Arts Express Summer Conference Improves Instructional Practices

Participants who attended the Arts Express Conference on June 10 and 11 are now implementing what they learned in their classrooms. The experiences, collected from implementation reports, indicate great success when integrating the arts into current classroom practices. Below are excerpts from the implementation reports explaining what has been done.

The Power of Play 

        “Our opening speaker, Michael Bahr, was entertaining and motivating. . . . I feel his message on the power of play is important to all those who teach and care for children. . . . I believe that the power of play has also made such a difference this year as I have gone into each classroom. I have begun each class this year with a connecting name/motion game that has helped me come to know my students and vice versa. After our name activity, we went right into a dancing game that the children have loved. I have seen the joy on the faces of the students as they explore creative ways to move. Beginning the year by playing with the children has created a foundation of joy and trust. The children are happy and excited to have me come to class. When they see me come, they know that they will be moving and learning in creative and fun ways.”
                                                         Miriam Bowen, Nebo School District, UT
A New Vision
        “[One] way I am implementing strategies I learned about at Arts Express is by collaborating and co-planning not only with my classes’ teachers, but also with the other arts teachers in the school! We have some great visual art and music programs and I came away from the conference with an exciting vision of taking our three arts and integrating units across the board. I came back and arranged meetings with the other art teachers (which now happen monthly) and we discussed some cool plans for the year.”
                                                   Chelsea Alley, Provo City School District, UT

A More Unified Class
         “The games are a wonderful way to introduce teamwork and create a cohesive community within the classroom. These activities allow the teacher to constantly assess the makeup of the class, get to know the personalities of studentsand help students work together in a variety of groupings. It also helps students see their teacher in a different role–one of a fellow learner, and that being an adult can still mean you can be playful and creative.
         “I have found that this year is off to a smoother start than previous years because the students are willing to work with a variety of partners and groups. They are also looking out for each other and finding ways to include all class members in a wide variety of tasks. I attribute some of this to our early days of play.”
                                        Jennifer Heldenbrand, Provo City School District, UT
Seeing Them Shine
        “My favorite part of the new strategies I have applied, especially in theater, music, and dance content, is the exposure to sides of my students personalities that shine when they feel more productive from being involved. I have also found by integrating the arts more that my students are more focused and motivated with their schoolwork. My students self-confidence and self-esteem have sky rocketed as well. My students even ask for more related opportunities because of the fun they have through their interactions.”
                                                       Colleen Jardine, Jordan School District, UT

Creating the Spark
        “Because my focus is on professional development for teachers, my goal is to teach them how to integrate arts with their students by modeling some lessons and helping them write integrated lessons. Many of the ideas shared in the conference have and will continue to be discussed and used. The concept of how one spark can make a difference that was shared by the keynote speaker really hit home. If I can get a few teachers really excited about the arts and integrate it into their classroom, it will affect all the teachers in the school, and they will start to want to use it more because of the benefits the arts make. That also is the hardest part of my job—making the art of dance do-able so that they will do it with their individual classes. The students love it, and as soon as the teacher sees how well the students respond, retain, and enjoy learning the new standards and objectives in both the core and the arts, it sells itself.”
                                           Holly Margraf-Mayne, Nebo School District, UT
Thank you to everyone who sent in these wonderful experiences and ideas. We enjoyed reading the success stories demonstrating the impact of what you learned at Arts Express on your students’ learning.

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