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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…

Another Way to Listen

National events during this difficult year evidence a need for better models of civil dialogue and respectful communication to solve the complicated issues we face. How can each of us reach across the aisle to shift the direction of the widening divide? As educators who teach by example, how can we think critically about the challenges before us and practice effective communication for synergistic collaboration to achieve creative solutions?   I have learned a lot about this while participating in the BYU ARTS Partnership Native American Curriculum Initiative (NACI). NACI works across various cultures, belief systems, and values. It offers a…

Forest Bathing: Being Outside, Mindfully

The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku is gaining traction across Western cultures. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” Forest bathing, or soaking in the atmosphere of nature through our senses, is a restorative habit. As the arts connect the dots of a shared human experience, the practice of joining with nature through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch also acts as a bridge between people and the natural world. As COVID-19 continues to spread globally and the weather gets colder, finding time or space for just being in nature can prove a challenge. But there’s no such…

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…

Veterans Day Art: Celebrating the Individual and the Community

Melissa Deletant teaches art in the Uintah schools, one of Utah’s most diverse districts. At Lapoint Elementary, which borders the Ute reservation, the population is mostly a mix of Native Americans and the white descendants of Mormon ranchers. Instead of seeing these differences as a challenge, Melissa sees opportunity.  Raised in a homogenous rural Pennsylvania community, Melissa’s first teaching job was in Virginia where 96% of her students were minority populations. Notions of being “color blind” evaporated when she realized that embracing each student’s unique background, perspective, and gifts would help her see the whole student and create a culturally…

“What do you want children in Utah to know about your tribe?”

In 2018 we asked Patty Timbimboo-Madsen, cultural specialist for the Northwestern Tribe of the Shoshone Nation: “What would you like children in Utah to know about your tribe?” That seemingly simple query launched our Native American Curriculum Initiative and models our guiding principle to honor the Native voice.  We asked that pivotal question because educators had expressed anxiety about teaching Native art forms due to misunderstandings and lack of guidance to navigate varying cultural ideologies. Teachers want to integrate other cultures in sensitive, accurate ways, and without guidance, many hesitated to incorporate native topics. As a partnership committed to inclusive…

Bridging the Gap: Mindful Arts Inspiration from Across the Globe

“The earth is what we all have in common.” -Wendell BerryUsing the arts in our daily walk bridges the gap across the things that separate us: time, distance, and privilege. Cultures across the world offer unique ways to daily and mindfully engage in making connections with one another and with our environment through the arts. Here, we discover how a small handful of global artists use found materials in mindful ways that reflect their environment, culture, and life experience. Create a few minutes of space in your day to consider how viewing these artworks affects you. Find effective questioning strategies…

Drama Warm-ups

“Aw…,” “Ha Ha!”, and “Ah-Ha!”: Finding Flow in Drama Warm-ups

On September 23rd, Teresa Love, one of our drama education experts serving on the BYU ARTS Partnership leadership team, worked with elementary school teachers in the Arts Integration endorsement program on the creation of drama lesson plans. What Teresa shares is always golden, pithy, and organized. At the onset of their discussion (their? I was there, so let’s try that again). At the onset of our discussion, she emphasized the importance of selecting strategic warm-ups for drama lessons.  She stated the importance of drama warm-ups by naming the actor’s tools—voice, body, and mind—and asked teachers to reflect on which tools…

Life is Better With the Arts

The arts impact the lives of students, educators, and communities. This idea reflects the founding principle of the Arts for Life initiative. Created by the Utah Partnership for Arts Education, Arts for Life shares stories of how the arts personally affect people. By highlighting these personal stories, the Arts for Life initiative reveals the rich and strong significance of arts education in helping people deal with life’s struggles, giving them hope, and providing a creative outlet. Rhonda Rhodes, a past president of UMEA, explained that creating resources for principals was the original idea uniting the four founding organizations of Arts…

Truth Telling

Image: Navajo Woman Weaving, Navajo Reservation, Arizona 1985. Sue Bennett, Photographer I walked into my living room a while back and saw my nephew’s sons (whom I call grandsons and they call me grandma) using my late mother’s Navajo spindle and batten as swords, chasing and chasing each other around the room. I stopped them both and said, “These were your Grandma Daisy’s weaving tools, and now they are mine to take care of. They are not swords but are tools for weaving rugs.” I brought out several rugs that their great-grandmother had woven and showed them how the tools…

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