Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Update on opportunity for K-12 teachers

John Bertles, Bash the Trash

As part of the longtime mission to support K-12 arts programming that meets the educational and cultural goals of Illinois schools, Sangamon Auditorium recently entered into partnership with Springfield Public School District 186 to work together to offer arts programs for the education of teachers.  As one of only three Illinois partnership teams in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Partners in Education program, Sangamon Auditorium and Springfield Public Schools are hoping to effect systemic change in educational priorities and teaching practices so that arts teaching and learning will continue to be valued by local schools and its impact deepened. 

Outcome of the First Year:
·         Three professional development workshops led by Kennedy Center teaching artists were offered to local teachers during the 2010-2011 school year.

o   “Focusing on Arts Integration” led by Karen Erickson of Chicago, September 2010, held at and in cooperation with the Regional Office of Education Staff Development Center

o   “Using Visual Arts to Encourage Thinking and Writing” led by Sandra Phaup of Washington, D.C., February 2011, held at and in cooperation with the UIS Visual Arts Gallery

o   “Building Musical Instruments from Recycled Materials” led by John Bertles of New York City, May 2011, held at and in cooperation with the Regional Office of Education Staff Development Center

·         Forty-eight unique teachers, both from Springfield Public Schools as well as from other public and private schools, participated in the 2010-2011 workshops. 

·         In addition to the teacher workshops, John Bertles led in-classroom teaching demonstrations at a Springfield elementary school, affording classroom and arts specialist teachers at that school the opportunity to observe his teaching methods in action.  We hope to engage future workshop leaders in additional classroom and community opportunities to help extend and deepen the learning for teachers.

Responses from Teachers:
·         In June 2011, the partnership team convened a meeting of teachers interested in serving on an advisory committee to advise this program.  Five teachers, both from inside and outside district 186 attended the meeting and provided valuable feedback on their experiences with the workshops this year and insight that will assist with planning future years’ workshops.  We plan to have this committee convene once or twice annually to provide feedback and engage in planning.

·         A teacher who attended the February workshop provided the following testimonial to the partnership team:  My class did a painting project in the style of Rie Munoz, an Alaskan artist, because of the connection to their study of the Iditarod in Alaska in fourth grade.  (a stretch - but the same state.)  Anyway, we drew some of her paintings, using the process we learned in the last workshop, and then wrote our cinquains (poems).  I am typing them up and gluing them on their pictures, and that, along with a letter, is what we sent off to the artist.  Then the kids wanted to write another artist we have studied, and so we did it again.  It has been a great exercise, and the poems really reflect the feeling of the paintings, which is very rewarding.”

·         Selected feedback from workshop participant evaluations is as follows:
o   “The compare and contrast of the same lesson was excellent and very helpful in what I can take back to my principal and teachers.”
o   “Excellent presentation and presenter wonderful.  Loved learning more drama terms.”
o   “Superb.  Workshop leader is so creative – she makes it happen.”
o   “Very engaging!”
o   ”Amazing opportunities to learn from expert in field.  Real-life examples helped put process into perspective.”
o   “This was the best workshop I’ve been to in the district.”
o   “Great motivator!”

We look forward to announcing the 2011-2012 season of events for teachers later this summer.  

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