By Tyler French | Innovation and Partnerships Director
Teachers during professional development session
Carien Q., a multidisciplinary visual artist and educator led professional development sessions for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers from all subject areas at Neelsville Middle School. She designed the session to have the teachers reflect on how they can integrate art making into their lesson plans and frame their student’s learning as well as their own teaching as creative practices. Carien guided them through a collaborative painting exercise, to reflect on the artist's habits of mind and how they are already practicing them in their subject areas, and to share how they can bring the painting activity into their classrooms. Our virtual classroom is designed to provide a similar space for skill-building and reflection because we recognize these kinds of professional development opportunities can be rare for educators.
Two of the artist habits of mind stood out to science and math teachers from each grade level: curiosity and persistence. The teachers shared that an artist’s curiosity and persistence, both necessary to start and move forward creative work, mirrors the way to want their students to approach a math problem or science experiment. The teachers were excited to think of these processes as creative, to help their students understand it isn’t necessarily the final product that is most important but the process by which they arrive at the answer. They reflected on how they can work with their students to approach each problem or experiment creatively and to try and try again as they move toward an answer.
Your support makes it possible for educators without access to arts integration professional development sessions to integrate new arts-based skills and tools into their classrooms, which are proven to help students improve test scores and be more fully engaged in learning. By helping educators everywhere access tools, resources, and space for reflection, the virtual classroom ultimately produces a ripple effect because the learning and tools stay with the teachers and are passed on to each new class every year. Because of your support to sustain and grow our virtual classrooms, students everywhere are more likely to reach their own potential.
If you have experienced an “ah-ha” moment in a professional development session or our virtual classroom, we invite you to share that experience with us on our Facebook page. As we approach the end of this calendar year, let's take time account for these moments and pledge to enter the year with curiosity and persistence.
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