Art, of all different forms and mediums, are a language all their own because they act to convey thoughts, express feelings, explore ideas, and so much more just like spoken and written language does. Art, from drawing to dance to writing to music, aims to communicate a message or an idea to others. It is a form of expression that helps to add and build upon the concepts and things already in our world with unique, new ideas. It is presented in a form in which we may not consider to be language, there are not always written words and super easy to find purposes, but it always offers a new insight, perspective, or evidence about a person’s life and their thinking. Basically, at is like talking without words, in most cases, and allows people to show and not tell how they feel, think, and interact with the world around us.
My own preferred way to learn new language skills from an art based medium is with traditional, creative writing. I love the freedom that creative writing offers and how I can manipulate an entire world the way I want with my words. It also allows me to focus more on the new skills or ideas I need to learn about language. I can have fun with the content of the story and not worry too much about what it is, while I can then focus on the skill at hand. Say for instance the class is learning about similes and metaphors and I use my creative writing to not only practice them, but become more familiar with the overall concept of both and their differences. I have fun with what I am doing and can focus on what needs to be learned in a way that I find the most interesting. And perhaps it is just me, but I find I tend to remember and understand ideas more when I have an interest in them.
While not my personal go to, I can definitely see the concept of drama and writing dramas in a class to teach SOL based literacy skills. Not only could a teacher have students work on creating a drama, something silly or serious, about a topic in English, but then the class could present the dramas together, allowing for students to teach each other as well as incorporate movement, interest, and new perspectives of the topic into each student’s learning. For example if a second grade class is learning about ending punctuation, which can be found in English SOL 2.13 b, students could spend some time in pairs or groups creating small little scripts and dramas about the different ending punctuation arguing and deciding when each should be used. The students gain a firm grasp on the concept and can share their ideas with their peers. It really is a more fun, interactive, and engaging way to have kids learn about language arts than simply lecturing them or having them work with a worksheet.