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Professional Development for Arts Integration

I want to challenge today's readers with the sentence: "It remains for us to see student learning." What are we observing in student learning? Are we able to observe or are we relying too much on a quick look followed by our assumptions about that learning? The assumption teachers make is that we know what and how students are learning from the briefest of glances.

Now I know that good teachers can accurately assess on the fly, but I am challenging us today to really take a closer, more in depth look at student learning. And to help us do that, I would suggest that any professional development start with "observation." A more organized approach to understanding student learning might start with asking, "What are we looking for?," and a follow-up question, "When we see students act, how does that relate to their learning?"

As we look at students more closely, our own assumptions seem to come apart, like a curtain, to reveal more nuanced and more accurate ways of seeing and assessing student learning. This new information can lead us to re-tool our next teaching moment, and re-purpose our work with classrooms, into instructional leadership that is based on our own more accurate observation and assessment of student learning. It is the kind of change that makes students think we really know who they are, and how they learn. It propels them to engage with us. It makes us really relevant.

I noticed that a conference last May had a wonderful list of all the people who attended from around the country and for whom, professional development in arts integration was the number one reason to learn as adults! Check them out by looking at the list and following up by googling their names on the web: Southeast Center for Education in the Arts; THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN FACILITATING THE PRACTICE OF ARTS INTEGRATION (May 1-3, 2008 @ The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) participant list.

Happy Halloween means it is time to enter a really cool arts contest! The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers invites students in grades 7 - 12 to participate in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2009, the nation's longest-running, largest, most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers in the visual and literary arts. Help get your students into this!

Also, don't forget to visit my article on arts integration needs a community, for more on arts work we are doing all over the country. Spook ya later.

Making the most of "extra time" in an Art Classroom

Continue reading "Making the most of "extra time" in an Art Classroom" »

The World of Arts Integration

The world of arts integration is inter-connected. Don't forget to access other bloggers besides us! I know this is a kind of an odd thing to say, but it seems to be true on the internet, that when you want to start a community through blogging, invite the other bloggers to join (I am extending the same invitation on my own website: EdSpeak.org).

If you are already blogging on arts integration, please contact us by posting a comment below! And please tell your friends about us, or give us some way to connect with them, and we will do the heavy lifting. It is important to build this community by connecting with others that have something to say!

This week's examples of other members of our community include teachers and artists working in the Oakland Unified School District, Washington, DC, and New York City:

In this hands-on music integration workshop, we will explore basic classroom instruments in order to fashion a palette of timbres and sound qualities. We will create a character through movement and writing, then accompany it by composing short, rhythmic motifs. Conversely, we will also use written and verbal images to enrich the creation of music and movement. ASCEND teachers now routinely incorporate visual art and music into their literacy studies, leading the art lessons as well as the writing. Arts Integration Strategies Collaborations.

The Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is designed to assist arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation develop and/or expand educational partnerships with their local school systems. The purpose of the partnerships is the establishment or expansion of professional development programs in the arts for all teachers. JFK Center for the Performing Arts

The Wilson Arts Integration School Blog's content is driven by student creativity. This is the place that our teachers will document classroom activities and projects through the use of the latest technology. Parents will also find information on the importance of an education which includes the arts. We hope you enjoy what you see and hear! More to come soon! Wilson Arts Blog

The Evidence of Teacher and Student Learning (ETSL) Template is a powerpoint representation of arts integration produced by arts-in-education Partnerships in K-12 schools in New York State. Almost 100 of these partnerships are funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) every year. The goal of the ETSL template is to show evidence of teacher and student learning through data collection, assessment and peer-to-peer documentation and evaluation. The first year of piloting, 2007-2008 follows many years of hard work by the field of funded partnerships to improve their work. The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc., as the evaluator of this work since 2003, recommends that through the introduction and use of an authentic achievement Performance Assessment system, individual partnership ideas of quality can be honored across the entire system of partnerships while meeting or exceeding state standards for quality. EdSpeak.org

OK, that is it for this week's references to other bloggers, teachers and artists in our arts integration community...please write a comment or get involved! Thank you.

Assessment Strategies in a Visual Arts Classroom

As interim grading time rolls around, I have assessment on my mind more than ever.  Assessment in a visual arts class can be a challenge!  How do we as Art teachers weigh the value of "talent" (which may translate in some cases to experience) verses effort?  How do we weigh the value of process verses product?  How do behavior and attitude come into play?  These are questions that I grapple with constantly as I strive to provide fair and effective feedback to students and parents as to the educational progress happening in my class.  I have to remind myself at times that my roll is not that of art critic but as educator.  My job is to take each student where they are and help them to move forward.  That forward growth is the progress I aim to reflect in my assessments. 

I have tried to streamline my assessment strategies to make it easy for students to understand expectations and to make assessment as easy as possible for me.  I have developed the standards below for a rubric that I use as an assessment tool for every student, at every grade level (I teach 5th -8th graders), on every project.  I simply write-up specific criteria for each project at the bottom.  I give the rubric to students when I first introduce a new project so that they know exactly what I will be looking for when I grade it.

Continue reading "Assessment Strategies in a Visual Arts Classroom" »

Finding Art on the Web

This week is all about learning how to search the web for good arts integration strategies. For example, one of my fellow bloggers, Angela Bunyi, recently posted a blog on the top five resources for incorporating music into the upper grades. The advantage to readers of Angela's blog is efficiency in searching that could help the everyday teacher who is already over-run with demands. Angela has done the searching for you and reported her findings in an easily accessible blog.

This kind of searching on the web is the strategy of finding and using other searchers. In research world, we call this, "finding a good literature review," that explains for example, a previous literature search that will inform your current search for arts integration strategies. I pulled up google on my browser and typed in: "literature review of arts integration" and an excellent example of a recent arts integration literature review came up: Gail Burnaford's literature review which is for sale on the Arts Education Partnership website.   

Another entry on my web-search was at Amazon.com and I found a literature review that serves as an integration resource for classroom teachers: Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts.

OK, these are just three examples of using somebody else who has searched for integration in order to inform your searches! Using the right words in google will make efficient use of the web to guide and secure new ideas for your classroom integration work!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Strategies for Arts Integration are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.