We gathered on a Sunday a few weeks ago with some friends and their friends. There was this teacher-thread throughout the group. One was another primary grade teacher at an arts focus elementary school in another area of the state.
Arts LINC, etc. came up in the conversation (imagine that!) and the teacher from afar was excited to tell me that each week they give their seven and eight-year-olds a prompt and related instruction with the end 'assignment' to write a five paragraph essay. They are given time each day and have until Friday to finish it. However, if they are finished early, say Wednesday or so, they can do art that is related. The kids that take all week to write don't have time to do art (my comment: don't get to).
The arts program there includes a focus on an artist and composer of the month, a two-year cycle (so the kid will get same artists/composers in K, 2, 4) and the time designated for that is Friday afternoon. They also have a “club time” one afternoon a week with things like guitar club. I’m guessing that this is a program example that plays out in some other schools across the country.
It is becoming clearer each day that I am involved in Arts LINC that we ARE about INTEGRATION and not about ENHANCEMENT. I started to explain the difference to her, but then decided to save that for another situation. At least her students were getting something from a teacher that was enthusiastic and committed to including the arts.
I have always so off-handedly given an example from my own childhood as a differences to the philosophy, strategy and research of Arts LINC. (The example I use: "You may write about your summer vacation and if you have time, you can illustrate it.") I know now that an example like that is still real. So....the next article we write should be titled, "Not Just Friday Afternoon".