You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 3, 2012.

During the holiday I read selected chapters in the book The Mastery Of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry by Barry Green. Barry Green teamed up with Timothy Gallway who wrote the Inner Game books and Green’s first book was the Inner Game of Music.

In Chapter 7 of The Mastery, the topic is Concentration: The Spirit of the Zone, there are several quotes I find meaningful to the focus of the Inquiry of the Independents.

1. The brain is the key to the state of peak performance, in music and in life.
2. Green believes that mastering three Inner Game mental concentration skills i.e. being in the zone is as essential as mastering the physical technical skills of playing any instrument.
3. The three challenges to achieving mastery are defining the zone, getting to the zone and staying in the zone.

It seems to me this can be an avenue for me to explore and experiment through observation of students engaged in specific activities through helping them to balance awareness, will and trust in an effort to understand “the zone.”

In my thinking, being “in the zone” is being independent.

We have been encouraged by our administrators to apply H.E.A.T. In our teaching. I will explore whether there can be a convergence between the zone and H.E.A.T.

On another front the Fiddle File wiki has provoked many responses from my students. The discussions are focused around a list of essential questions. I hope to be able to post some of these samples on the Independents wiki as soon as we complete our winter performance next Monday evening.

January 13, 2012

Perhaps there are others who are spinning plates – – -so many plates. There is the usual e-mail, curriculum writing, graduation projects, concerts, concerts, concerts, orchestra rehearsals for the musical and adapting parts to the level of the players, budget meetings, the arts festival, the usual grade book maintenance and lesson plans, and tech-flex sessions to learn more and more technology applications. Right now I am on a technology/curriculum overload.

So then, I created what I think is more of a platter for my students. We have been using a wiki called the Fox Fiddle File. I asked the students to respond on the discussion page to the question “Why do you play your instrument? I included the responses in the December concert program for the audience to see. I continued to post interesting finds from the internet. One of those was the Copenhagen Symphony playing Ravel’s Bolero in the railroad station and another was a list of essential questions for the students to consider. Students responded with some comments that prompted others to respond. Then the students started to post items of interest and topics for discussion.

Spinning this platter has increased the discussion and sharing by the members of the High School Orchestra, who frequently shrink from in-class discussion. As time has progressed the students have begun to post topics of interest. There have been 277 postings to date to the two dozen topics on the discussion page to date.

My group inquiry is all about helping students to become independent learners. I strongly feel that this is linked to student engagement. Getting the students engaged in their learning will encourage them to become independent due to their motivation to learn! How much better would life in the profession be if the kids really liked coming to school and enjoyed learning because we allowed the process to include and validate their interests and goals? This article says it all. ARts ED 2.0 from the beginning has encouraged each of us as educators to be creative, to push the curriculum to include the arts – the creative aspect of learning. WE have been working in CIGs and now we are encouraging the students to work in teams, partners, to push and encourage each other and develop the skill of team work for their future.

Yakman states, “The magic sentence is science and technology through engineering and ars all through mathematical elements; those are active ways at looking at what we have to create a new world. That is STEAM, as I see it.”  My goal is to add Social Studies to this definition. Why not have students take what has happened in the past, what is happening in the present and determine what could happen in the future.  Adding to my goal is what Brazell says, ” Creativity is not a department down the hallway. Our ability to create, make and design is what makes us human… and it’s what will make us prosper.” Social Studies is all about economics and how it spurs events in history.

One last element I want to take away from this article is the project that the 5th graders in Chenoweth Elem. do in 6 weeks. Their film festival uses subjects “from a list of core content topics including everything from the water cycle to alliteration to fractions.” I like the idea of a film festival, and giving them a list of core subject matter to use as a topic for their film! Great idea for my communications class project that my sub has started. 

FYI I go back to school on Feb 9! Yeah – I am going back to my life!!!

From STEM to STEAM: Adding the Arts
 By Naomi Dillon

“Disconnect” is one of the most commonly uttered refrains in the discourse about what’s wrong with the U.S. public school system. Students are bored by today’s curriculum, schools are out of sync with today’s job market, and the existing talent pool is ill-equipped to compete on a global scale.
To face these multi-pronged challenges, many education reformers and pundits have pointed to science, technology, engineering, and math as the fields that will help America maintain its position as an economic and intellectual force to be reckoned with.

The focus on these disciplines, known as STEM, has spawned a plethora of magnet schools, national conferences, and federal programs.
In practice and in research, however, a growing number of educators are coming to the conclusion that something is missing from this acronym, which is to say something is missing in the way we educate and train the next generation of workers.
“We hear a lot from businesses saying ‘Kids are coming out [of school] unprepared, they don’t know how to work in teams, they aren’t creative, they don’t know how to think critically,’” says Georgette Yakman, who discovered a different way to think and connect education’s most critical lessons.
While a graduate student at Virginia Polytechnic and State University’s Integrated Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics Educational program (ISTEMed), Yakman embarked on an extensive research project to figure out how the American public school system got to where it’s at and how STEM came to be its roadmap to the future.
“I was trying to figure out how the subjects fit together and I had this incredible a-ha moment,” Yakman says. “I found not just a way for these subjects to physically interact with another and be cross-taught, but how all the disciplines support each other.”
She called this approach of adding arts to the curriculum STEAM.
“The magic sentence is science and technology interpreted through engineering and arts all through mathematical elements; those are active ways at looking at what we have to create a new world. That is STEAM, as I see it,” says Yakman. She has slowly pushed this holistic model of education through papers, presentations, and a fledgling consulting firm.

Rather than being at the center of a major reform movement, however, arts is often marginalized and shut out of key initiatives and discussions on building a world class education system.
That’s a big mistake, says Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, strategist, and public speaker who has spent much of his career speculating about the next big thing in industry and society.
“The first thing people are missing when it comes to the arts in the world is that arts are a huge component of our wealth creation,” Brazell says, noting that U.S. creative industries, which includes the software, film, and publishing, as well as architects, advertisers, and designers, accounted for more than 6.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2007.
“There’s real wealth here, but if you go into schools today they are cutting the arts,” Brazell says. “Creativity is not a department down the hallway. Our ability to create, make, and design is what makes us human … and it’s what will make us prosper.”
While a focus on the STEM fields makes sense as digital literacy has become a required skill for all jobs, along with higher math and reading skills, schools do the next generation of learners a disservice by excluding the arts.
“You can look at arts in different ways; as a discipline, as a commercial sector, as a philosophy, but it’s also an economic model,” Brazell says. “We are shifting from a classical economic model of creating products to creating ideas. What we’re talking about is the ability to innovate and be creative.”
And arts are the conduit, the glue, the agent through which all great ideas begin and end.
“The problem is we want to break arts down rather thinking about the connections,” Brazell says. “Many European and Asian countries don’t make the distinctions we do here; they don’t draw the line where we do. In England, they have the foundation for the science and arts.

Consciously and unconsciously, however, the silos between science and art seem to be softening in the U.S. as well.
The National Science Foundation has hosted and funded a number of recent conferences and workshops, including last year’s “Bridging STEM to STEAM: Developing New Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy,” which brought together top scientists, artists, IT experts and educators at the Rhode Island School of Design to develop ways to support these interdisciplinary connections.
While it may not be explicitly stated, such linkages are being made at Kentucky’s Jefferson County Public Schools, which was a host site for a 2011 TLN Education Technology site visit and a former TLN Salute District.
“We don’t say anything that says this is specific to STEAM,” says Sharon Shrout, the director of computer education support. “But anytime, kids are creating regardless of which tools they use, there is an arts element to it.”
That can be seen in a number of programs and classroom activities that proliferate throughout the district.
Each spring, for instance, fifth-graders at Chenoweth Elementary complete a six week multi-media project culminating in the Chenoweth Film Festival. Students choose their film’s subject from a list of core content topics including everything from the water cycle to alliteration to fractions.
Students are responsible for everything that has to do with their film including researching, writing, filming, acting, and promotion. They also create their own movie posters and their soundtrack using Microsoft software and MIDI technology.
“It honors the different talents that kids bring to the team,” Shrout says. “It really helps to build the whole 21st century student because it’s that whole child and that whole education that we want to serve.”
Naomi Dillon ( is a senior editor of American School Board Journal.

February 2012
« Jan   Mar »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers