Articles by Month: September 2013
The Teaching Artist Institute (TAI) is made possible in partnership with Young Audiences, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS), and the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). TAI partners and generous sponsors, like the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, provide funding and support that make this training opportunity accessible to all qualified artists.
Taylor DeBoer, Communications Manager for the Deutsch Foundation, joined us for the first day of the 2013 TAI Seminar retreat last week and shared his experience on the foundation’s blog. Check it out!
Earlier this week, Kurtis Donnelly, Young Audiences Program Director, shared his experience visiting Stadium School to watch Young Audiences artist Max Bent lead the class in an arts-integrated math lesson this summer. Max also recently posted about his time at Stadium on his blog Outside the Box.
Stadium was one of 10 sites where Young Audiences artists worked with classroom teachers to co-teach arts-integrated math and STEM lessons and offer arts enrichment programs as a part of Baltimore City Public Schools’ five-week-long Summer Academy program.The program aims to fight summer learning loss by keeping students active and engaged during the summer months.
Read more about Max’s experience on his blog, Outside the Box. Click here to see more photos from this summer’s arts-integrated programs on Flickr.
Photo by Max Bent
Teaching Artist Institute 2013, a set on Flickr.
The 2013 Teaching Artist Institute (TAI) Seminar kicked off with a three-day retreat at Southwest Baltimore Charter School last week. The 2013 TAI class boasts being the largest in the program’s seven-year history. More than 50 teachers, artists, and staff from other Young Audiences affiliates around the country learned how to integrate the arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) into the curriculum through an arts residency. During the course of the next several months, each artist will work with a classroom teacher partner to co-create an arts residency and field-test the program with students. The TAI program provides valuable professional development training to artists and teachers and aims to foster a community among artists, empowering them to use their talents to inspire students in the classroom.
By Danyett Tucker, Young Audiences visual artist and illustrator
Do you think there is a difference between listening and hearing? One of my professors once asked me to illustrate Jimmy Hendrix’s song “Voodoo Child.” The project made me see art in a new light. I don’t think I’ve ever had to listen to lyrics as hard as I did to really hear Jimmy. After hitting repeat over and over again, I finally heard Jimmy and realized the power of his music. I realized that music has the power to unite us by telling stories that we can all identify with and illustrating themes of what it means to be human.
This summer I worked with Baltimore City middle school students at Rognel Heights as a part of Young Audiences’ partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools Summer Academies which brought Young Audiences artists to 10 sites throughout the city. In the mornings I partnered with the
sixth-grade science teacher to incorporate arts integration with the summer science curriculum, and each afternoon my mural painting class was one of the choices offered to students for arts enrichment.
Summer programming is a valuable resource for Baltimore City students. Many Baltimore neighborhoods are deprived and neglected. Many lack basic necessities, such as access to fresh groceries or safe places for children to play and the community to gather, preventing individuals and families from thriving. Challenges related to gun violence, poverty, public health, and family structure are obstacles for students in these communities to remain focused and committed to their education. These challenges can also make summer the scariest time of the year for students in the inner city. Without a regular school schedule, these children lack access to school lunches, a safe place to spend the day, and activities that keep them intellectually engaged.
My goal for the summer learning program was to show my students how music combined with a public work of art can play an important role in restoring a community’s broken spirit. I wanted to encourage them to uplift each other through the powerful lyrics and positive messages that we shared during our mural project.
To guide the project, I selected a series of songs that spoke to community concerns. We started with one of my favorite songs of all time, Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything.” I began by demonstrating how illustrators turn words into pictures. We illustrated the chorus together and then students had the chance to pick a verse of the song that painted the clearest picture in their mind and illustrate it.
Next was Cat Stevens’ “Where Do the Children Play?” which introduced students to creating depth in settings. The environmental references in this song are so profound and led to deep discussions about the physical conditions of our communities. I talked with students about using public spaces to promote a cause or message and how music and art combined can move a community to action.
The next songs on the soundtrack were Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” and “One Love.” Imagine the vibe in the classroom as we collectively realized that gun violence wasn’t just something in the news–many of us had friends or family who had been affected by gun violence. We listened to Bob’s words of peace, love, and his call for all to move to action and reflected on the social commentary of the times.
As we continued work on our mural, we began focusing on the people depicted and drawing proportions. The students wanted to create a piece with a lasting legacy that would awaken civic responsibility in all viewers of the mural.
The final 12-panel mobile mural portrayed people coming together and holding up signs that displayed community declarations. Places to play, to honor loved ones lost, and to highlight every day community heroes were interwoven throughout our visual testimony.
Click on the images above to see the “A” and “B” sides of the completed mural.
We ended the project on a personal note and illustrated Emily King’s, song “Walk in My Shoes,” because let’s face it, if we could walk in each other’s shoes we would spend less time judging, hating, and bullying others.
The students were inspired by the music and were so expressive in the images they created. They were singing along with the songs by the time we started painting. They couldn’t wait to get to my class every day and they didn’t want to leave. The work we created was magical and the five C’s–culture, comparisons, connections, communication, and community–were covered in this socially conscious endeavor. Every student was carrying their community on their shoulders and felt a civic responsibility to represent the voices of many through their art.
I could not have been happier with the outcome. The confidence of each student soared during the five-week program, and I know they will listen harder to the music they hear from now on and think about the messages that are received and sent. One voice, one love, and one heart! Let’s get together and feel all right!
Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance is hosting the September Maryland Arts Integration Network (MAIN) event on Friday, September 27, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the 149-acre Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Baltimore County. The focus of the morning will be on environmental education and the arts. AEMS, the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), and Young Audiences are partnering to offer this program. The program will include strategies for integrating fine arts and environmental content, a networking session, and an opportunity to tour the facility and the park.
The networking discussion will be crafted to address the interests of arts and arts integration educators and science/environmental educators.
A $10 donation will be asked for all MAIN Events. These monies will go to the host venue for light breakfast fare and any remaining monies will be donated to the host site to support programs in arts education.
Friday, September 27, 2013
9:30 am to 12:00 pm
Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park
1114 Shawan Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030
To request a registration form, please contact Alexa Milroy at: [email protected].
By Kurtis Donnelly, Young Audiences Program Director
This summer I went and observed one of our artists, Max Bent, working with students at Stadium School as a part of our partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools Summer Learning Academies. Max is truly a master of arts integration–combining his artistic knowledge and his understanding of the curriculum–having been a public school science teacher for eight years.
Max is primarily a beatboxer, but is talented in many different artistic disciplines. As I walked into his class, it was unlike any math class I had ever seen before. It was evident all around the room that there was a strong connection between math and art happening there. Here is a picture of a graph the students created (graphing was a math skill they focused on during the first week of the program) in which students graphed the pitch and beats of the song “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”:
Across the room were data sets like the one seen below. As Max taught students the elements of beatboxing–Bass, HiHat and Clap–they also worked on proportions.
Students also were working on a new project that Max and his partner classroom teacher had created together. Max used his experience in visual art and design to create a project where students were designing their own beverages, all while continuing the class’ study of proportion, scale, volume, and fractions. Students were able to use elements of design to create the visual aspects of the drink, and, by plotting their bottle designs on graph paper, were able to study scale.
During the five weeks of Summer Academies, Young Audiences artists like Max co-taught arts-integrated lessons with Baltimore City teachers each morning, and provided an in-depth study of an art form as an enrichment activity each afternoon. The arts both incentivized students to attend school during the summer and helped combat summer learning loss for Baltimore City students who might not have the opportunities to stay active and engaged during summer vacation. Lessons like Max’s expanded students’ knowledge of music and sound but also made abstract math concepts relatable and fun.
Every day, Young Audiences artists, teacher partners, staff, board members, and supporters work to fulfill our mission of providing opportunities for Maryland students to imagine, create, and realize their full potential through the arts. In addition to our monthly enewsletter, this blog will share the stories of our work in Maryland schools and examples of the profound impact the arts have on learning.
By Sue Trainor, Young Audiences artist and singer/songwriter
In 1998, I sang for the first time in a classroom for and with children who have profound special needs. That 45-minute gig rocked my world: the children may not have been “typical” physically or cognitively, but their connectivity was palpable and potent! I still get goosebumps thinking about it. Ever since, my motto has been, “meet people where they are,” because you miss out if you don’t reach out.
This spring I had the opportunity to work with William S. Baer School in Baltimore City, another school attended by children with profound special needs. During my eight-week residency at the school I worked in four preschool classrooms with children who were three to five years old, but were approximately 12 months old developmentally. Many of them were very fragile medically, most were non-verbal, and some were non-locomotor. Several were blind and/or deaf.
This residency followed the Wolf Trap 16-Session Literacy Residency model. I have been on the roster of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts since 2003, and I’m thrilled that Young Audiences has just joined the Wolf Trap family as the Maryland sponsor of Wolf Trap programs! In the Wolf Trap model, the teaching artist’s primary goal is to provide professional development for the classroom teachers by modeling arts-integrated strategies and coaching the teacher to practice the strategies in the classroom with students. It sounds serious and technical, and it is in some ways, but didn’t we just have the best time ever!
I’m a musician, so the artistic interest for me is the exploration of my art form’s fundamental expression and interpersonal connectivity. What does it mean, for example, to sing with someone who is non-verbal? It’s not singing in the traditional sense, but what is it that makes singing together work? Can we still engage in a more basic element of joined vibration? We can, and it is joyful—all the more so because it’s usually a brand new experience for the children and the response is profound.
I think fondly of Sean, a four-year old student at Baer. He is blind and non-verbal, and he loves music. I would play my ukulele and he would belt out his sounds. It was delightful! One day while we were waiting for the class to assemble, I sat face to face with him and joined his vocalizing, using his sounds. He was surprised at first, but he leaned in, kept “singing,” and together we created a joined sound-space and a profound connection. Now his teacher understands and can do this as well.
One of my favorite lesson experiences that came out of this residency was “Funky Duck.” The children were learning shapes, and the traditional math teaching strategies had them focusing on a specific shape which was velcroed to a felt board. The student’s task was to pull the shape off the board (or focus on the shape with their eyes if they were immobile). More advanced students were supposed to choose a specific shape from a small group of different shapes
I used the same fundamental teaching strategy, but I transferred it to a puppet that I dubbed “Funky Duck.” I velcroed shapes on the puppet’s chest, taught the teachers basic puppet manipulation, and created a chant for them to recite to a steady beat:
“I’m Funky Duck, hey hey
I’m Funky Duck, hey hey
I want to know, can you find
My circle today?”
We had 100% success—the children loved the puppet, focused intently and reached out to pull off the shape. The teachers promptly scoured their classrooms for puppets of their own that they could adapt to this and other purposes, including lessons about numbers, colors, and letters.
I look forward to returning to Baer School this fall, to reconnect with my preschool friends and to develop new connections in classrooms with older students.
Click here to learn more about Maryland Wolf Trap residencies. To schedule a program, please contact Young Audiences at 410-837-7577.
By Kevin Martin, Steel drum musician
Young Audiences artists and teacher partners have written case studies documenting their work in schools and their exploration of one essential question. Each study provides a snapshot of how the artist or teacher works with students to integrate the arts into the curriculum and provide opportunities for students to imagine, create, and realize their full potential through the arts.
Project or Program Summary
For the Harford County Public Schools Title I STEAM Institute in July 2012, four Young Audiences artists were brought together to work with a group of Harford County teachers to help them develop their arts integration skills.
I taught a two-session program called “The Physics of Steel Drums.” Each session combined a steel drum rehearsal and a science lesson. I worked with the group to show how learning the steel drums could be combined with understanding the science behind the drums, working through basic wave theory. The program ended with a group performance of two songs on the steel drums and with small group demonstrations of wave theory using arts integration.
Purpose and Rational
As part of a year-long program to bring arts integration learning to all five Harford County Title I schools, this program showed teachers how to bring music into their classrooms by helping them begin to see themselves as musicians. By empowering the teachers with the ability to play and the confidence to perform music while learning science curriculum objectives, we can help empower them to bring that same experience to their students.
In order to develop their ability to use arts integration in their teaching, it’s important for teachers to develop the confidence to take on arts projects that are new to them. The question that was explored with each group of teachers was: ”Are you a musician?”
Surveys were taken at the beginning and end of this program to measure the change in how teachers felt about performing music and whether they can view themselves as musicians, even if this was their first musical instrument experience.
Analysis and Outcomes
What are your overall conclusions regarding the documentation gathered for this case study?
This program was successful in its goal of empowering teachers to have the confidence to use music performance in their classroom teaching. Specifically, this project helped to change their view of themselves as musicians and decrease their anxiety of performing in front of others as well as taking on other art projects in which they have no background.
What conclusions have you drawn from the responses to the assessment tools you have developed?
Teachers work hard to become experts in the field of study that they teach. It is part of “what they stand on” when they teach. One of the barriers to bringing arts-integrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) lessons to the classroom without the aid of a teaching artist is that teachers can be uncomfortable teaching something in which they are not an expert. Many described it as feeling vulnerable.
By learning to play songs on the steel drum while learning core curriculum science objectives, the teachers agreed at the end of the program that it would be fun to try to incorporate other art forms like painting, acting, and dancing without having to be excellent at the art form themselves.
Back to the initial inquiry question, can it be answered?
Yes. When looking at the question “Am I a musician?” we started by listing what it would take for each teacher to answer “yes”:
- Be able to play songs well enough to perform.
- Have the confidence to play those songs for other people.
- Express oneself through music.
Each teacher, by successfully completing the program and through feedback given on a conclusion survey, achieved all three goals.
Summary and Conclusions
What was learned?
Teaching using arts integration is a great way to bring core subject material to life in the classroom and reach all types of learners. For classroom teachers to write and teach arts-integrated lessons, it is essential that they have the confidence and ability to take on projects that will require them to learn an art form with their class or even to be guided in art forms by their students who have specific art skills. By teaching teachers to play music and to see themselves as musicians we can achieve this.
What can be done differently in the future?
In the future, this program can be taken one step further by working with teachers with the instruments that they can get their hands on at their school to use in their classroom. During this program teachers learned how to play the steel drums and this is not an easy instrument to get a hold of for classroom work.
To help address this issue, Young Audiences has prepared a box of musical instruments that each of the five Harford County Title I schools can have access to for arts-integrated lessons.
I also would like to build into the program a final section where teachers can create a musical demonstration or activity for a subject of their choice.
How will this inform the work moving forward?
In February 2013, I worked with four of the five Harford County Title I schools whose teachers were trained at this program. I was able to work one-on-one and in small groups with teachers to help them start writing their own arts-integrated lesson plans using these instruments as well as those that the classes can make themselves.