Susan Riley | March 2016

SparkChasers Episode 46: Where Do We Go Next?

Today’s SparkChasers episode makes a major announcement, so you’ll definitely want to tune in to hear what we’re changing up.  Change is a good thing, right?  But sometimes, it’s hard to know exactly what you need to change in order to better serve the people who trust you.  I’m taking today’s show as an opportunity to show you exactly how we found out what you need most, what we needed to let go of in order to make that happen, and what’s next for us around the corner!

What you THINK you know in this SparkChasers Episode

We all only have so much time.  So we have to be very clear about how we’re spending that time and that what we’re doing is best meeting the needs of our students.  I consider myself first and foremost a teacher, which means I also consider each of you to be students in this online classroom with me.  It’s very important that what we do here is serving your needs.  To do that, we put out a simple 3-question survey to all of our subscribers asking them which resources they most valued in our site and which ones they felt we could discontinue.  We had to really listen, because the answers weren’t what we were expecting.  Sometimes, what you think you know about your students isn’t necessarily true.  So ASK them! This is what you will learn in this SparkChasers Episode.

Next Up

In SparkChasers Episode, when we really dug into that survey, we found out that folks wanted more time-saving high-quality resources and more ways to engage in communication with us.  Well, we’ve taken that to heart and are proud to announce some brand new FREE resources for you!

Unit Plans

Right now, you can access an entire new way to teach with Arts Integration and STEAM.  Our new all-inclusive unit plans are now available.  Each unit already has all of the standards aligned, and includes all of the lessons, materials, videos, resources, worksheets/downloads, and assessments that you need.  All in one single location.  And yes, it’s free.  The only thing you’ll need to do is create an account (it will prompt you to do that before sending you to the lesson) or login and the entire unit is available for you to use and/or download.

Currently, we’ve started with three units, but we’re already building more!  The goal is to have a new one available for you each week, for grades K-12.  Keep checking the units page for the latest additions and to find one that you’d like to try in your own classroom or listen to SparkChasers Episode for more important details.

Arts Integration and Steam Units, Education Closet


One of the things we’ve been desperately missing is a way to have two-way interactive conversations with you. Sometimes, you just want to grab a resource and go.  But sometimes, you need to discuss a question or challenge with someone.  Or maybe you tried a new arts integration or STEAM lesson and you want to celebrate with people who understand how hard that is.  That’s where a community aspect really becomes powerful.  So we’ve gone ahead and created a brand-new private Facebook Community called the Arts Integration and STEAM Think Tank.  Just click on the link and ask to join – we’ll get you approved within 24 hours – and then start connecting with others who are as passionate about Arts Integration and STEAM as you are!

Arts Integration and Steam, Education Closet

Creative Mindset Challenge

Last but not least….a truly easy way to build more creativity into your classroom.  This is a 5-day email based challenge.  Each day, you’ll receive a video lesson from me sharing a new creative strategy that you can use in your classroom.  Day 1 is visual art, day 2 is music, day 3 is theater, day 4 is dance and day 5 is a way to put all of the challenges together in a simple planner grid.  Each challenge takes just 15 minutes to complete total, and at the end of the 5 days, you’ll be ready to integrate each strategy instantly into what you already do.  If you’re interested in joining us, just head on over to our challenge site for more details and to sign up.

Creative Mindset Challenge, Education Closet

Like I said, change is never easy but it is always necessary.  I’m hoping that what’s next for us all is as creatively inspiring as the past 5 years have been so far here at EdCloset! Watch out for more SparkChasers Episode.

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan