Saving the Arts in our Elementary Schools

Digital Storytelling: A way to Express, Inspire and Engage…

Digital Storytelling is an artistic means to express, inspire, engage and instruct. Subjects such as: Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Social Studies, Art and Music can all be taught through digital media. Students can express what they have learned (facts and information) through a Digital Story. By creating digital stories students will learn such life skills as: collaborating and producing. In turn they will develop and invoke life building skills such as: communication, higher level thinking, and management. This process will build a deeper understanding of the subject (topic), and the technology they used. Digital Storytelling will inspire innovation and creativity.
Recently I had the opportunity to create a VoiceThread. You might ask yourself what is a VoiceThread. It is a means to digitally create, display, comment, share and collaborate a multimedia slide show. Think of the possibilities in the classroom. Students can communicate with other students all over the world. They can develop their literacy skills, enhance their creativity, and increase their knowledge of a vast number of subjects!
Check out my first attempt at a VoiceThread:
Click here to view my VoiceThread 🙂

Another digital media selection that can be used to create digital stories, that is available on the web, is StoryBird. StoryBird is a form of digital media that can assist students in developing their literacy skills and increase their artistic creativity. Through StoryBird they can become authors and or illustrators. On the StoryBird website one can select illustrations and then build stories around them. The following is my attempt to develop a digital story, through the help of Storybird and their Illustrators (for children ages 4 to 6yrs):
Click here to check out my Storybird

In order to bring my blog full-circle I have created another Wordle to display my thoughts on viewing the Arts through Digital StoryTelling:
Wordle: Digital Storytelling

In conclusion I would like to discuss a piece that I recently read by Kevin Kelly, he states “When technology shifts, it bends the culture” This is so true and is evident in everyday life. It is so incredible to watch a 4yr on a computer, a 90yr old text, a teenager skype their parents when they are away at school, or even a 50yr take an online course :). Technology is embedded in our culture and just keeps moving us forward especially in education. You can find computers, interactive white boards, or iPads in classrooms. With technology we have endless possibilities especially in the Arts. With all the different digital technology at our fingers tips let us use it to help us save the Arts in our Elementary Schools. Instead of doing away with the Arts we can use Digital Technology to enhance, explore, inspire and engage students in the Arts. Through this form of media children will learn skills to help them face our ever changing world 🙂 Therefore as an educator I feel it is my responsibility to attempt to keep up with the every changing technology and media, also to keep my community in touch with the importance of keeping the Arts in our schools.


Developing Student Voices via Media Art

Teaching with and through technology is a means to develop student voices. Recently I was reading The New Digital Storytelling by Bryan Alexander and he states: “digital stores inspire students to dig deeper into their subject, to think more complexly about it, and to communicate what they have learned in a more creative way.” I have had the pleasure to witness this first hand. Back a couple of years I worked with a third grade class on a Social Studies project. They used Microsoft Photo Story for their software and photos from Flickr. First they gathered information from books and the Internet. Second they used a storyboard to map out their story. It was very rewarding to watch students pull their stories together while learning about the country they chose to discuss. I witness students that find it hard to speak in front of others, record their voice in private and then have a willingness to display their projects for others to view. The project was concluded with an evening of intellectual discussion and pride to display their digital stories for friends and family. Bryan Alexander also states, “Empowering students is often cited as a product of the storytelling process, especially developing students’ voices.” Digital Storytelling is a form of media-art that should be used in the classroom.

Found this awesome video on Youtube that was made by some Elementary Students. It is their reflections on developing a Digital Story. Click here to view 🙂

On a recent surf I came across the following website that is packed with a lot of great information on Digital Storytelling and how it can be used in education:
Click here to view.

I also discovered a techno-artist that has found a very unique way to artistically present his digitalstory. If you appreciate Jazz you will like it too:
Swing (click) here 🙂 to enjoy.

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Art Illuminates Math

Art illuminates math by making it come to life. Math can inspire art through preciseness of continuous designs known as fractals. Symmetries can create kaleidoscopes of colors and shapes.
In 2012 the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) will open in NYC. One can view Math through the magic of Art. You can encounter the geometry of Origami, the Symmetry of a geometric shape, or even do math problems with soap bubbles.
Click here to watch this video: Art Illuminates Math.

Art or Math, Math or Art who can argue what came first? Art and Math are connected.
In Kindergarten the very first math lesson they learn is: how to create a pattern.
When students first learn to draw a person in Kindergarten they are told to use their mathematical shapes. We even use the helpful tool called “Mat Man”, who consists of a circle, a square, lines, and curves.

Give a Word Cloud a try. Tagul is a great site with and artistic flair that has many educational uses. Each word can link to a site that investigates (takes you to a website or link) the word that the user chooses to click on.
Click here to view my Tagul Word Cloud

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Integrating the Arts Enriches the Curriculum

Case studies have shown that when Integrating the Arts across the curriculum it will bring a school community a new level of success. As students graduate they will bring what they have learned back into their school communities. An example is where these two Art majors have collaborated with their school’s community Character Education program. They designed a mural that reaches out and touches each student that walks down this hallway.

In Fayetteville Ark. the teachers have found that adding the Arts has enriched their literacy curriculum. Click here to read more

I have found a fellow blogger (this art cartoon is from Malcolm’s blog) that believes the Arts in our schools are worth saving.

Click here to check out his blog

After visiting Malcolm’s blog I just had to create my own toondoo. What do you think?

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The Complete Student

 It seems as though with all the pressure on schools to have high test scores more time in the classrooms are spent teaching to the test. So now we can see that the Arts in education has been slipping out of our schools’ budgets. In return they are cramming the classrooms with more and more curriculum.
We as parents and teachers need to see that our education system meets the needs of the “whole” child. Our schools need to produce a well-rounded student, one that survives in our ever-changing world. Years of research show that the Arts are closely linked to almost everything that we want for our children, such as: academic achievement, social development and community involvement.
Children that are involved in the arts have seen gains in: Math, Reading, Critical Thinking, and Verbal Skills.
Here is a link to read an article by Eric Jensen, published by “Harvard Educational Review” where he talks about his book: Arts with the Brain in Mind”.
Click here to check out this article
It will appeal to those who wish to know more about research regarding the potential for the Arts in education.

Art is where:
You can speak through colors and shapes,
Creativity and imagination blooms,
You can communicate without words,
Illustrations can tell our tales,
Self-expression takes us to new places, and
We can learn to adapt to our ever changing world.

   Why?  It is “Elementary” my dear friends  🙂

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The importance of the Arts in our Schools

    Recently in our school district the topic of removing and or limiting the Arts has been brought to the forefront. With all the budget cuts invoked by the state it has been suggested to remove the arts or limit them to only high school students.

On top of all this craziness I was taken back while driving  my daughter back to school and was greeted by a billboard, that was just blocks away from campus, that stated “Art is Atrocity”.  My daughter is in her third year of Art Education and the very large message made quite an impression.

In my job I have seen first hand on how the Arts can give students; the means to self-expression, imagine, communicate, reflect, analyze, critique, problem solve, and give them a purpose. In short it can give students needed life-learning tools. In the classroom I have seen where students produce more while listening to symphony music. It seems to make them relaxed and able to think more clearly.

 Technology also plays a big roll in the arts. Non-verbal students and students with disabilities can exhibit skills that before in a traditional classroom setting they could not. Students can gather cultural and historical information to develop stories to present. Across all curriculums the broad spectrum of multimedia components explode. In turn the possibilities and knowledge base of our students and teachers will increase. 

Please keep the Arts in our schools 🙂  Click here to check out this video   

 In Art you don’t have to worry about a mistake you can turn it into a new creation!

  Look past what is there and see what it could be.


Welcome to My Art Beat :)

This is my very first attempt at a blog.

Through my blog I will post about the many different ways that the Arts have touched my life as an educator.

 I am looking forward to the opportunity of  evoking a response from my fellow bloggers…