Ordinary ‘Ohana, Art=Opportunity



There is a professor at CSU San Marcos named Merryl Goldberg who started a program called Arts=Opportunity a couple of years ago. I’ve crossed paths with her a few times and have the book she wrote called Arts Integration: Teaching Subject Matter through the Arts in Multicultural Settings.

art book

It is a good book that gives many examples of how the arts can cross over just about any area of the curriculum. The book  discusses so many of the things I have seen as an art educator that of course, I really enjoyed it. She has examples listed as well as lesson ideas. A couple of the stories that I resonated with were when a teacher had the students draw a cell and write about it. That process helped bridged a language gap for a student. Another teacher had a guest puppeteer come in and help her students make president puppets which opened up a whole new dialogue about history in a social studies class. Another teacher used poetry to help students remember scientific names better. There are many examples and ideas.

ordinary ohana

My most recent interaction with Merryl happened on February 13 when Arts=Opportunity partnered with The New Children’s Museum to have Martha Barnette from KPBS: A Way with Words interview author Lee Cataluna and artist Cheyne Gallarde about their book Ordinary ‘Ohana.

lee martha cheyne

It was a wonderful interview and great to hear about the process they each went through to get to the point where they worked together on the book. They also talked about their own creatives processes and shared stories about their own families.


They also shared about their education and what teachers influenced them the most. Lee spoke about her time as a High School Creative Writing Teacher and told about how her grandmother who had a very difficult life and was only able to finish the 8th grade wrote a story for her when she was born. Cheyne shared how as a 5 year old, he would draw Saturday morning cartoon characters complete with the lines drawn after a character that show movement. At the end, he drew a member of the audience and talked about how “easy” it is to draw. They both stayed much later than 6 p.m. for questions and book signing. I picked up two copies of the book, had them both signed and gave one to the DSES librarian for inclusion in our school library.





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