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Serving a new definition of educators! At last!

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For every one interested in the return of Arts to the mainstream curricula, I encourage you to click the link below and read this excellent article:
Reading Through the Arts – How theater and visual arts can engage students in reading.’

What amazed me was the article’s source – it is from ARTSEDGE, an education program of The Kennedy Center.

Maybe I’m showing a bit of naiveté, but I had never associated The Kennedy Center as a mainstream source for teaching and learning in the arts.
Now, thinking about Jacqueline Kennedy’s role in using the White House to “showcase” the arts and her role in establishing the National Cultural Center, now The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, it all makes a lot of sense!

One statistic stands out.
On it’s ‘Welcome to ARTSEDGE’ webpage, The Center says:

“The full impact of ARTSEDGE might be measured by considering that of the eleven million people who participate in Kennedy Center Education Department programming each year, four million do it through ARTSEDGE resources.”
That’s a lot of people!

And the best is yet to come:

The Welcome page continues:
“In an education landscape that is evolving with new ideas of how, when and where we teach, learn and create, the ARTSEDGE team has revisited every part of what— and how—we offer resources. We are expanding our content to serve a new definition of educators, encompassing classroom and out-of-school teachers, with the single-minded goal to support arts-based student learning, whether in the classroom or an informal learning environment, like the home. We’re focused on ways to support innovative teaching with the arts, and meet changing trends in education and to accommodate the ever-evolving impact of technology in our lives. ”

I love it! I hope you do too!
Lesley Beth
(Note: I found the link through Twitter, which provides me with more insight and links to educational movers and shakers than any search engine has ever done.)

Note: From Wikipedia: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the busiest performing arts facility in the United States and annually hosts approximately 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly two million; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 20 million more. Now in its 41st season, the Center presents the greatest examples of music, dance and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Center’s achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in over 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.

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Helping the President’s Committee on the Arts And the Humanities!

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Recently, I came across two excellent reports focused on using the Arts to power engaged learning.

The most recent is UNESCO’s ‘Releasing the Power of the Arts – Exploring Arts Education in the Asia-Pacific’, a very detailed case as to why the Arts is moving to the center of education in countries recognized for having some of the best education in the world, like South Korea (ranked #2) Singapore (ranked #3) and Hong Kong (ranked #5).

The second is from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities focusing on using the Arts to help turn around low-performing schools. Developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Turnaround Arts initiative is a public-private partnership designed to narrow the achievement gap and increase student engagement through the arts.

On the PCAH website is reference to its “landmark study ’Re-investing in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools’ which provides an in-depth study of arts education and its effect on student success.”

In the report’s recommendations, is coverage of three widely used approaches:

  1. Standards-based approach using certified arts specialists.  
  2. Arts integration relying more on classroom teachers.
  3. Teaching artists programs, typically involving working artists.

Each has its merits but generally the report recognizes the constraints of budgets as well as the pressure of ‘teaching for the test’ that has seen dramatic falls in the role of arts.

In an interesting footnote on Page 31 of the report, it says “Many state arts agencies have experienced dramatic budget reductions. The Florida state agency, for example, has less than $1 million for all state arts activities, including arts education, down from a high of $39 million. The Michigan state arts agency had a $29 million budget for grants in 2002 and now has $2 million for the entire state. (In Ohio)… over 80% of classroom teachers report receiving no professional development in the arts.  Arts-related field trips have declined and over one-third of schools have not had an arts related assembly in three years.”

None of this is really new.
That’s why, over 10 years ago, I started looking at ways to integrate the arts in ways that power a relationship with other classroom skills – and particularly literacy.

So it came as no surprise to read in the report that: “The documented benefits of arts integration have also been accumulating over the past decade, although only recently have researchers begun to understand why arts integration may hold unique potential as an educational reform model.
That is really worth reading a second time!

Additionally, I liked the following recommendation on page 50 of the report:

Recommendation 2. Develop the field of arts integration.
Many individuals cited the promise of the arts integration approach; we learned about model arts integration programs and efforts to train arts specialists and classroom teachers in arts integration methods. As arts integration has not received as much concerted attention as standards-based approaches, the field needs development and support to realize its full promise. We agree that the arts will have a more secure place in the curriculum when teachers experience firsthand the deepening of learning in their subjects that comes from incorporating arts teaching strategies, and working in collaboration with arts specialists and teaching artists.

No one agency or professional association “owns” arts integration, so the potential for development, including evaluation and codification of quality practices, is wide open. Further development of the field of arts integration will depend on initiatives undertaken by institutions of higher education (for both pre-service and in-service education), professional development providers (including state arts and education agencies, nonprofit arts organizations), and state agencies and private funders providing targeted support.”

End Thought
For Kindergarten, arts integration has actually received concerted attention from me in a standards-based approach. So naturally, I have offered Jazzles ELA as a best practice case study to PCAH. We have two theses to assist them

The lack of any publisher interest in Arts Integration, is why Jazzles ELA is the only scalable program of its type in the world.

Effectively, it comes as an ‘in-the-box’ package that can be rolled out today and made available to every school in the USA in time for August 2013.
Why and How?
Because all Jazzles ELA needs is an internet connection and a few web-hosted seminars to familiarize teachers with the methodology.
(Note: Music and drama teachers just get it straight away! It’s so intuitive!)

If you are looking for an Arts in Education/Integrated Arts Program for:

  • Kindergarten (and/or PreK) 
  • Virtual School
  • After Hours
  • Summer Camp
  • Mixed Ability/Diverse Classes

just contact me, Lesley Beth and I’ll deliver you a ‘PCAH-style’ package for you. It’s the only such program in the world!

Lesley Beth

 

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Arne Duncan Experiencing the Power of Songs

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 U.S. Secretary of Education

Arnie Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Straight off!  They were not my reading songs but the outcomes are identical.

“As a parent, I have witnessed the ability of one arts educator to enrich the learning of my daughter and son, who attend a public elementary school that weaves science throughout the curriculum.

The school’s music teacher writes and teaches songs to the kids about science. In his music room, children sing about gravity, sedimentation, rocks, and the planets. Students sing, clap, and dance about solids, liquids, and gases.

On holidays celebrating American heroes, Mr. Puzzo writes songs for the students about them. Years later, when students sit down to take their SATs, they report humming Mr. Puzzo’s songs to recall historical and scientific content.

These musical experiences provide more than a memorization tool to master facts. They provide opportunities to experience learning in creative ways.
They engage students in musical experiences that introduce them to the power and beauty of the creative process for its own enjoyment and enrichment.

It’s an unfortunate truth that many schools today are falling far short of providing students with a full experience of the arts that helps them engage and succeed in other academic areas and build skills that would serve them well in the innovation economy. Too often, students are saddled with boring textbooks, dummied-down to the lowest common denominator. Today’s curriculum fails to spark student curiosity or stimulate a love of learning. As this report documents, the arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college. It demonstrates that arts education can play an important role in narrowing the achievement gap between minorities and whites. And it offers examples of arts-rich schools where teachers and visiting artists use the magic of the arts to illuminate literature, social studies, math, science, and other subjects.”

Source: President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools, Washington, DC, May 2011 Download the full report by clicking here.

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