[semester equivalent = 1.33 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



Here is a book to add insights and confirm your suspicion that the arts can be a wonderful avenue to teach all sorts of subjects better. While this book has bedrock value for arts educators, it can also provide richness to the teacher of any subject area who suspects there are more ways to enjoy learning than the artless classroom provides. 
Everyone has the need for more of the creative, expressive and divergent ways to think, express oneself and explore reflection and expression outside of non-linguistic modes.  And this book will make you want to start making connections with artful teaching strategies for both brain development and basic differentiation of learning styles.   It can lead you to enjoy your students who may have wonderful moments to share and learn when they have new avenues to use in your classroom.
Eric Jensen is one of the most readable, enthusiastic and brilliant writers for educators.  If you started with Teaching with the Brain in Mind, you would find this book opens a new avenue for your own study of brain-based instructional strategies, with a lot of angles to make your classroom a powerful and vital center for artful teaching.

This course is not offered as a Group Collaboration.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Understood how the arts are a brain developer.
  2. Understood why the arts constitute a major discipline.
  3. The evidence for the value of music to increase learning as well as social and emotional skills.
  4. Understood the contribution of visual arts and kinesthetic arts to our thinking skills, our inclusion strategies, and our motivation and self-discipline.
  5. Acquired the best way to handle assessment of the arts.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Arts with the Brain in Mind, written by Eric Jensen, 2001, ISBN 0-87120-514-9

  • Arts with the Brain in Mind
    ISBN# 0871205149
    by Jensen, Eric

    Buy from Amazon


Text is available from for approximately $16



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

From Chapter 1: “The Arts as a Major Discipline”
Briefly introduce yourself and tell why you have chosen this book. What benefits are there besides the possibility that arts may develop the brain?  Have you personally experienced any of these benefits for yourself or your students?  How important are these benefits?

Assignment #2: Answer a Question.

From Chapter 1: Answer one (1) of the following questions:  Give the seven criteria Jensen used to define major disciplines, and how do the arts stand up to these criteria?  OR Do you agree or disagree with Jensen’s criteria for what makes a subject worthy of being called a major discipline? OR What is the value in being “elected” or “confirmed” as a major discipline versus simply being called important or valuable?

Assignment #3: Opinion concerning the Arts.

From Chapter 1:  Jensen argues that we should cut the volume of content required in most primary or elementary schools by half to make room for the arts, as well as other, more brain developing areas like emotional intelligence.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

Assignment #4: Musical Arts.

From Chapter 2:  “Musical Arts” Answer one (1) of the following questions:   How might music have been useful for human survival?  What are several interesting highlights you found in the analysis of the section on human Developmental Periods of music acquisition?

Assignment #5: The Mozart Effect.

From Chapter 2: Answer one (1) of the following options:   How might music have been useful for human survival?
What are several interesting highlights you found in the analysis of the section on human Developmental Periods of music acquisition?
OR  What did Jensen have to say about the “Mozart Effect”?  Of all the music studies that show improvement in cognition, which ones have sold you the most on the value of music?  What kinds of music are strong in that category?  Could you or have you used that in your classroom?

Assignment #6: More about the Music Affect.

From Chapter 2:  In what ways could music affect emotional intelligence?  What do the studies in the book say is the specific benefit?

Assignment #7: Using Music.

From Chapter 2: Answer one (1) of the following questions:   In “Practical Suggestions” on page 27, what were some suggestions for good background music?
OR  In what way might music influence our stress level?  How do you use music to get you motivated or to calm you down?  What kinds of music might be useful in a classroom of students who are too excited or too quiet?

Assignment #8: Practical Suggestions.

Look at the “Practical Suggestions” through this chapter and comment on any that really felt practical and interesting to you.

Assignment #9: Using Color.

From Chapter 3: Many teachers have found the benefit of employing visual tools like color, for instance in highlighting while taking notes, as ways to help students notice and remember key ideas.  Research on the cognitive benefits of using color for focus and organization have found this strategy to be very effective.  Think of a time you have used colorful sorting or highlighting  and reflect on the value this strategy has had for helping your students learn and/or remember important content.

Assignment #10: The Visual Arts.

From Chapter 3:  How do the visual arts contribute to motivation and self-discipline?

Assignment #11: Visual Arts in the Curriculum.

From Chapter 3: Answer one (1) of the following questions:   How are the visual arts being taught in your curriculum?  How do you make room for it?  How broadly do you define visual arts, for example, are mind maps a form of visual arts?  OR  If you had to choose between integrating visual arts or offering it as a separate subject, which would you choose and why?

Assignment #12: Kinesthetic Arts.

From Chapter 4:  “Kinesthetic Arts”  What is a good argument for including highly complex and novel movements to activate the brain at any developmental stage?  Why is implicit learning more powerful than explicit text-based learning?

Assignment #13: About Physical Activity.

From Chapter 4: Answer one (1) of the following:     Based on your reading, are you more or less a believer in the value of physical activity such as recess?  Should PE become mandatory?  OR  Play is touted as being highly important.  What is it about play that makes it so valuable to learners?  Do you incorporate any play or playful elements in your teaching?  Check “Practical Suggestions” for ideas.

Assignment #14: Settling Time.

From Chapter 4:  What does the author mean by “settling time”?  Describe the information concerning the amount of classroom time and recess time provided for the youngest Japanese children.

Assignment #15: About Light.

From Chapter 4:  Does your experience about the value of light, especially daylight, square with the information about the effect of light on student productivity?  
Have you ever tried to enhance the light for yourself and your students?

Assignment #16: COURSE FORUM.

From Chapter 5:  “Arts and Assessment”  State some of the reasons it is difficult, and possibly even harmful, to assess the arts in traditional, standards-based ways? 
What does Jensen propose as a better way to approach assessment in the arts?  How do you feel about this issue after reading this chapter?
Given all that Jensen shared in this book, what made the biggest impact on your understanding of the importance of the arts in education?
If others have already written comments, please respond to the one(s) that caught your attention.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #17: Lesson Development.

Assignment #17:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #17-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here. Click here for a sample lesson plan template.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #17-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon  THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #18: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:
Option A) Create a  PowerPoint presentation for a group of colleagues. Focus on key ideas and inspiring innovations from this course that will augment current practices.
Option B) Compare and contrast this book with another related book or online research of articles.  For online research be sure to include URLs.


Assignment #19: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



BREWER, Chris Boyd, Soundtracks for Learning, pb, 284 pages, Life Sounds Educational Services, 2008.  This is the ultimate super book of ways to use 150 music activities in virtually every subject area and for all age levels, (including staff development for adults)!  There are well-described directions for topics like establishing optimal attention, attitude, and atmosphere for learning; supporting memory, and encouraging student personal expression of their understanding of what they are learning.   A quick way to get this beautiful book is to email the author:
JENSEN, Eric, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, pb, 202 pages, ASCD, 2005.  This book is invaluable for saving you and your students from wasted motion and unproductive and meaningless strategies that are counterproductive to effective learning experiences.  Instead, based on research into brain-based learning, you will be guided through one fascinating insight after another, in the introduction and twelve chapters of this latest edition of teaching how-to’s, based on our every-growing awareness of how people really are motivated, do problem-solving and remember.
JENSEN, Eric, Music with the Brain in Mind, pb, 122 pages, The Brain Store, Inc. 2000.  You can use music to increase learning in every subject area and at every grade level.  With the information in this book, you’ll find both the science of music and its effects on the brain AND find specific ways the use of music will improve student stress level, memory, creativity, emotional intelligence, and perceptual-motor skills.  You’ll even receive tips on choosing music for different purposes.
PINK, Daniel, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, pb, 275 pages, 2006.  You will not regret introducing yourself to this book, because it is both highly readable and an introduction to the six human abilities that will bring you both career success and probably much richer quality of life.  His information is based on extensive evidence, and he provides you with ways to develop the skills he introduces as the emerging skills for the next stage of human accomplishment.   It is fun to read, and it will stick with you and tantalize your thinking.
WILLIS, Judy, M.D., Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher, ASCD, pb, 125 pages, 2006.
In each of the four chapters of this book, you will find both highly practical information to inform your own teaching and down-to-earth explanations of why these strategies are so powerful in light of brain research.  The author, who was first a doctor of neurology, working with students and adults with brain dysfunctions, found teaching in elementary and middle schools her more exciting calling, and her work combining the science and art of teaching is the reason for this book.  The book is especially easy to follow, because every main point has a dark heading, and the book includes information, both about the science of better ways to teach for memory and test taking, and about the importance of getting student attention and the role of emotions in the learning environment.