Education Week - December 3, 2014 - (Page 22)

COMMENTARY STEM + Art: A Fruitful Combination INSPIRED Learning A special Commentary section on arts education Education Week Commentary asked leading educators and advocates to discuss the arts in K-12 education. Some of the contributors assert that the arts are a bridge between traditional academic subjects and the creative skills necessary to thrive in a global, 21st-century economy. Others argue for the critical part the arts play in child development. Regular contributing artists illustrate the package, which continues online with a video that explores the role of the arts in classroom engagement. This special section is supported by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at Education Week retained sole editorial control over the content of this package; the opinions expressed are the authors' own, however. go/artsed By John Ceschini "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -William Butler Yeats I Bob Dahm for Education Week By Kip Zegers H " ere is why the arts, including poetry, matter in high school. A student I know, writing about herself in the third person, addresses a problematic teacher: "you wait for her to / trip and fall / she is waiting for you to / pull her from the land / of broken light bulbs." This girl wants to escape. The broken light bulbs might mean old ideas, or fears, some sort of dead end. And to offer a hand, to assist, is a teacher's "job," although he can't know exactly what is going on with her. This girl, an original and powerful writer, so impressed me that I arranged a meeting for her with a prominent poet, who later told me that she didn't think the girl was actually much interested in poetry-and went on to mention a most practical profession, a helping profession, that my student was interested in. It's complicated, this business of offering a hand. An 8th grader who had never been challenged writes about finding herself among kids who seem so much smarter than she is. Then she learns that the other students work! In her old school, she never had to "do work." She was a star, and now her legs feel cut off. Her classmates are running, and she is standing still. It's not sup22 | EDUCATION WEEK | December 3, 2014 | The point is that each kid is aware, in their writing, of a gap between who they are now and what they might do." posed to be this way. But this 8th grader's writing, her look back at 7th grade, is so clear and honest, and she is already such a writer that you can see she might well begin to put in effort to allow a new, stronger self to emerge. Certainly she is trying to face up to her challenges, and has the skills to do so, but she does not know if she has the courage to take the risk. For this kid, a teacher thinks, becoming is bumping up against something. She is not saying "Pull me up"; she is saying "I suddenly see where I am." She is afraid she won't rise to the moment. She is self-aware. Next consider the first draft of a poem in which a boy goes out at 3 a.m. and sees the local Italian kids (the poet is Chinese-American) playing a game. The student watches as a boy stands in the street, another kid drives his car straight at him, and the standee has to jump, landing on the hood of the car, or get mowed down. Our senior passes, enters an all-night deli, buys three cans of Red Bull, and heads home to face the onrushing deadline of his term paper. The boy says, in conference, "I have no imagination." I say: "Boys, nerve, car; you, caffeine, term paper." Boy says: "Oh shit, that's a poem, isn't it?" I say, "It could be." The boy is struggling with belief. The school year is half over. He has written a lot and read a lot. He has grasped how images carry poems. He would like to speak. "My mom says I need to focus love the quote above because it captures the essence of what arts integration does for our children. By teaching in and through the arts, our children carry the creative spark across the curriculum for all content areas. Arts integration is an innovative teaching strategy that fuses the arts curriculum-dance, music, visual arts-with standard curricula. For example, a science teacher may instruct students to create a dance to demonstrate what happens when water freezes in a pipe when it is cold. Through arts integration, students will explore the different states of matter through dance. The kinesthetic learner now has access to the curriculum, and students can visually understand the concept. When there is a natural connection between two or more curricula, arts integration provides engaging context and enhances the learning experience. I discovered this early in my career. In 1992, I had been a principal for approximately two weeks when pTA memA Teacher, Students, and Poetry in Motion on science," he says. He does not finish the poem. Another boy writes a perfect poem about his mom. It is all in images. At a parent-teacher conference, the mom says, yes, she saw it; he left it on his desk. (She tears up.) The kid is a natural-born poet and has his own band, but he is not sure he wants to do much "school" work. He hands in poems about his neighborhood as a final project. The project is good. It has little drawings of the subway, sea gulls, and row houses. Other kids hand in a stapled pack of poems; this student, wearing his mask of coolness and detachment, hands in a book. The teacher is happy. Is the boy happy? Maybe. One thing a teacher is pretty sure of is that the voice in that chapbook is a glimpse of what this boy is at his best, a green shoot of what he might become. Then graduation happens. The point here is not that each kid is "trying to be a writer" and that we are, together, finding that out. The point is that each kid is aware, in their writing, of a gap between who they are now and what they might do. Think for a moment of these four examples: help me from the world of broken light bulbs; hear that I'm afraid I'll never try to excel; I can see that school is about to run me over; and finally, I can make poems, but I have my reputation to think about. The teacher knows that all four see something new about themselves. Hopefully, they also see that they are not alone. Their stories are messy, open, and unresolved.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - December 3, 2014

Education Week - December 3, 2014
Rules Aim to Heighten Ed. School Monitoring
Parents Get Schooled On New Math Standards
Principals’ Central Role Gets New Attention at Ed. Dept.
Districts Press Publishers On Digital-Content Access
Consortium Sets High Bars For Its Common-Core Tests
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
New Teacher-Licensing Exams In N.Y. Lead to Subpar Results
Obama Grants Deportation Relief To Immigrant Parents
Kindergartners Found to Benefit From ‘Tools of the Mind’
Blogs of the Week
Word Problems Should Be Given At the Start of Lesson, Studies Say
Tech. Vendors Cloudy On K-12 Buying Needs
New Guidance Offers States Roadmap to NCLB Waiver Renewal
Achievement, Dissension Marked Tennessee Chief’s Tenure
States Get Federal Running Room On Teacher-Equity Plans
Blogs of the Week
JOHN CESCHINI: STEM + Art: A Fruitful Combination
KIP ZEGERS: A Teacher, Students, and Poetry in Motion
JEAN HENDRICKSON: Why Not Art for Children’s Sake?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFF DEKAL: A Brief Portrait of a Young Artist

Education Week - December 3, 2014