Congratulation Arts Integration Teachers! You got through the first few days or weeks of a HUGE learning curve. To help guide you through this process, every two weeks, you will find a reminder note like this and suggestions about going back and completing what you missed or where you didn’t spend enough time going deeper. This is a quick recap and reminder.
1. Remember the ArtsAround website is your best friend. Peruse it often. You will find an FAQ page there where I will post any questions asked, without names. You can get answers and new ideas by reading the FAQs.
2. Send any curriculum or program questions or concerns you have to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com For the ArtsAround ‘Getting Help’ Protocol information, visit www.artsaround.ca/get-help We have included a number of tools to assist you, including video tutorials and submission form.
3. In case you came in late or got too busy, go back now, and find the ArtsAround Intro and Drama Workshop at the site. My audio gives you a lot of insights and will save you a lot of anguish, if you listen to it and read through the Intro to Drama. Remember every opening lesson in Drama, Dance and Music will have an Elements page in that lesson. This time of year, it is the Elements of Drama. That is not just for you to know. It is important to show it to your kids, so they understand what skills are to be featured. Go over the Rubrics with your classes too. That way your students will be able to reference them. Ask your classroom teachers if they can provide a bulletin board or part of a wall for ArtsAround business. This is where you can post these reminders (Elements, Rubrics etc.) If there is not enough space for showcasing, make a file folder that is kept leaning on a blackboard ledge with the ArtsAround name on it. Teach students and even classroom teachers to look there, for ArtsAround related documents.
4. The Teacher Guide for each grade is extensive and loaded with all kinds of additional assessments, articles, suggestions, and lots of professional development readings. Visit it often but for these opening weeks get right to the Drama section.
5. One way to get to know your classroom teacher, is to remind them that the arts can be very much connected to and integrated with many subjects they teach. Most of the topics in each grade were chosen because they are from Language, Social Studies, History, and Science topics from each grade. By now you should have already given each classroom teacher the Integrated Drama Themes page(s) that are provided for you at the website. You will find it where you go to your lessons, under Teacher Guide. There are integrated theme topics listed for every grade, so make sure every one of your teachers receive one. Encourage them to integrate where they can. When their lessons match what you are doing in the arts, the awareness of how we are all connected goes deeper. Keep the ‘integration’ dialogue going all year long.
6. In that same section, you will also see a Short or Long Range Plan. Yes, I provide it for you. You are welcome😊 This document should have been given to your Principal by now. If you have not provided each Principal with this, do so today. Print it and hand it to your Principal, in a folder titled ArtsAround. You will be handing Principals various documents, during, the course of this year. Provide a folder for them (preferably a brightly coloured one) with the title of ArtsAround on it, so they can add each document, to it, as you give it to them. Make this a time to touch base with your Principal and inform them what’s happening in ArtsAround, in your classroom that week. Invite him/her to drop by and join in the fun!
7. At some point of time this month, make sure you have asked where all the instruments are, in each of your schools. Organize them. In the Teacher Guide for all grades there are two pages of pictures of instruments that were purchased when ArtsAround first started. Many may be broken or have gone missing, so do a musical instrument inventory now. There should also be four Orff (xylophones) with 8 mallets. The use, of some instruments, are also mentioned in Drama lessons, so get instruments, from each school, organized in September. Email Mary Tabone, firstname.lastname@example.org HWCDSB Arts Facilitator, about the process for ordering, or with other questions, if you need instruments replaced.
8. When you are having trouble with anything in programming, please follow the new protocol titled Need Help? also posted at the site. Please follow it as outlined.
9. Also, watch for ongoing professional development, at the website too. ArtsAround Pop Ups will be posted as YouTubes or Podcasts that address specific potential problems in lessons where you may be having trouble. Watch for these. It is your responsibility to check the ArtsAround website on an ongoing basis.
10. About ArtsAround’s approach to COVID. Yes, the arts are more difficult when you are required to apply all the protocols outlined by Health Canada. But there is no reason why the Arts cannot go on, with rich, powerful lessons. Do not water down lessons or do what you want if you see something you don’t want to do. Try out other warm-ups that are better suited for the class you are teaching, but please do not replace the main activity, in each lesson. Each lesson has a basic curriculum skilled activity that was hand picked because it is a preliminary skill, required before engaging in the, up and coming activity. ArtsAround uses an approach, or a theory called constructivism. This theory states: “Learners, construct knowledge rather than just passively taking in information”. Of course, you are the teacher and leader in the classroom, but in your case, you are there as an ArtsAround teacher.
If I have made a mistake in a lesson, email me and I will fix it. I welcome all suggestions and corrections that need to be dealt with or questions about ArtsAround lessons. Example: Human Knot warm up activity in Grade 5 Drama. No can do. Too much human contact. That warm up has a replacement listed instead. No need to go directly to your extremely busy Superintendent with a question. There have been many activities to replace, since COVID. If I miss replacing some, just let me know at email@example.com Also, if links do not work or a PDF is missing, then let Nicole Gibson know, Tech And Website Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Final Comments of the Value of Constructivism
Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers. (critical thinking) They use many techniques in the teaching process by prompting students to formulate their own questions (inquiry) allow multiple interpretations and expressions of learning (multiple intelligences) and social-emotional opportunities! (Transferable skills, for real life).
In a constructivist classroom, learning is an active process. Students are actively engaged and are responsible for their learning. The learner also would make decisions and be confident in their ability to share their ideas and opinions with others. (collaboration)
Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. They become engaged by applying their existing knowledge and real-world experience, learning to hypothesize, testing their theories, and ultimately drawing conclusions from their findings!! That is why constructivism was the chosen theory to put into practice in EVERY ArtsAround lesson! Enjoy the richness in your ArtsAround lessons while still following COVID protocol. They are not mutually exclusive. Jump in, go deep, and you will come out on the other side as a different teacher, once you begin to see the creative, excellent results your students give you in return! Once you are comfortable with teaching the arts ‘integrated style,’ you can relax a little more and really enjoy finding that connecting every lesson to a real-life situation or issue is the best way to teach. Embrace and enjoy the process!