Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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.

WHEN... Saturday October 4... 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

WHERE... Jacobs Barn Studio, 130 Jacob Street , Seekonk, Massachusetts

TUITION... $50
(some scholarship available)

Contact Doug at doug.dance@juno.com

An approach to body movement as an art activity pioneered by Barbara Mettler, student of Mary Wigman in the early 1930s. Creative dance awakens the kinesthetic sense, deepens the kinesthetic capacity for movement expression, and provides the fundamentals to experience the joy of movement for anyone interested.
It is a language whose vocabulary is the interplay of the elements of dance, force, time, and space and whose expression is realized through individual, small and large group improvisation. The study and practice of creative dance supports a primary need for collective movement expression shared by us all.

The workshop serves as an introduction to the art of body movement which comes out of the Mettler-based tradition. This study deepens our understanding of movement expression as a basic human need. It is open to anyone who wishes to further develop his/her capacity for movement expression and move
creatively with others.
Expect to explore movement possibilities, be open to making discoveries as your movement unfolds, and to immerse yourself fully in the experience of your own moving individually and in relation to others. The workshop is
recommended for everyone... teachers, therapists, clergy, dancers, artists, musicians, or anyone who is interested in movement expression. Applications of the work are many and include the fields of education, counseling, recreation, all the arts, and, of course, life itself.

Doug has taught creative dance for over 30 years. In addition to his private teaching, he directs Creative Dance Providence and teaches nationally for the Creative Arts in Learning Graduate Program at Lesley University in Cambridge. A founder of the International Association for Creative Dance, he has taught extensively across the United States, and in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii. Upcoming teaching venues include Georgia, Alaska, and Scotland.

This studio is a beautifully restored barn just 6 miles east of Providence with easy access from Route 195. Surrounded by acres of fields and woodlands, we will be dancing on a heated and cushioned maple wooden floor. The studio has vaulted ceilings and windows on four sides. This natural setting will perfectly support the weekend's creative dance work.

IACD is a full 501 (3) c non-profit membership organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for the study and teaching of Mettler-based creative dance along with networking within the dance community. Among the organization's activities, there is a newsletter published twice yearly and the Creative Dance Congress is produced each summer. In June 2009 the Congress will take place at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Check out IACD's website at www.dancecreative.org. It links directly to the Barbara Mettler website.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

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 uniqueness of man...a uniqueness in thought and emotion that needs to be nurtured; he claims that it is especially important with the acceleration in technology. He further contends that learning through the arts is long term; knowledge that is memorized specifically for a test, on the other hand, lasts only a short time unless that content is transferred and applied. He points out that creating lessons that use higher modalities of thought give students long lasting skills and concepts. Activities or assessments that require a transfer of concepts take a long time to develop the synaptic functions, but when developed, provide fine motor skills, creativity, and emotional balance into adulthood. That is quite a claim, but one worth striving for....He supports this claim writing that the arts enhance learning because the systematic integration of the arts developed sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capabilities-all are necessary in the learning process. In other words, the arts develop the brain! As a bonus, the arts reach students who normally disengage from the traditional setting-integration of the arts allows students to discover, find their own level, and most of all, experience real world learning."

I put the last sentence in bold letters, because that is one of the most important parts of arts-based teaching--engaging all of those students who otherwise wouldn't be reached.

If you would like to read more of Eric Jensen's work, we recommend:
Jensen, E. (2001). Arts with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

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!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

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 teacher and students. I foster this idea in my classroom by starting out the year doing icebreakers and energizers that help students get to know each other and feel more comfortable in the class setting. But before I do any of this, I let them know in a firm, yet gentle way, that everyone in the classroom is valued and that laughing at someone, putting them down, or just making a gesture (like rolling of the eyes) will not be part of our classroom practice. If it does happen, I simply stop the activity and use the teachable moment to remind students of our classroom practices. I usually only have to do this once or twice if at all. Try it. It has worked wonders in my classroom.

Once students feel safe in my classroom, it becomes an enjoyable and exciting place for them to be, and they start looking forward to being there. And, of course, creativity flourishes and learning soars!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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!