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The Power of the Arts

Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

When I was four years old, my mother introduced me to the music of the Nutcracker Ballet composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Mesmerized by the wonderful music, from that moment on I wanted only to listen to the beautiful music. A few years later, I was taken to a musical play and again I was entranced. My parents knew that I was the artsy child of their four children and I needed a heavy dose of the arts in my life. Dance classes, museum visits, auditions for plays, and countless theater-going experiences turned a shy little girl into someone who loved the stage. Who knew that years later my favorite stage would be my classroom?

I was the teacher who did voices for every character and would search for music to help with climactic moments in the story. Read-Aloud time was my students’ favorite time of day. I got to act for the most gracious of audiences and they were entertained for a few minutes by the teacher who was all math and reading the whole morning long. It was a win-win for both.

The older our students become, the less we bring music, art, and drama into our lessons. According to a recent study, involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Then why is it that Art programs are being taken out of many schools in our nation? Teachers hope that the Arts teachers or someone in the community will take on the cultural enrichment of our students as we are much too busy teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. Is it only the job of the rotation teachers in elementary and the arts teachers in middle in high school to show our students the wonder of music, art, and drama? We worry so much about our students learning what is tested that we forget that we want to have students who are well rounded and ready to take in the world through their own point of view. I challenge you to try to incorporate one of the arts into your lessons at least once a week. You will see your students want to learn with more enthusiasm as they see the world from your cultural point of view and as they develop their own. Write and tell us about how you incorporate art, music, and drama into your everyday lessons.

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This Month:

Use these KLRN Connect clips to add spice to your Fine Arts lessons. Note: You must log-in to view KLRN Connect clips.

(Grades K-2) A Segment of:  New York Up-Close: New York Today  
See how a program called Hope to Cope has used music to help New York City kids deal with the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

(Grades 3-5) A Segment of: Discovering the Performing Arts: Making Music
Professionals in two musicals share their experiences in the theater. Students will literally go behind the scenes to learn about scriptwriting, musical elements, and choreography, as well as every other aspect that goes into creating a successful and entertaining production.

Grades 6-8) A Segment of: Discovering the Arts: Rembrandt: Life and Times
Students discuss the ways in which artists enrich our lives.

(Grades 9-12) A Segment of: Discovering Math Grades 9-12: Algebra and Function Part 2 
In this video segment, students will see how a geometric pattern used for a fashion design increases the number of lines and crossing points in steps,  resulting in a sequence of numbers describing the number of crossing points. The sum of the terms of a sequence is a series.

Try This:

Sound and Stories (K-2)
Students will discover how sound tells stories and induces memories. They will explore, record, and describe sounds from nature and also create a story with sound effects.

Eyes on the Prize (3-5)
Get a jump start on Black History Month with this great lesson where students will investigate and prepare an oral report on a prominent African-American from the period of the Civil Rights Movement. They will evaluate the individual’s impact on Americans of all color and explore the importance of music to the people of the time and to themselves.

For the Love of Publishing (6-8)   
This lesson looks at the passion behind self-published magazines, how creative writing can impact a community and give voice to something that you feel strongly about. Students will work on creating their own publication through brain-storming, research, and basic supplies.

Reviewing Movies (9-12) 
This lesson will help students understand the many elements that go into critiquing movies and also how people can communicate their feelings to others. Students will review movies, learn how to write a review, and share their opinions in a constructive way.

Teacher’s Corner:

PBS TeacherLine
PBS TeacherLine courses are approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and count towards required CPE hours.

You can take our free, two-hour orientation course, Practice Learning Online with TeacherLine, to prepare for online learning. Enter the course through your My Courses page. In order to take the free orientation course, you must first join PBS TeacherLine. Join for free.

Top Ten Public Broadcasting Content Avenues for Educators

  1. Lesson Plans –  Search thousands of free, standards-based lesson plans, classroom activities, interactive resources and more — organized by subject, grade level and curriculum topic on Many are from local PBS stations — giving you the best educational resources from around the country.
  2. Streaming Video – Bring PBS’ award-winning programming into your classroom. At you’ll find an array of video content — including streaming video from selected PBS programs like FRONTLINE.
  3. Podcasts – More than 130 PBS and NPR podcasts are available for free online.  Sign up for free subscriptions through or iTunes.
  4. Video On-Demand – Many cable carriers feature PBS and PBS KIDS Sprout on-demand at no additional charge.  Several PBS and PBS KIDS programs are also available via iTunes and Google Video – including NOVA, ARTHUR and many films by Ken Burns (THE STATURE OF LIBERTY and more).
  5. Video for Purchase – Hundreds of classic PBS programs are available from Shop for Teachers (
  6. Off-Air Rights – Teachers can show most PBS programs in the classroom for up to one year after broadcast without violating copyright restrictions.
  7. Blogs –  Learn from respected education experts and teachers just like you with PBS’ two teacher-focused blogs:
    • “Media Infusion” ( features ideas for bringing media and technology into the classroom, while
    • “Learning Now” ( offers a thought-provoking conversation on the big-picture issues surrounding technology and teaching with prominent education authority Andy Carvin.
  8. Professional Development offers professional development opportunities through more than 90 online courses in numerous subjects.
  9. Parenting offers an array of information that is of great use to educators as well as parents.
  10. Web Content for Preschoolers and Elementary – PBS KIDS ( and PBS KIDS GO! ( offer dozens of skills-building activities using beloved characters from trusted programs like CURIOUS GEORGE, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, CYBERCHASE and ARTHUR, plus Web sites like “Don’t Buy It” – which teaches kids about media literacy.

And, of course, KLRN Connect!!


PBS Teachers Innovation Awards
From math and science to music and the arts, your inventive thinking continuously fuels, inspires and engages young minds. Whether you teach your students physics with rocket launchers, social studies by re-enacting historical events, or literature by inviting kids to create digital stories, you are innovating and making a difference – and we want to recognize and thank YOU! KLRN invites you to enter the PBS Teachers Innovation Awards! Click here to learn more.





THE MUSIC INSTINCT: SCIENCE AND SONG provides a discovery into how and why the human organism is moved by the indisputable effect of music. This follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture in search of answers to music’s deep mysteries. This guide is intended to be utilized in an educational setting to introduce young people to the powerful connections between science and music. Many of the activities incorporate the use of sounds found on the included CD. Resources are limited one per teacher to the first 25 teachers, so request yours today by clicking here!

Contact Us:

Lisa McGrath
Vice President of Education

Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services

Maricella Borroel
Director of Early Childhood Services

Elisa Resendiz
Manager of Community Engagement

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