Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Coaxum, James

Committee Member 1

Leshnoff, Susan K.


collaborative arts teaching model, interdisciplinary curriculum, literacy classroom, photo essay, professional development, teacher training


Language arts (Elementary); Visual learning; Art in education


Art Education | Elementary Education | Language and Literacy Education


Using action research with qualitative data collection methods, this study documents the leadership of the researcher's implementation of a collaborative arts integrative teaching model in the literacy and art classrooms of an urban elementary school for grades three, four, and five. Understanding by Design (UbD) (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) was used as the unifying theoretical framework by which a constructivist pedagogical methodology was developed. Pedagogical techniques and methods used were adopted from Writing for Understanding (WU) (Hawkins, et al., 2008) with the Painted Essay (Leddy, 1999), Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) (Housen, 2000-2001, 2001-2002), and new media technology. Digital photographic techniques, graphic organizers, brainstorming, mind-mapping, and storyboarding techniques were employed to teach students to create a photo essay. The photo essay was used as a teaching strategy intended to awaken and enhance students' metacognitive/artistic visual connections and conceptions and support critical thinking as evidenced in their narrative writing. The assessment of student work involved two separate pre-tests and one post-test, employing methods, assessment tools, and rubrics borrowed from Curva and Associates (2005) and VTS (Housen, 2000-2001, 2001-2002). The research ultimately revealed teacher support for continued classroom use of the researcher's suggested methods (photo essay, Painted Essay) for teaching narrative and expository writing.