CPR 4 Classrooms

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Arts educators know the importance of well-organized and structured activities that engage multiple modalities, allow for creative expression, and provide opportunities for students to communicate ideas and emotions.  However, the current culture of accountability has placed limitations on the time devoted to the arts in our schools making it imperative that teachers accurately reflect student progress through the arts.

Over the past few years, a dedicated team of education and arts researchers has developed a reliable instrument designed to capture student outcomes using an arts-integrated teaching approach.  The studies included on this page support these conclusions.

Hocus Focus: Evaluating the Academic and Functional Benefits of Integrating Magic Tricks in the Classroom


As a society, we are looking to schools to be or become settings where our children learn the skills for successful adulthood. We are asking educators to teach an increasingly heterogeneous population of students, some of which face additional learning challenges. Many of these students have – or will have – a significant need to develop not only academic skills but also functional and social skills. However, instruction that addresses these needs is often not a component of the school-wide curriculum. This project was implemented to determine if learning and performing magic tricks as a part of an educational activity could bring about improvements in specific areas for special learners. Teachers used the Hocus Focus curriculum for this project. This is an activity-based, academic and functional curriculum that integrates simple magic tricks into classroom instruction in an organized, systematic manner. Results demonstrated that the learning and performing of magic tricks could impact all three domains of learning resulting in student improvement in on task behaviors, planning and sequencing, socialization and meaningful conversation, and fine motor skills/dexterity.

Creative Education: Unlocking the Potential of the Arts for Special Needs Students


Intrinsic to the arts is the construct that diversity, ambiguity, and variability are not only accepted, but encouraged. Characteristics such as originality, individuality, and unconventionality are most highly coveted and celebrated. Students of all abilities inherently thrive in an arts-rich environment because it is so conducive to learning. MacClean (2008) stated, “A student can’t be told that what they are seeing in their imagination and expressing through art is ‘wrong.' Knowing what we know about Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) and alternate ways of learning, the arts serve as an ideal vehicle to deliver knowledge to a wide variety of learners. So then, what is known about the arts and education? How can the arts facilitate growth and progress for students in the areas of cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development? And what are the methods used to deliver the arts in education as well as the challenges to those delivery methods? The following is research that supports utilizing the arts in teaching in both general education classrooms and special education classrooms.

"...a vibrant and exciting learning tool; no other activities give our students quite this level of personal achievement!"


Alden Road Exceptional Center (FL)


"...a genuinely unique way to reach students..."


Miami University of Ohio


"The curriculum reaches across both categorical and disciplinary bounds."


Elon University (NC)

Development and Psychometric Investigation of an Arts Integrated Assessment Instrument for Educators


The development and initial psychometric investigation of the Hocus Focus Analytics (HFA) scale, an instrument to measure student growth and outcomes using an arts-integrated teaching approach, is reported. Using a sample of students (n = 31), a 15-item measure was developed consisting of five subscales (cognitive, motor, communication, social skills and creativity). Results of the present study offer initial support for the psychometric properties of the HFA scale. The authors discuss the importance of using an instrument to measure student progress through a multidisciplinary, arts-integrated curriculum and future research implications.

We are three professional educators who believe in arts-integration to engage and motivate students to become better learners.

​This curriculum was designed for local, national and international educators, artists, therapists and researchers interested in discovering new ways to help diverse learners improve the skills they find challenging.

In the current environment of accountability in education, it has become increasingly important to link interventions to improved student outcomes.

We have been working closely with
academic researchers around the world to underpin this work with robust scientific research.