Arts at Work: Transforming Teachers, Classrooms, and Students

We recently heard from several teachers who have included the arts in their classrooms as a result of their attendance at our teacher workshop, Brigham Young University’s Arts Leadership Academy. They saw the arts at work and shared with us several transformative experiences.

Here are a few of their stories:

Changed as a Person; Changed as a Teacher

“The BYU Arts Leadership Academy has changed my life and my teaching. I have found out who I am, what I believe, and what my gifts are. Knowing who I am has made me realize that it is ok to put a focus on the arts in my teaching. The Academy helped me realize that the arts are important in my life and the lives of my students. Just knowing this has made me a better teacher and improved my practice.”

Lois Mortensen, Jordan School District, UT

A More Open Learning Environment

There has been a change in my classroom since I started going to Arts Academy! My students are more open and comfortable with one another. They aren’t afraid to express themselves and to try something unusual. They have learned to be more creative and seem to look forward to new things. They tell me that I make learning fun and that they love school. Last week they even asked if they could stay a few more hours after school on a Friday because the day had gone by too fast! Often times they will even moan when it’s time to go home! I love that they love to learn!

Jacquelin Webster, Jordan School District, UT

Noteable Reading Gains

“I now integrate art techniques into my reading and writing instruction, and I feel as though my students have made great strides in their ability to read, write, and comprehend. I have never seen students make as much progress in reading and writing as my students did this past school year.”

“I even had one student go from reading a DRA level 6, to a DRA Level 28. That is 9 reading levels! I was so amazed at the progress that this particular student made, and I know that his love of art, and learning how to “see” the small details when drawing, made a world of difference for him and how much progress he made in reading and writing.”

Jaycee Weaver, Alpine School District, UT

A Start to Communication

“I have a student who couldn’t speak or write until I started letting him draw pictures for notes. Now he will come to me after a lesson, and he has drawn me a diagram. He still won’t talk to the other kids, but he will come whisper to me, ‘this is what my diagram means.’ He has mapped out my whole lesson using pictures. He communicated with me through art.”

Jayme Gandara, Provo City School District, UT

Enjoying Life More

“I feel that I’ve really benefited from a concentrated focus on the various arts. It has changed me as a teacher and in my personal life as well. It’s given me a better awareness of the arts and the importance of having an understanding and an appreciation of each of the different arts. It’s actually helped me enjoy life more and see life a little differently.”

Shellie Olsen, Nebo School District, UT

Thank you, teachers, for sharing your stories with us! They inspire and motivate us. We are amazed at the results you have seen.

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