Big Mission: The Key to Making Your Teaching More Meaningful
Professional Development

Big Mission: The Key to Making Your Teaching More Meaningful, Fun, and Integrated with Your Other Art Activities

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Big Mission: The Key to Making Your Teaching More Meaningful, Fun, and Integrated with Your Other Art Activities

Laura Zam

At the heart of a teaching artist’s practice is a personal relationship to art itself. And yet, this often feels compromised as we conform to schools, standards, and testing. Can school-based work be more artistically satisfying–not just for the students but for you? Big Mission: The Key to Making Your Teaching More Meaningful, designed for new and experienced teaching artists, breaks down the Anchor Standards in the Common Core, making them easy to master. Just as importantly, it helps teaching artists connect this content to the deepest levels of their artistry. You’ll never think of “arts integration” in the same way again.


-Understand and practice using Anchor Standards in the Common Core

-Find (or refine) their mission

-Apply their mission to a previous lesson

-Revise this lesson to make it more mission-driven

Curriculum connections:
Inference; Main idea; Integrate and evaluate content in diverse media; read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts

Laura Zam is a writer, performer, speaker, and educator whose work focuses on human potential. Her essays/articles appear in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon, and a host of publications in the U.S. and abroad. Her writing also appears in seven book anthologies. As a solo performer, Laura has created seven full-length, one-person plays, which she’s presented Off-Broadway as well as in schools around the U.S. Awards: Tennessee Williams Fellowship, two Artist Fellowships (DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities), Amiri Baraka Literary Prize, and a grant from the Soros Foundation. As an arts-educator, Laura has worked with post-trauma populations internationally, including teens from the Middle East, wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and sexual trauma survivors. She’s also been passionately involved in K-12 education for 20 years. She has worked in schools as a classroom teacher, teaching artist, visiting performer, teacher educator, and consultant.  As Director of Education for Arena Stage, one of the largest regional theaters in the U.S., she created and oversaw a multitude of arts-integration programs for students, teachers, and administrators. At George Mason University, she was faculty in the Graduate School of Education; Initiatives in Educational Transformation, a master’s program for practicing K-12 teachers.  Since 2008, she has worked with Young Audiences Maryland, performing in assembly programs, teaching residencies, and facilitating professional development. She is a proud graduate of TAI (the Teaching Artist Institute,) where she has been on staff for the past two years. Laura has an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Brown University and a B.A. in Theatre from Brooklyn College.