So I have to admit I was a little hesitant about going to this year’s workshop at The United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute, provided by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County (supported in part by the N.C. Arts Council) and located at the Cary Arts Center. But why? After all it was my idea and I did enthusiastically talk my fellow colleagues to go along with me so we could work as a team on this. The date was drawing nearer and I found myself asking, “Why do I do these things to myself? School just ended, no more thinking about teaching for awhile, time to work on the art of relaxation… how did I talk myself into going to a workshop?”
On Monday I drove to the Cary Arts Center bright and early and by the end of the day I was totally hooked! So, now I can’t wait to go back to the art room in August and show students what I’ve learned, and I’m even looking forward to attending next year’s Arts Integration Institute on the Advanced Track (and this was only the first day, still four more days to go…). This week my friends and I are working on the Immersion Track with lots of other vibrant and dedicated teachers and it’s turning out to be filled with totally wonderful, relevant, hands on activities. This all validates the fact that in art lies a powerful learning tool, one that engages learners (of all age and learning styles), promotes socialization through collaboration, and encourages critical thinking through problem solving.
Monday morning, a Multiple Intelligences Workshop, We’re Smart in so Many Ways, facilitated by Mimi Herman, allowed us to discover how we learn, what we need to want and be able to learn, and activities that can be applied to the classroom to make it come alive as we went on a MI Treasure Hunt and even made a brain based on our own MI (No, not a real brain but one made of paper, pipe cleaners, foam board, markers, etc…). In the afternoon, we were honored by the artistic and skillful expertise of Hobey Ford as we learned about how to create stories using shadow puppets in the Visual Arts Workshop, Telling Folktales with Shadow Puppetry. We worked in groups to create our own stories, shadow puppets and performances. Today (Tuesday) we worked on a drama and music workshop facilitated by Imani Gonzalez and Lenore Blank Kelner (both are presenters for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), called A Doorway to Culture and Reading Comprehension Explored through Music and Drama. In groups we created soundscapes and several performance pieces based on the West African folktale, The Hunterman and the Crocodile, written and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite.
I really want to come back next week and tell you about my experience in tomorrow’s workshop called, Condensing the Water Cycle: Integrating Science, Social Studies & Poetry (with Extra-Special Additions: Visual Art and Dance), facilitated by Mimi Herman of the United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute.