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The arts are integrated with curriculum across the grades and disciplines. Many projects in visual arts will link to classroom themes of study, to upcoming curricular trips, and to community events in ways that challenge students to express themselves through the art-making process.

Every year there are much loved projects that are Nueva traditions. For example, in Visual Art class, there is work with clay that progresses from masks in the younger grades to life-size heads by 5th grade, and in Music Class, there is the choir, holiday concerts, music at weekly Assemblies, and Brown Bag concerts at lunch to practice performance and collaborate.

In addition, through fluid and ever-changing integrations and collaborations between teachers in different disciplines and different divisions, the visual arts, music, and performance are woven into the curriculum. For just a few examples, you can:

Arts integrated heroPhotoAttend a fourth grade, student-created musical and see history, literature, reading, writing, music, dance, and art transformed through the creativity and skill of the students into an expression of their own understanding, humor, and evolving sophistication. Experience the 4th grade play through the eyes of the teacher.

Read the beautifully illustrated graphic novels written by second graders recounting their family’s personal journey to the Bay area as part of a year-long study of Immigration. Read about curricular integration through the Immigration theme. 

Attend a Culmination at any grade or division and experience the unique ways that students use the arts to demonstrate or present their learning. Read about Culminations.

Walk through the Silk Road Bazaar in Middle School and see humanities, math, science, and the arts woven together in intricate and astonishing ways; please see below.


The two examples below illustrate two projects that demonstrate the rich integration or arts and curriculum.


11 arts integrated Dec2016

Every other year, students in seventh and eighth grades spend the fall semester studying the Silk Road. As one of the most beloved experiences in Middle School, the curriculum integrates science, math, humanities, writing, art, and music.

Throughout the semester, the Silk Road theme is woven through their classes, giving them a rich experience in history and culture of that time. At the end of the semester, students recreate the Silk Road as a Bazaar on our campus, displaying their wares, crafts, tools, and food while sharing their knowledge.

One of the exciting elements of the culmination is that students explicitly assume the role of their chosen character, and teach their classmates, teachers, and parents about their profession. As merchants, scholars, artisans, cooks, musicians, and more, the Silk Road Bazaar demonstrates the true depth of their learning.

Art plays a central role in the Silk Road study, as students make their costumes, experience music and food of the time, and gain a deep sense of this ancient culture. This hands-on approach makes the experience tangible, and helps students truly understand how the Silk Road connected the world in its time, and brought about impacts they can still see in their lives today. View more about the student experience of the Silk Road.



10 arts integrated Dec2016

Through the creation of Power Animals, students integrate learning in SEL, writing, and visual arts. Traditionally done early in the sixth grade, it is a perfect time for students to learn about themselves while also sharing aspects of themselves with their classmates and teachers.

They begin with reflective practices in SEL that reveal their animal and move on to learning about the importance of Power Animals in Native American culture. They research their animal’s significance and characteristics, and in writing class, craft an essay describing a chance encounter with their animal. Their writing assignment challenges then to be storytellers while integrating all they have learned thus far about their animal.

In art class, students collect images to gain perspectives on their animals, and with special attention to form, balance, texture and body position, they work in clay to make their own hand-held fetish. Once fired, students work in layers with glaze to add depth and realism through nuanced color, learning the qualities of the materials and application techniques.


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