Featured Teachers

Teachers as Artists: Get to Know Teresa Love

Die-hard lover of the arts, actor, playwright of over 50 plays, director of over 200 productions, producer, and mentor: these are roles that Teresa Love fills as she works in theatre and mentors teachers who, in turn, bring theatre to their students’ lives. Love graduated from BYU in Theatre and Media Arts, with an emphasis in Child Drama. For twenty-five years, she worked in Los Angeles, engaging in all aspects of theatre for young audiences. She also worked as an elementary drama specialist in the Fullerton School District. Since moving to Utah fifteen years ago, Love began working adjunct at…

I Am a Teacher

by Christy Bryant Nielsen(Inspired by my mentor, Janet Sant) I could have been a dancerperforming on a giant stage.Moving to the music in my head or the beat of my heartas it moved me across the empty space.Gliding, Leaping, Spinning, BowingBut now I move children towards following their own dreams. I could have been an actressin the movies or on the stageHelping people feel their emotions through tears or laughter;being known by everyone on the street;Famous, Beloved, Idolized, WealthyBut now I listen to children laugh and share their feelings with me. I could have been an artistdrawing on a canvasSketching…

Playgrounds: Exploring Global Play Spaces through Art

As a kid, few things were more exciting than recess. The second the bell rang I would run out to the playground to claim foursquare courts and aggressively compete in tetherball, wallball, and dodgeball. Some days I’d simply wander off the blacktop with friends searching for clover. I’ll never forget the day we dug up an old piece of a gardening hose and were convinced it was dinosaur skin! Words like dodgeball, wallball, and tetherball may be foreign to today’s children and not just because of our distance in age, but for many because of our geographical distance and cultural…

Teachers as Artists: Get to Know Heather Francis

Dancer, mathematician, educator, arts integrator, and BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team member Heather Francis is passionate about advocating for the arts for children. When Heather hears the stories of individuals who were transformed by their arts experiences at any stage of life, she is buoyed up and reminded why she works so hard to turn the wheel that many before her have been turning for so long. “The arts are essential to making meaning in our lives, for connecting with others and developing empathy. But maybe more important to me, is the ability of the arts to teach me about…

Dance for All Abilities: Instructional Strategies for Every Classroom

I like a bargain! When I get the biggest bang for my buck, a delightful feeling springs up inside of me. This is a personality trait that has stuck with me over the years. Getting the biggest bang for your buck is a mantra I live by when creating content for my students. Developing a cardio-focused version of the BrainDance, connecting dance movement to the core curriculum, and providing classroom teachers with extra movement resources are a few ways I have practiced giving educators and students a big bang for their buck.  Over the past five years, I have developed…

Teachers as Artists: Get to Know Jennifer Purdy

Jennifer Purdy has seen firsthand how art changes lives. Now, Jennifer is helping to change more lives by mentoring educators who are bringing the arts to their students. Jennifer is a BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team member, the program coordinator for the Arts Integration Endorsement class, and works to make sure educators learn basic art skills, learn how to teach the arts and encourage arts leadership in schools and communities.   Jennifer began taking piano lessons when she was five years old. “I had a variety of teachers, but my piano teacher, Lucille Wilson, taught me how to love music, to…

Teachers as Artists: Get to Know Cindy Clark

“The arts make the world worth living in and help define purpose.”   Cindy Clark, BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team member, visual artist, singer (in the shower), piano player and teacher, works hard to ensure that teachers and future teachers feel comfortable and successful with the visual arts.   Cindy is currently helping participants in the Arts Integration Endorsement classes to get more comfortable with an art form. For example, everyone in the class recently played with watercolors in their personal sketchbooks. “We talked about sketchbooks/journals, and used watercolors as background or borders for our journals,” Cindy said. “Plus, we threw in…

Classroom Management, Part 2: Hands-on Techniques for Tier 2 and 3 Students

My last blog post was centered around laying a foundation for good classroom management that targeted all Tier 1 students. If you missed that post, read it here! Tier 1 refers to support for all students in the classroom. This is where about 80% of your students will be. Tier 2 refers to a small group of students who may need differentiated strategies to aid in their behavioral progress in class. This will only account for about 15% of your students. Tier 3 refers to students who need individualized plans that support their specific needs. This accounts for less than…

Classroom Management, Part 1: Go Back to the Basics and Get More Done

WARNING! WARNING!! RED ALERT!!! Winter break is approaching. Be prepared for classroom parties, students missing your class, whole classes missing your class, quarantined students missing your class, and the inevitable rise in behavioral issues.  In all seriousness, the holiday season is upon us. NOW is when your classroom management skills are put to the test. I often thought that classroom management was a skill that you either had or you didn’t. (Like it was some innate survival instinct that you were born with.) But notice that I keep using the word skill. According to Merriam-Webster, a skill is “a learned…

Critique in the Classroom: How to Use A Gallery Wall

The art room is a busy place with projects, supplies, and students everywhere. As artists, we are all so invested in the art-making process that many times we don’t leave enough time to stop, appreciate, and reflect on all that we have accomplished and learned along the way.  My students’ absolute favorite day is our “Gallery Wall” day. During gallery wall time, every student gets to display their artwork to the class. We discuss and critique each piece in a safe and respectful environment. This time is spent focusing on the positive and calling attention to the detail, uniqueness, and…

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