Celebrating Teachers as Artists and Leaders at MC3

IMG_4352 copyWhat does it mean to be both an artist and educator? How do we bring our best creative selves into the classroom? How can schools serve as centers for creativity and exploration?

Over the course of July 10-13, educators explored many of these questions as part of Maryland Centers for Creative Classrooms, a four day professional development intensive facilitated by the Maryland State Department of Education and Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance and hosted by the Coppin State University Dance Department and Arts Every Day. Each day began with a daily mindfulness practice for focus and self-care followed by discipline-specific practice in visual art, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, and theater. Encouraged to create and learn as artists first, participants connected across art form and content area to build an inspired and supportive community of educators.

With a focus on elevating the educator as artist and creative, the week offered participants multiple pathways of focus across artistic disciplines.

Classroom teachers and educators across grade level and content area in the Arts Integration Pathway chose dance, music, visual art, or theater as an artform of focus for the week. With each morning spent with a master teaching artist, the week offered participants the opportunity to learn, explore, and engage in the artform as artists with many reaching far outside their areas of comfort to zone. Taking the skills, terminology, and techniques of the artform, educators worked throughout each afternoon to create an Inquiry Based Arts Integration Plan connecting the artform and a non-art content area such as Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, or Science.

The Arts Education Pathway offered arts educators the opportunity to reconnect with their identities as artists and immerse themselves in the art making process as well. For many arts educators, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to maintain an art making practice throughout the school year. This pathway offered an entry point for participants to re-energize as creatives in visual art, instrumental music, vocal music, and theater. With a basis in studio practice, the arts educator group worked to connect their art form and classroom to the community by building a Community Arts Project plan.

Within each school building, principals, vice principals, administrators, and lead teachers have a unique role to play in establishing expectations and a support system for arts rich learning school-wide. School Administrators in the Arts Education Leadership Pathway discussed strategies to initiate and support creative teaching and learning within their school buildings. Many school administrators who do not have a background in the arts making said it is difficult to speak the language of the arts and assess arts rich teaching and learning in the classroom. Participants in the Leadership Pathway practiced observing fine arts and arts integration lessons in action by sitting in on the other pathway sessions looking for specific indicators of instruction using the MC3 Assessment Framework. These leaders are bringing a fresh approach to professional development, teacher observation, and school wide arts planning back to their schools this Fall.

19990509_1448890225154722_1040198648692812109_nEach participant left MC3 having created an actionable plan for the 2017-18 School Year. The four day intensive doesn’t stop here; there will be two check in points throughout the school year to support educators in implementing the lesson plans, community art projects, and professional development workshops they created throughout the week. On behalf of the entire Arts Every Day team, we thank the educators, administrators, facilitators and artists who made MC3 Baltimore City a success! We cannot wait to see you in action this Fall!

Special thanks to our partners at Coppin State University Dance program, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland State Arts Council, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, and Baltimore City Public Schools for a successful week!


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