59 Ninjas or Crouching Teacher, Hidden Art Forms

As a parent, I have never been a fan of hiding vegetables in other food to get my kids to eat healthy stuff. Yes it takes lots of work, patience and modeling, but the development of these beneficial lifelong habits is imperative and my job as a parent. The same is true of using the arts to teach core content. Dance, drawing, tableau, music, sculpture, etc., should not be pureed, diluted and sneaked into the curriculum in miniscule portions.

So here’s to the teachers that spent the first week of their summer vacation developing innovative, creative, and not-pureed curricula involving math, science, history and of course, the arts.

Congrats to the Joan Oates Institute class of 2012!
On the last day everyone struck an action pose for the group photo. Look for the movie, “59 Ninjas or Crouching Teacher, Hidden Art Forms,” soon to be posted to a online video site near you.

JOI Class of 2012 + Gerald

It was a great week of hard work, learning and fun. Our mascot became the paper giraffe made by Richmond Montessori School teachers in Noah Scalin’s Creativity workshop. The assignment: fill/use/draw/create something with the 100 circles you were given on ten sheets of 11×17 paper.

Gerald the Circle Giraffe

Wondering what to do with the integrated curriculum you have developed at the institute or on your own? Apply for a PIA Award to implement your ideas and bring in teaching artists to work with students and teachers in collaborative and transformational ways.

Rob

Laurel Meadow Lion’s Den

Fantastic. That’s the first word that comes to mind after visiting the  fourth grade art class at Laurel Meadow Elementary School this morning. Art teacher Jamesha Hairston has created a wonderful PIA Award project for this year called Laurel Meadow Lion’s Den: An Interactive Reading Environment. For the first part of the project, third, fourth, and fifth graders are making books – beautiful artists’ books – and then creating content for their books, developing their non-fiction writing skills on subjects related to the science and social studies curriculum. A team of Laurel Meadow educators is collaborating on the project with Ms. Hairston, among them the librarian, the instructional technology resource teacher, the reading specialist, and classroom teachers. The books that the students make will be placed in the school library.

This morning the fourth graders were working with artist Ginna Cullen as they began to assemble their books. Ms. Cullen showed them a number of books she had made so they could see what was possible. The children were in awe: you can do that with paper and cardboard? Ms. Cullen’s hand-made books are incredibly beautiful, some simple and some complex, with detailed hand-sewn spines.

In the spring, the 4th and 5th grade students will work with muralist Janet Gilmore-Bryan on a mural for the reading area in the school library, the Lion’s Den. (Can you guess what the school’s mascot is?) The students will learn how murals impact the environment and how they can celebrate community. Then they’ll brainstorm as a group to create a design for their mural.

Liz