This week marks the end of the first quarter at my school, and as I reflect I have realized there are some policies, routines, and procedures that need to be changed prior to entering the new quarter. Out of curiosity, I asked some colleagues about their reflections on the first quarter and whether or not they found themselves wanting to alter or modify some things; resoundingly everyone said yes, which begs the question… is it to […]
Todays article is more of a rhetorical question, so I pose it as an open forum style opportunity to generate discourse and provide food for thought as we reflect on our own practices. As educators, we strive to both care for our students emotionally and prepare them for their futures mentally, but this can often become a blurred line. How do we find the balance between ensuring we are caring for our students but in […]
Remember when you first decided to become an educator? Why? Why did you make that most important of decisions? I seriously doubt it was on a lark, to make a lot of money or for the “summer’s off.” It’s really worth examining the deeper (and deepest reasons) why we chose to be educators. Whether you are succeeding wildly or stagnating, the initial “why” (the source of all that you do) can be revelatory and game-changing.
Last week I delivered a series of workshops called “Embracing Change” to a governmental agency. The curriculum was interesting and applicable to work, home and personal life. Part of the workshop examined personal working styles and how they influence our response to change. I have never been big on personality profiles and assessments. I have found that people use them to peg each other and not for their good qualities! They seem to use the […]
It’s time to share a new Arts Integration Strategy! As summer is now in full swing, it’s nice to start keeping a list of strategies that you can use to help you integrate the arts throughout the upcoming school year. All summer long, we’ll be sharing with you NEW strategies that you can take and tweak to ensure a creative, yet focused start to your fall lessons. Please remember, though, that an arts integration strategy […]
When we step out of our majors and decide we are going to peruse a teaching credential, we do so wearing proverbial rose-colored glasses. We think to ourselves, I am going to change the world, I am going to make a difference, I am going to be the best teacher ever!
And then you enter the classroom…
You are bombarded with issues like classroom discipline, differentiated instruction, high-stakes testing, IEP’s, 504s, adjunct duty, and meetings, upon meetings, […]
I visited almost fifteen schools this past year as an arts integration expert and saw many great teachers and students working together to create great classroom experiences. At the same time, I saw some classrooms where learning had stagnated and the students weren’t responding well to the teacher. Here’s my shortlist of five “warning signs” of a dysfunctional classroom. Do you recognize yourself in one or more? If so, don’t worry! We are all human […]
I am dating myself but I have two really vivid memories of computers and the internet. The first was in middle school sitting at these giant mounted computer keyboards with spools of green and white paper that had small holes running down each side. We sat there coding in the BASIC language and were astonished when a square or triangle would print because of our efforts. The second memory found me sitting in the New […]
How do you know that students “get it?” How do you know that they understand core concepts and can articulate them and express them in multiple ways? These were the questions I asked myself when designing a lesson for fourth graders at Manor View Elementary at Fort Meade, Maryland seeking to understand the Learner Profiles and Key Concepts from the PYP International Baccalaureate program. Drawing inspiration from the book Innovating for People by the Luma […]
Over the past two weeks Susan Riley has given us amazing insight on Professional Development, and I really wanted to continue the conversation by sharing the things I have learned personally, and from colleagues. We are all familiar with mandated professional development. We attend these sessions, not necessarily because we want to but because we have to. We all fill out the arbitrary evaluation forms…usually marking the most capricious responses, again not because we want […]
I love to read. I love creating the pictures in my mind as the story unfolds, creating my own movie of the story. I never cease to be amazed when I am working with students on mental imaging and encounter students who really seem to have a difficult time creating those pictures in their heads. Being able to mentally create the images and manipulate them in the mind greatly benefits readers in comprehension and is […]
With Common Core on the rise, 21st century skills as a foundation, and the expectation that writing should be present across all disciplines, it is pertinent that we offer our students the opportunity to write within our arts classes. Although all of us can prepare a multiude of writing explorations for our students, historical, kinesthetic, expository, informative etc., a quick and easy way to infuse writing into your curriculum is through reflective practice.
My Visual […]
As an arts integration consultant and Executive Director of Creating Communities, I receive incredible opportunities to use the arts to affect real change and provide meaningful learning experiences. Recently, I had the pleasure of working with the 7th grade math students and teachers Ms. Poynton, Ms. Moore and Mr. Mangold at Annapolis Middle School March 13-17 to create scale drawings and models of affordable apartments for senior citizens. The program was funded by a generous grant […]
It’s been a tough winter filled with obligations, overextended projects, colds and fatigue. As educators and artists where do we find the solace and personal strength to make it to Spring, not crawling, but invigorated and loving life? When seeking the answer to this question I rediscovered The Desiderata written by Max Erhmann in 1927. It’s basically a short and profound guide to life and I wanted to share some of the lines that have […]