A celebration of integrating creative movement, visual arts, drama, poetry, music, and storytelling into everyday teaching practices since 2006. This is a place to both share and learn new approaches that engage and energize our students, our teaching practices and ourselves.
The New York Times piece "Is Algebra Necessary" is sure to elicit strong responses on all sides. For me it raises a larger question: why do we teach what we teach? Is it because it has value for our students or is it because it's always been done that way and is propagating an outmoded educational system that was developed in the 19th century to train factory workers or is it something else? Worth thinking about.
Drama is a performing art, an outlet for self-expression, and a way of learning. Drama is an effective learning tool because it involves the student intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. Activities in improvisation, pantomime, play-making, and scene reenactment serve to develop the creative potential in the participants and help to develop critical thinking skills. In answering the question, "Why teach drama?'", theater director and teaching artist Matt Buchanan has this to say: "Dramatic Arts education is an important means of stimulating creativity in problem solving. It can challenge students' perceptions about their world and about themselves. Dramatic exploration can provide students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams that they might not otherwise have means to express. A student can, if only for a few moments, become another, explore a new role, try out and experiment with various personal choices and solutions to very re…
Another formative assessment which is simple and quick--letting you know immediately how well the students are understanding the concepts is the thumbs up and thumbs down technique. Just ask them how well they "get it" by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down sign. I also allow them to show degrees of understanding by putting their thumb anywhere on the spectrum between up and down (hence the "all-around" in the title). Other variations, that I've heard teachers use, are to put the sign right up against the chest, so that others in the classroom have a hard time seeing it or having students close their eyes when they do it. These may be necessary in the beginning of the year, in some cases, but should wain as trust builds in the room and students learn it's all right to admit they don't understand something or that they are wrong about something. It's quick. It's simple.There's no reading involved. It's just an easy way to check for understand…
Summary of Daniel Pink's "Story"
as one of the "Six Senses" as presented in A Whole New Mind
Pink describes story as “context
enriched by emotion.” Traditionally, it is through story that important,
meaningful information has been passed down through the generations.Factual information, so readily available to
us through electronic media, lacks the "emotional impact" of stories.
Emotion is the critical element that makes information relevant and memorable.
For Pink, storytelling is an art
modality that demands interpretation and relies on both creative and critical
thought processes. As human beings, we author our lives by assembling artifacts
of our past, and creating narratives that reveal our world and our true selves.
That is, we live our stories.Our
stories reflect our years – the difficult storms and the peaceful joys.
Therefore, sharing our stories adds more depth to life, gives more meaning to
our relationships, and provides more context in ou…