Wednesday, November 19, 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 education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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 the classroom community. Giving teachers the confidence to use the arts as an instrument of education, even if they have had no previous training in these art forms, is the goal of "The Blossoming Learner."

Donnie believes that the abilities to be introspective and empathetic are the two most humanizing qualities we possess. In order to create better lifelong learners, students must be provided with a skill set wheel complete with introspection and empathy cogs. This can be accomplished by integrating the arts into the learning

Photo Credit: Photo by IrishEyes Photography

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 engaging way...very successful.

This workshop was totally awesome. It has given me a better insight on how to teach children.

I never realized that using the arts could be done to incorporate so many learning skills.

I spend my whole day trying to get students interacting. This has given me a fresh outlook and great resources to lean on.

Time flew. I never looked at the clock. One of those days I wish I could stay longer in class.

Each of the activities was discussed after and how it could be adapted to different content areas and grade levels.

Provided reassurance that teaching should be student-centered and they should be able to process. It's a journey not a sprint.

Activities were presented with time for the group to experience the activity. Very well done.

The workshop was extremely well organized-minimal amounts of teacher talk- lots of doing. Serves as an example on how to organize and facilitate a workshop.

The workshop was very well organized. The day went by without the need to look at the clock. This is the worst part of the workshop, because it's over!

I will use skills learned in this workshop to raise the comfort level of all students and to lower affective filters.

The group accomplished quite a bit in one day, but the workshop wasn't rushed. I feel like I have a good grasp of each activity and am leaving with confidence and knowledge to try some of the ideas on my own.

I do not believe that it would be possible for a teacher to leave this room today without a new idea and an excitement to get back to work.

I can't come up with any way it should be improved other than making it mandatory for all teachers to participate.

Their [the presenters] knowledge, prep and presentation were inspiring as well as enlightening. I want to go back and be a better teacher.

All presenters certainly knew the material well; however, it was truly the belief in what they were teaching that made the biggest impact.

All three presenters did a wonderful job! There was a great flow to the workshop. They managed to keep everyone engaged.

We will be posting some of the activities that we used during the day in the near future. Please feel free to comment and post some ideas that have worked for you. Keep checking the blog for more workshops and graduate level college courses that we'll be offering in the near future. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to have us come to your school and conduct a workshop or a course.