration of the Arts into STEM including the arts from oral cultural traditions where learning is passed on from generation to generation communally through story, song, dance or theatre, also provides a wider and more diverse context for all learning.
The following are a few examples of Big Ideas with MITS programs that link to various strands of the Curriculum that include STEM, Social Studies, Geography, History, Healthy Living and Wellbeing including Character Development and Social Justice topics that can be used to:
- Introduce a unit of study
- Provide a wider context for understanding concepts and transferring learning to other topics and experiences
- Serve as inspiration for interdisciplinary creative arts project incorporating song writing, spoken word, dance and visual art for students to explore and express their learning
We would be delighted to discuss how we can assist you in bringing your Big Ideas and topics to your classroom. If you are looking for ideas – we invite you to visit SUCCESS STORIES for examples of past interdisciplinary projects.
BIG Idea – Identity
In the introduction to Oral and Written Narratives and Cultural Diversity: Interdisciplinary Approaches editors Francisco Cota Fagundes and Irene Maria F. Blayer state that storytelling is ubiquitous, and identity remains central to our sense of selfhood and community – from family to clan to ethnic group to nation. Storytelling informs the most remote and current oral traditions and the most recent literary and visual narratives. In its myriad manifestations, storytelling is a singularly privileged vehical and tool for the search, construction, negation, and expression of personal as well as collective identity. (Fagunes and Blayer 2007)
Our Stories – with Mariella Bertelli, Rita Cox, Marylyn Peringer, Esther Oshche, Itah Sadu, Dan Yashinsky
Family stories and memories are the primary link to the DNA of our personal identity and the stories that have been passed on from generation to generation in the form of folk tales, legends and myths form our collective identity. MITS master storytellers bring their vast repertoire of stories to illustrate the concept of how our personal and collective stories form our identity as much as the cells that make up our physical selves.
Grades JK to 8 | 45-60 minute performance for up to 150 students or classroom visits
The Circle of Life: Traditional Ojibwa Legends And Stories with Esther Osche
First Nations, Inuit, and Metis cultures have long passed on knowledge from generation to generation through oral traditions, including storytelling. Storytelling is a traditional method used to teach about cultural beliefs, values, customs, rituals, history, practices, relationships, and ways of life.
Ojibwa storyteller and Manitoulin Island resident, Esther Osche shares the history of the Ojibwa with stories about the connections between humans, animals, thunder beings, water and wind spirits in an authentic experience that incorporates drum and song. And for grades 7 to 8, Esther is also available for presentation regarding the history of Aboriginal Treaties and the military alliances between the Ojibwa, French and English, including many current and contemporary Aboriginal issues. Limited Availability.
Grades 3 to 8 | 2 classes/session | maximum 3 sessions/day
Six String Nation with Jowi Taylor
Award winning journalist and radio producer Jowi Taylor invites students and teachers to become citizens of the Six String Nation and witness, through story and images, the creation of the Voyageur, the remarkable guitar crafted from over 60 pieces of Canada’s heritage and history that serves as an allegory to the big question – what makes us a nation?
Grades 4 to 8 | multimedia 45 minute multi-media presentation
Who Am I ? Spoken Word with Sheniz Janmohamed
“My heart lies in Africa/My spirit thrives in Canada/ My soul dreams of India” Sheniz speaks to her multicultural background, performing pieces that highlight the various cultures and traditions that make her who she is while providing an opportunity for students to reflect upon and celebrate their own diverse backgrounds and find strength in diversity. Following the performance, students can take part in a 5-day residency leading to a student showcase where students are given the opportunity to write and recite their own spoken word pieces reflecting on their learning of Identity while learning the art of recitation, gesture and delivery.
Grades 7,8 | spoken word | 45-60 minute performance with up to 150 students and 6-day series with introductory performance plus 4, 75-90 minute sessions per class culminating in student performance
Who Am I ? Dub Poetry with Michael St.George *limited availability
Students are first introduced to Dub Poetry, the contemporary spoken word art form originating in Jamaica with roots in the African oral tradition of the griots that inspires perceptive lyrics reflecting political, social and humanitarian elements and is driven by the captivating cadence of the reggae beat. Students then learn to collectively compose and perform their own dub poetry piece about their knowledge and impressions about Identity.
Grades 7,8 | dub poetry | 6-day series with introductory performance plus 4, 75-90 minute sessions per class culminating in student performance
BIG Idea – Stewardship & Sustainability
The Earth We Share: Storytelling with Dan Yashinsky, Mariella Bertelli, Esther Oshe, Rita Cox, Marylyn Peringer
Storytellers illustrate the concepts of stewardship and sustainability in allegory garnered from family tales, folk tales, parables, legends, and myths from around the world.
Grades K to 8 | 2 classes/session | 45-60 minute performance maximum audience 150, or classroom sessions maximum 2 classes/session
BIG Idea – Living Well
BIG Idea – Our Home & Native Land
BIG Idea – From Whence We Came