My daughter is in third grade this year. Her teacher—warm, caring, and creative—is my favorite teacher in the whole school. However, like most teachers in today's high stakes environment, arts integration doesn't seem to figure prominently in her thinking. I asked my daughter on the second day of class.
"What did you sing today?"
"Did you dance?"
Would it be so difficult to include a name game/song on the first or second day of class? Couldn't the students stand by their desks and learn a simply repeated movement sequence with a recording? In fact, it could even be a song-that-teaches. More fundamentally, why is it that my favorite teacher apparently is not thinking along these lines?
The kind of outlook I am recommending has a lot to do with focusing primarily on quality of life and quality of experience rather than thinking primarily (or even exclusively) about a limited range of measurable outcomes (e.g. STEM).
Imagine that you are a tour guide. The destination for this particular tour is, say, 100 miles away. If you are an amazing tour guide you will make sure the trip is interesting for much more than just the destination. You plan some stops along the way so, at the very least, people can stretch their legs and you will have some activities to engage travelers en route (maybe even a song).
Just like the best tour guides, teachers ought to consider the overall quality of the classroom experience for their students. Are students finding it engaging and fulfilling. In other words, the means are as important as the ends; nor do the ends ever justify the means.