A group of teachers from the Portland area met recently in the first session of Teaching Children’s Literature through the Arts course. What a wonderful group! This diverse group included two librarians, three elementary classroom teachers, and a music teacher, so there was plenty of interest in both the arts and children’s literature. This course gives an in depth overview of genre, multicultural books for children, and best of all, includes hands-on ways to encounter children’s literature through multiple art forms. Music, art, movement, drama, pantomime, poetry and storytelling are just some of the ways to engage children and improve learning. Teachers came from York, Otisfield, Windham, Auburn, Portland and Sanford to participate. We discussed so many ways of integrating the arts to boost student engagement in literacy and shared some fabulous resources and ideas.
In Bangor, a group of visual art educators met to begin a course in Refining Arts Assessment in the Visual Art Classroom. This course was designed to bring together professionals who really do not have a lot of time to collaborate with each other; often they are the only arts educators in their building. So, looking at student art work, sharing how to assess student work according to standards, and some very lively discussions were the name of the game. Many wonderful initiatives and ideas were shared. We’re looking forward to more rich dialogue, and exciting discoveries of things we can do to improve student learning in Visual Art classrooms around Maine!
Is this a 2, a 3, or a 4? How do we know our students are learning concepts and skills? Are we doing standards-based instruction? How do you measure creativity? How does an art teacher balance the need to teach art skills and techniques and still encourage student ownership and creativity? These are just some of the questions we tackled in the recent class in Bangor. If you missed that opportunity, another course at Falmouth High School is happening on March 9, 10 and May 4 and 5. There are still some openings in that class, though they are filling up fast! Be sure to save a spot by Registering for the course: Refining Arts Education in the Visual Art Classroom K-12 at Falmouth High School.