Showing posts from 2008

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity? from

Sir Ken Robinson says that Creativity is as important in education as literacy and should be treated with the same status on You really need to watch this and see what you think.

Here's some information on him from
Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance. Robinson's TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."

A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural edu…

Integrated Teaching Through the Arts Workshop January 16th

Keith and Jeff will be offering an Integrated Teaching Through the Arts Workshop at Barnstable High School on January 16th, 2009. This all-day program will focus on the integration of drama, music, movement and poetry into every classroom. The goal of this workshop is to introduce teachers to an arts-based approach to learning that will engage students and energize the classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to learn strategies that they can put to use right away in their own classrooms.

This workshop has filled up very quickly in the past, so all Barnstable teachers should hurry and sign up! Hope to see you there.

Who We Are: Meet Donnie Norton

Donald M. Norton, M.Ed. holds a Masters degree in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University. Over an eight year career he has taught the third, fourth, and fifth grades, as well as English to ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders. Currently Donnie teaches fifth grade English and history at the Abigail Adams Middle School in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Having just completed directing Weymouth High School's senior class musical, he understands the profound impact the arts have on students of all age and ability levels. As a teacher, singer, actor, dancer, storyteller, poet, and father, the arts are an everyday part of Donnie's world.

He has recently developed a teacher-training course called "The Blossoming Learner" that focuses on practical ways to integrate the arts into the everyday learning process. It is designed to expose educators to various arts modalities in a non-threatening way, making it possible for any teacher to immediately bring the arts into t…

Participant Reflections on the K-12 Full-Day Integrated Teaching Through the Arts Workshop

Everyone had a great day at our Integrated Teaching Through the Arts workshop at Barnstable High School on January 18th. Focusing on Creative Movement, Poetry, Music and Drama, the day was full of energy and engagement. Here are some reflections from the participants.
I loved it! I'm excited to go to school next week and try some of the ideas that were presented.
It brought me back to the most important aspect of a child's learning-the process and not necessarily the product.
It gave me more insight as to how some students could learn and understand content better by using kinesthetic methods through the arts.
I got so many great ideas! It was great discussing different subjects and how these ideas could tie into these subjects.
I knew movement was important for children, but now I have some knowledge of how to incorporate it into any area of the curriculum.
Great way of looking at some ways to pique the interest of our students and relay subject matter in a more exciting and engagi…

Creative Movement Workshop with Doug Victor October 4th

I just want everyone to know that Doug Victor will be offering a Creative Movement Workshop on October 4th in Seekonk, MA. This is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed.

Here's some information:


SATURDAY October 4, 2008


Awaken your kinesthetic sense!
Deepen your feelings for movement expression!

The workshop will focus on a natural creative approach to art of body movement which follows an innately known way of being that is inherent in all of us. You will experience this by connecting with yourself and then to others in deeply felt and satisfying ways. You will immerse your total self in a progression of movement studies that will lead to the creation of movement expressions for you as an individual and as a member of a group. Improvisatory by nature, this workshop is for everyone who loves to move or is interested in movement as a means of expression.�…

Why Teach Through the Arts? A Compelling Argument.

I came across this on Ms. Molina's Class Page in a post titled "Brainy Language Arts"and thought I'd share it with you. You can read the entire post, and it's well worth the time, by clicking on the title of this post.

"Why teach with the arts and the brain in mind? Eric Jensen, another pioneer in brain research states, " I support constructivism over mindless factual accumulation, and I favor depth over breadth of knowledge. I favor variety in education over one-size-fits-all." These statements leave little doubt in the reader's mind that Eric Jensen believes in the arts-not test scores alone...He makes it very clear that educators should appeal to the Multiple Intelligences, and that those intelligences lend themselves most efficiently to the arts. From his point of view, he is more concerned with developing thinking, balanced human beings, than developing automated computer-like individuals. His philosophies indicate a belief in the uniquenes…

Integrating Poetry and Music into a Math Class? Yes!

Have you ever thought of integrating poetry and music into your math lessons? It sounds like a great idea to me, and I would think that students would enjoy it as well. Check out the lesson
"A Geometric Song:Patterns in Math and Music" from the Kennedy Center's ARTSEDGE website by clicking on the title of this post. There are a wealth of lessons spanning all grade levels, all subjects, and all arts modalities on the site. It's worth a long look.

You can also get to the site by clicking on it in the links section at the lower right side of your screen. Have fun exploring!

Creating a "safe container" and a judgment-free classroom

I had been thinking about posting about creating a "safe container" and a judgment-free classroom, since that's what we've been focusing on in the first few days of classes. And after reading Donnie's "Set the Tone" post, I wanted to "piggy-back" on some of his points.

I would guess that most people, if not all, who have been made to feel stupid or embarrassed in a classroom setting, put up their defenses and shut themselves down. Why would someone open themselves up to that again? When that happens, creativity is crushed and people feel guarded. To make sure this doesn't happen in my classroom, I lay the groundwork immediately and make it very clear that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in a firm, yet gentle way. Clearly setting boundaries is an important early step in the process.

Creating a "safe container" and judgment-free classroom is not difficult, but it does take effort and follow-through on the part of the…

Set the Tone

As we begin the journey that will be school year 08-09, let us be conscious of setting the tone early and often. We must be sure to guard against any intolerance and judging from the outset. These negative factors will keep some of your students from truly expressing themselves through the arts because they will be concerned about the impending backlash. However, we can create a safe zone by being vigilant and not allowing these negatives to be allowed in our classrooms. Even the "playful" jibe is enough to worry our most self-conscious student. Best of luck to all and remember, we inspire best when we ourselves our inspired to do our best!

Northeastern University Integrated Teaching Through the Arts Course


Integrating Poetry into the Classroom

This group is in the early stages of creating a group poem. The next steps are to lay it out as a journey for the rest of the class to experience and decide how they want to present it.

Integrating Drama into the Classroom

The group on the inside is using Image Theatre to depict an important moment in a story. The group on the outside is doing a gallery walk, where they get to witness the frozen tableau from all sides.

Integrating Creative Movement and Music into the Classrooom

Participants using Creative Movement and Music to energize the classroom and engage learning.

Enroll in Northeastern University's Integrated Teaching Through the Arts course on Cape Cod this July

Keith and Jeff will be offering their Integrated Teaching Through the Arts course through Northeastern University right here on Cape Cod July 14-18. You can take it for 3 graduate credits or 68 PDPs. You can get more information and register for the course right here or by clicking on the title of this post. The course is filling up quickly, so check it out. We hope you can join us.

Songs for Social Studies

Hello everyone! Thank you for your emails and support! You have been wonderful!
I wanted to let you know about an educator friend of mine. His name is Steve MacDonald and he is a music educator who has worked at all levels of the public schools. From kindergartners through seniors in high school, the comments are always the same! We love Mr. MacDonald!
He has created a great teaching program called "Songs for Social Studies". I have created a link in the side bar for your use, or simply click on the title of this post!
Keep on Keepin' on!

Provincetown Elementary African Presentation

Click on the title of this post to view Cape Cod Times photographer Steve Heaslip's photo gallery of Provincetown's elementary school using the arts to learn the global education curriculum. Photo credit: Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times

Provincetown uses the arts to teach global education curriculum

A recent article in the Cape Cod Times reports on how the Veteran's Memorial Elementary School in Provincetown, Massachusetts uses the arts in a day-long celebration aimed at teaching African culture. Click on the title of this post to read the article.

Someone is Always Listening

What is poem?

Don’t give me some long, convoluted definition. Just answer the question. Could you? Don’t worry, I can’t either. I can’t say definitively what poetry is and I can’t say with certainty what poetry isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you and I don’t understand the general concept of poetry. I know we do. All I am saying is that neither you nor I, not even the Poet Laureate, has the ability to say that something is or isn’t a poem unless we have written it ourselves. (If you happen to meet him, please don’t tell him I said he couldn’t!)

One of the first things that I try to drive home with my students is that if they say that something they have written is a poem, then it’s a poem, and no one has the right to tell them otherwise! Around Christmas time, I was invited by the parent council to perform a poetry/storytelling evening at my school. About 200 students and parents (Grades 5-8) came back to school on a Thursday night to take in the show, have some hot cocoa…

That Dirty Little Four-Letter Word

You know what I’m talking about! Everything is perfectly normal in your classroom (well… I mean as normal as it can be). Suddenly the atmosphere is sucked out of your room leaving a soundless, scentless (OK, maybe not scentless if your kids had gym that day) vacuum. The cause? It wasn’t a star burning out and leaving a dense black hole in its wake. It wasn’t the hole in our ozone layer expanding to the point where all oxygen, nitrogen, CO2, and whatever else you science teachers know is up there, is violently ripped from our world’s grasp. (If that’s even possible, I don’t know. I don’t teach science.) This catastrophic shift has not been caused by anything even remotely close to that magnitude. No. It has been caused by the utterance of one seemingly harmless, yet somehow daunting, four-letter word. You know the one.

P-O-E-M! AAAAaaaahhhhh! (Insert the “Kill” theme music from PSYCHO here.)

You know you just found yourself going, “Ree Ree Ree Ree...” all alone in front of your computer?…