A big thanks to my daughter Nikki and our wordpress guru Andy Nacin who salvaged this space! I am sure many of you are thankful for their good work at final time. To see more of Nikki’s beautiful view of life visit Cupcakes for Breakfast. Scrolling down a bit you can even see Thanksgiving images….fun, fun, fun! Many thanks…

Don’t spend too much time there ….I know you have work to do…as do I.

Museums and Living

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.” 

On a rainy, grey Wednesday, we strode up the steps of the MET, 152 students and faculty to take in the great works of art. Now, a week later, what are your strongest memories? What did you absorb? What impressions, connections, and feeling-thoughts stick with you about your museum experience? How did “tearing through the museum” relate to your life? [Make sure your post is well written and spell checked. Add your name and cohort]


Seton Elementary Training Program

Hi folks…I am here in Chicago sharing thoughts about the brain, learning styles and Multiple Intelligences with the first elementary Montessori teacher class of Seton Montessori Institute.

I am very lucky to work with some amazing individuals, Rosemary, Eva, Selma and a group of very diverse and talented teachers. I look forward to seeing the difference they make in the world!


Documenting the Everyday Work of ART!

Friday was Resica Elementary’s Celebration of the Arts. These annual celebrations have been occurring since 1995, but this year was different. A group of veteran teachers and the art and music educators at Resica were involved in a year long study of documentation as a way to sustain and extend arts integration in the everyday work of the classroom and the learning life of the school.

Resica, since its inception in 1994, has been an arts integrated school, valuing the role of the arts in learning within and through the curriculum. Artist’s in residence, professional development, and a core of arts committed teachers and arts educators have sustained the arts integration impetus over the past years. I have had the honor of working with the amazing faculty and administrators for the past 19 years, so when they requested a “refresher” course on arts integration I saw this as a unique opportunity to take their work to another level!

Resica is a K-5 school in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and not unlike other schools across the county is faced by increasing accountability demands, such as increased testing mandates, meeting Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), scripted curriculum, and addressing more diverse learners in an increasingly narrow curriculum. We began by reviewing developmentally appropriate practices (NAEYC) and current research on arts integration, studies on the arts, brain and creativity, and examined student learning. We aligned research with curriculum goals and set out to document student learning through the arts, as inspired by Reggio Emilia schools, while sharpening artistic skills and studio thinking. The discussions were lively, the arts explorations engaging, and the thinking deep!

This year’s Celebration of the ARTS provided a perfect venue for showcasing their Arts Integration Documentation projects — a sustainable way to advocate for arts integration as everyday work in the classroom. I will be sharing their stories more fully in upcoming blogs, but here a few photos to pull you in, wet your appetite, and engage your curiosity.

[cincopa AsKATmKHJio3]


Do you have what it takes to be a TEACHER?

So you want to be a teacher…or maybe you are already in a teacher education program. Do you have what it takes to be a teacher? In particular a Pre K-4 teacher, a teacher who works with our youngest learners?

There are multiple challenges facing the teaching profession today, but three are on my radar here today. First is retaining great teachers, second is demonstrating the impact of those strong teachers, and third how should we be educating the teacher’s of tomorrow. We know that over 50% of new teachers leave the field in the first five years. Jodi Sponchiado, principal of Governor Wolf is currently examining the impact of our ELED K-6th program and is finding some strong support for the Professional Development School model we incorporate into our ESU ELED teacher education program. Assessing the impact on students is a continuing challenge as we work to make both teacher and student learning visible in multiple and authentic ways. And finally you, the teacher candidates…the ones in ECED 263 Foundations of Early Childhood Education, or those in upper level courses or  Student Teaching. Do YOU have the qualities to impact student learning and continue to contribute to the profession over time?

Jonah Lehrer has two posts that I think are worth examining in the quest to becoming a great Pre K – 4 Teacher. The first is The virtue of play makes me wonder?  Why is playfulness an essential disposition for teachers? How can playfulness be generated or learned? In what ways could this impact student learning? Think of an example of how you are “playful”. (read on for combine questions….these questions must be answered by the PLAY group)

The second, Which trait predicts success? (The importance of GRIT) takes my wondering down a different path…a gritty path! Why is grit an essential disposition for teachers? How can grit be generated or learned? Share an example of how you are “gritty”. (read on for combine questions….these questions must be answered by the GRIT group)

Taken together I begin to see a pattern of a successful Pre K – 4 Teacher, a potential relationship that can have an impact on student learning. The combination of grit and playfulness makes me think of the work of Maggie Doyne in Nepal and how she combines these two daily in her teaching, caring, and creative work. What do you see, think, or feel? Is there a connections between playfulness and grit? Are they important elements for teacher and student success? (If you are blogging for class it must be posted before 6 am on Tuesday – feel free to respond to another blog post in your response.)

Thinking with your hands

The information from the NJMAC conference on March 4th in Edison, New Jersey and the National AMS Conference in Chicago from March 24-27, 2011 are listed above under ECO Arts/Literacy. This page is currently under construction and will be adding items throughout March. Please visit it often for updates. Art on….Mary Lisa, Pat, Lisanne and Rosemary.

SNOW ANGELS and Today’s Class

Dr. Kelberman has a theory that if you wear your pajamas backwards, you will have a snow day. So I want to know which of you is wearing your pj’s backwards AND do you know it?

Today you will have class right here…First you will scroll down through a few posts until you see one titled Thinking about Arts Integration. There is a link to an email dialogue I had with a student last semester about the 3 lesson mapping process. I think you will get a good idea of how she and I thought together about her three lessons and how to craft strong learning goals and assessments.

Then you can go to Art 311 and Checkout two pages with power points. The first is Mapping-Linking-Planning-Documenting that provides an overview of the 3 lesson planning process all the way to the final documentation of student learning. The second page on Engaging Art Lesson Planning with a power point on Lesson Planning, which offers an overview of how to plan powerful, cohesive arts integrated lessons. Handouts resources which support both parts are there for your success. Looking for the Arts Standards? That is on the another page. Check there for National Visual Art, PA State Art and Early Learning standards.

So what do you do on a snow day….Start thinking about your mapping process. Begin by looking at what your teacher is covering in the next few months in Science or Social Studies (Mentor map). Maybe there is a language arts unit coming up? What might be a great connection for art? Email me a draft or what you are beginning to think and we will carry on our own conversation. Warning!! Think about what you want the STUDENTS to LEARN…NOT what activity YOU will do. Also I DO NOT respond to … I don’t know what to do. THINK FIRST….have some ideas, possible content to play with, and we will work together to craft the three lessons. Oh…if you get stuck take a walk outside…it is beautiful!! Definitely a snow angel day.

Virtual Museums

Any museum can invite you to look. A great one changes the way you see. – Anonymous
There has been an explosion of great museum websites with ways to receive information, view collections and utilize amazing educational resources for families and teachers. But, now there is a new way to see! Google art project is a fascinating museum resource, linking you to great museums across the world. Thank-you creative, art loving google gods. I am looking foward to more museums from the US and more moderns works, maybe from the Musee d’Orsay or Tate Modern. What is there is a virtual treasure trove! I have already started my personal collection.   Go there NOW!