Friday, 14 September 2012

The Common Core - Fine Arts (AND Science, History, & Geography) Connection - Part 2

After writing this morning's post about The Common Core - Fine Arts Connection, I read the final entry in the ARTSblog "Blog Salon" that marked National Arts in Education Week. In that post, Kristen Engebretsen referenced a panel discussion that was hosted in March by Common Core, an organization that is actually older than the CCSS, but supports them. 

The panel, titled Truant From School: History, Science, and Art, was composed of "experts who discussed the implications of curriculum narrowing and explored how the new Common Core State Standards might serve as a vehicle for addressing the problem."

The experts included:

David Coleman* - Founding partner of Student Achievement Partners and a lead writer of the CCSS in ELA. He
 will become president and chief executive officer of the College Board  in October. 

Lewis HuffmanEducation Associate for Social Studies at the South Carolina Department of Education.

Carol JagoA 32-year veteran teacher of English in middle and high school and director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She is past president of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Lynne MunsonPresident and Executive Director of Common Core

If you are a teacher, a principal, a curriculum specialist, or a instructional supervisor, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you watch the video below. Implementation of the Common Core State Standards MUST be done with the understanding that their intent is NOT to narrow the public school curriculum.


*David Coleman forcefully says, "It is utterly clear if there is not an equal balance of high quality informational and literary text in kindergarten through fifth grade, with the specific declaration that informational text richly covers science, history/social studies, and the arts, it does not meet the requirements of the core standards, either in assessment or curricular terms. Period."  And: "There is no such thing as doing the nuts and bolts of reading in kindergarten through fifth grade without coherently developing knowledge in science and history and the arts. Period. It is false. It is a fiction."

If you only have ten minutes, PLEASE at least watch this clip of David Coleman's address:

Having knowledge of the intent of CCSS ELA writers is invaluable, in my opinion. Watching the entire video has been mind-changing for me, and I hope you will find it just as beneficial. 

Have a wonderful September weekend!

The Common Core - Fine Arts Connection

"I will let you in on a secret: CCSS presents a teaching philosophy closely aligned with most fine arts classrooms. The methods of CCSS rely on teachers working as facilitators as opposed to lecturers, stress the value of modeling over telling, and emphasizes valuable learning occurs when subjects are interrelated and meaningful connections are made."

Amen, Amy Johnson!

Amy teaches in Austell, GA, and blogs at Artful Artsy Amy. Today, I want to point you to her post on the Arts Education section of ARTSblog: Common Core Collaboration Key for Fine Arts and Classroom Teachers

Here's a shot of Amy's classroom, with her students engaged in, yes, collaborative learning:

I'm SO impressed at the way Amy and the teachers at her middle school have collaborated to create meaningful cross-curricular connections! She offers an editable collaborative framework for FREE, and provides this example of her work with a seventh grade Math teacher for a unit on tessellations:

Amy says, "Instead of demanding core subject teachers to make connections to the arts, we should ask them to share their units and work together to make meaningful connections. In this manner, both teachers are able to rely on their strengths."

Again, amen!

Amy is only one contributor to the conversation about arts education and the common core on ARTSblog. I found fifteen posts in the past five days (National Arts in Education Week) that discuss many aspects of the impact each has on the other. Please look them over and check out the links each provides. Some are cautionary, but others provide concrete curriculum links that you can use in your classroom, whether you teach art or a core subject.

A great example: Lynne Munson, in her post How Vincent van Gogh Can Help You Teach to the Common Core Standards, says that "the CCSS present an exciting opportunity for elementary school teachers (who teach all subjects), grades 6-12 ELA teachers, and arts teachers to utilize the arts to teach the literacy skills outlined by the new standards." She links to The Arts and the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project and its 179 arts activities.

You can also follow the related Twitter discussion. (And if you're a Twitter newbie, here's a great intro from Allison Boyer’s article on Blog World: A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Basics)

If you fear, as I do, the loss of funding for arts education with a misguided implementation of the CCSS, you can demonstrate its necessity by developing a robust collaboration in your school. Here's to your efforts, and to your enjoyment of connecting and collaborating!

UPDATE: Please go to The Common Core - Fine Arts (AND Science, History, & Geography) Connection - Part 2 for more information.