More Reflections and Interviews Coming soon!
Participant reflections on workshops:
Creating Courageous Learners: Arts Integration in Secondary Schools
Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, Deborah Brzoska, facilitated this participatory workshop that focused on reaching out to secondary teachers and students on the topic of arts integration. As with most Kennedy Center workshops, this session was designed to be replicated by the participants in their own communities. Following an opening activity that helped participants get in touch with their inner adolescent, participants engaged in a one-hour professional development exercise that was developed by the College Board in 1995 as a part of a nationwide study on interdisciplinary learning and the arts. The workshop participants formed five secondary disciplinary teams: Math, Science, Social Studies, English, and Arts. Each team determined and presented what they considered to be the five (and only five) most important content understandings in their discipline; a chart was created by each team to visually communicate this information. The entire group then worked together to create connections across content areas. The number and diversity in the connections that were made was quite surprising! After this activity, the group formed cross-disciplinary teams. These teams then responded to art through the lens and voice of each discipline. Visual art was used during this workshop, and the cross-disciplinary teams were asked to respond to the art in the following ways: through the lens and voice of the SCIENTIST; through the lens and voice of the MATHEMATICIAN; through the lens and voice of the SOCIAL SCIENTIST; through the lens and voice of the WRITER; through the lens and voice of the ARTIST. It was fascinating to see how many different ways the same images could be interpreted. It was also amazing and inspiring to recognize all of the connections that could be made across the content areas by responding to visual art. As a former secondary teacher, I found this type of interaction with my peers to be extremely useful and constructive. I envision teachers participating in this session prior to planning a cross-disciplinary unit of study. I will be presenting this session twice in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year: Aug. 17 at the Whitewater Unified School District Summer Academy (open only to WUSD teachers and staff) and Dec. 12 at Kennedy Elementary in Janesville (open to all who wish to participate!).
Keynote Address by Sonia Manzano (Maria on Sesame Street)
"The creative arts may be the only place in Education that children have left to speculate." - Sonia Manzano
Keynote speaker Sonia Manzano, who is best known for her 44 years in the role of Maria on Sesame Street, spoke about the importance of creative arts in our students' lives. As she reflected on her own experience growing up in Bronx, NYC, she attributed her success to the opportunity she had to attend LaGuardia/ The High School of the Performing Arts (a.k.a. The Fame School). Manzano mused that she aspired to be a secretary until a teacher recognized that she had singing and acting talent and encouraged her to develop it. Manzano's words were very inspiring to her audience, particularly because most - if not everyone - in the room already felt a connection to her Sesame Street character, Maria. Sonia Manzano played the character Maria on the show from 1971 to 2015. When she was hired to join the cast of Sesame Street in its second season, Sonia was one of the only Latina actresses featured on a mainstream daytime TV series. Manzano recalled how the producers of Sesame Street were intent on reflecting the "people of the neighborhood" in which they were filming. Astoria, Queens is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in NYC; hence, it was extremely important to hire a diverse cast of human characters. Manzano appealed to the educators in the room by asking them to encourage creativity, let kids make connections, feel unencumbered, and express themselves. She also warned that our data driven society is obsessed with assessing kids before they are given a chance to think.
Kennedy Center Partners in Education Conference
Arts Integration School Visit
Charles Barrett Elementary School, in Alexandria VA, is teaming with arts integration. As a Kennedy Center CETA (Changing Education Through the Arts) school, administrators, faculty and staff are committed to differentiating student learning and meeting the diverse needs of their community through arts integration. On Thursday, February 2, 2017, our team was fortunate to tour CBE during the Kennedy Center's Partners in Education Conference.
AI, as a whole school programmatic endeavor, is evident upon entrance into the school. The walls are thoughtfully covered with experiences and examples of arts integration, across grade levels and content areas. My touring group began in a math classroom where students were learning content and concepts through their physical participation in tableau. Students, well versed in the process of tableau, were able to work in teams to construct multi-faceted examples of content and concepts with their bodies. It was remarkable to see their excitement and understandings develop and display through this in-class experience.
Our next class-visit showcased students in the process of solidifying their understandings of geometry through song. Students, in this class, had spent significant time working in pairs, small groups and as a whole class not only learning geometry, but also learning about the process of song writing. After their informal performance, students shared their experiences using these arts based strategies and assessments in their pursuit of math.
Our final class-visit was with a Kindergarten group with varied learning styles and abilities. It was enjoyable to participate with this class as they re-told the story, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen. Students and teachers sat together in a circle and sang the story aloud. Students incorporated instruments, and their bodies, in various verses. This lesson on story telling, music and movement provided entry points for the independent learners in the class as well as the learners with teaching assistants.
Each classroom visit, at CBE, reaffirmed my excitement for the possibilities of Arts Integration as a whole school program. I think it is important to note, CBE does not use art, arts based strategies and assessments as a tool for learning. AI is thoughtfully utilized as the process of learning at CBE. This is apparent through the classroom visits and the public displays of teaching and learning throughout the building. CBE's commitment to the process is clear, all the way from their morning Yoga routine to the faculty and administrators that joined in song as they expressed their dedication to teaching and learning through Arts Integration.
Dr. Anne Stinson was granted support to explore visual literacy practice by creating a local ethnodrama with interviews she conducts of participants in Mexico and in Whitewater. Dr. Stinson adds, "The small town of Plaza de Limon, situated in the Mexican state of Michoacan, is the birthplace of many residents of Whitewater. Residents of Whitewater, some naturalized citizens, some permanent residents, and some American born children of naturalized citizens, regularly travel back and forth between the two locations..."
See her report about the results of her interview.
NAEA National Convention - March 17 - 19, 2016
The 2016 NAEA National Convention was held in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center and Hilton Chicago Hotel. The NAEA National Convention is an annual event providing substantive professional development services that include the advancement of knowledge in all sessions, events, and activities for the purpose of improving visual arts instruction in American schools. As such, it is the world's largest art education convention.
Students were asked to write reflections based on their experiences and take aways from the conference.
"Fortunately through the ArtReach Tech Fellowship, Whitewater High School Jazz Ensemble gained a new Bass Amp in Spring of 2016. It is with this piece of equipment that we were able to safely/successfully travel to UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival, where for the first time in school history WHS Jazz Ensemble took First in Class C competition. Those unfamiliar with the festival should know that all of the first place ensembles have the opportunity to perform on the main stage at the main evening concert which features jazz legends such as Jimmy Heath and Stefon Harris. Aside from the competition, the Jazz Ensemble gave several performances for the community. The first was at the Fairhaven Retirement Home in Whitewater and the second performance was our annual Jazz in the Park Concert at the Cravath Lakefront Park. Both events were free and open to the public and were very well attended. WHS Jazz Ensemble is very grateful to have the use of a highly effective/portable amplifer for our bass player. This amp provides for the day to day classroom growth and for the exciting performance opportunities."
- Ms. Abigail Pulvermacher
Whitewater High School Band Teacher
"Having Ms. Daft come into our classroom and share her expertise was amazing. Not only did she engage the students in the activity she was doing but she explained to the educators in the room observing her what was going on and why it was important. It was even better to attend the session after her being a guest in my classroom and learn even more about the learning that was taking place and additional things that could be added. I've made changes in my classroom based on what I learned from Marcia and we love using the patterning cards/activities on a regular
basis. " -
Shannon Frye, MS. Ed.
Marcia Daft is known for creating original instructional methods for teaching music as well as integrating music and movement into other areas of the curriculum. Her work has been used throughout the United States for fifteen years. Ms.Daft is a national workshop leader for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a Master Artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts, and a consultant for arts institutions throughout the U.S. She has developed museum exhibitions, broadcast programs, and educational programs for the Smithsonian Institution. She has also written over twenty books for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Daft holds a Bachelor's degree in engineering from Duke University, a Master's Degree in music from the University of Chicago, and studied piano performance at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She holds both a certificate and license in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and performs as a part of the duo-piano team Le Quattro Mani.