At Fall PD, Teams Share What’s On Their Minds

5 March 2018

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At the fall 2017 Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Meeting of the (C3)2 project, curriculum director Laura Reeder welcomed Grade 4 and 5 classroom teachers, specialty teachers and teaching artists. “This year is going to be different from the project’s previous two years,” Ms. Reeder stressed. For each of the previous projects, the (C3)2 administrators chose cultural partners for each team of educators. “This year, classroom teachers have chosen the cultural partners they will be working.” Ms. Reeder, who couldn’t be at the meeting in person, connected with the P2P participants virtually (below).

 

Creative Classroom Collaboratives

 

To kick off the day of planning arts-integrated units for fall 2017, Ms. Reeder asked the group to choose someone in the room and find out what their thoughts are as they prepare for their next project.

 

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Afterwards, the educators reported what had been said to the whole group (below). Overall, the groups were enthusiastic about the creative work they anticipated doing with their students in the classroom, but were concerned about having time to collaborate with their fellow teachers, teaching artists and specialty teachers (see “What’s on (C3)2 Educators and Artists’ Minds?” below).

 

 

What’s on (C3)2 Educators and Artists’ Minds?

 

Here is a sample of the concerns and hopes recently shared by project educators and artists:

 

"I’m concerned about developing an arts component that is valuable and that can be incorporated seamlessly into the curriculum.”

 

“The biggest issue for me is the collaboration. I want things to be done and done well.”

 

“I’m looking forward to bringing arts into the classroom and sharing it with the special classes.”

 

“I’m excited to see how we’ll connect the work of the performing artist to our curriculum.”

 

“As I move into the project’s new year, I feel comfortable working with the teaching artists. I know the curriculum and arts will be woven together smoothly.”

 

“I’m concerned about finding time to collaborate with other teachers and specialists.”

 

“This year, I have a number of students who have trouble sitting still and attending. I think this program is really going to help them.”
 
 

 

Next, Ms. Reeder asked the P2P participants to gather with their grade level teams and teaching artist partners. “To begin the process of creating your fall arts-integrated unit plans, I’d like you to unpack the reasons why you’ve chosen the cultural partner you’ll be working with. How did you choose your partner? Why is the cultural partner meaningful to your curriculum unit?” Following a brainstorming session, the teams reported back to the whole group.

 

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One group, whose students are slated to see Lyle Cogen's “Sticks and Stones,” a theatrical production with an anti-bullying message, reported that bullying is part of their curriculum. The group also anticipated making connections to the music curriculum. Another team noted that their visit to the Long Island Museum will allow students to gain a deeper understanding of colonial life, which they’ll be studying in the classroom. A third group, which chose the Martial Artists and Acrobats of Tianjin troupe for their cultural partner, plans to use the performance as a springboard for lessons in social studies, art and science. “I plan to explore how art reflects cultural values, how everyday objects can be used to create art, and how science is employed in the creation of movement and dance,” said teaching artist Kendra Mace.

 

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The teams spent the rest of the morning planning their arts-integrated units. “Now it’s time to create your unit plans and clarify who will do what,” said Ms. Reeder. “Once your unit plan is developed, I’d like you to create a Pecha Kucha.” (A Pecha Kucha is a story-boarded PowerPoint.) “The Pecha Kucha will enable you to communicate succinctly with your colleagues who were unable to attend today's meeting," she added. "The educators will know what's been planned and how they can get involved.”

 

In the afternoon, Loretta Corbisiero, (C3)2 project director, introduced Joy Zacharia and Laura Satkowski from Metis Associates. Metis Associates is conducting an evaluation of the (C3)2 project's implementation and impact. “Data gathering is an important component of this project,” Ms. Corbisiero stressed.

 

The Metis team reported the results of data collected for the project’s Year 3. Ms. Zacharia told participants that the analysis for students had rendered “powerful” data. For example, students in the treatment group saw more improvements in the 4C's (Creativity and Innovation; Collaboration; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; and Communication) than those in the control group. In addition, Ms. Zacharia reported positive feedback among teachers when they were asked whether they felt confident, organized, and comfortable during the collaboration and sharing of ideas. Unfortunately, the number of teacher respondents was too small to offer significant findings.

 

Ms. Zacharia and the project’s educators discussed possible solutions for Year 4. Better communication between the project’s lead teachers and their colleagues at the schools was seen as an important step to increasing sample size and thus, improving the analysis, in the future.

 

The P2P meeting culminated with the teacher teams sharing plans for their fall arts-integrated projects with the whole group. They presented their Pecha Kuchas. Here's an example of a Grade 4 team's plans for an arts-integrated Colonial America project. 

 

 

 

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