Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Real Things

Wintergirls is the story of a young woman struggling to over come anorexia. New York Times Book Review contributor Barbara Feinberg calls the young adult novel "fearless."

The book was written by Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the equally controversial book Speak about a young woman who remains silent after she is raped at a party.

Performance Artist

Over at her blog Kitsune, professional teaching artist Judy Shintani links to Art21 and I'm glad.

A video profile on visual artist Jenny Holzer offers an intriguing glimpse at the provocateur's creative process.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Smash Box

KinderArt ® is the largest collection of free art lessons on the Internet.

Teachers share lessons plans on a range of arts and crafts activities, including sculpture, folk art and textiles.

Their Teacher's Toolbox provides links to useful Articles, Videos, Ideas, Lessons and other online resources.

Blithe Spirit

And the Pursuit of Happiness is Maira Kalman's blog at the New York Times. I love her books.

This time out, the well-known children's book author and illustrator travelogues her recent visit to Monticello, the plantation estate of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was the slave-owner who wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Also: Alanis Morissette - Ironic

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wise Woman

It's Friday.

The 92nd Street Y is holding a Trivia Challenge. The winner will get FREE tickets to a public conversation between Jane Goodall, who proved that apes use tools, and Howard Gardner, who writes books.

The website says "On Sep 2 Ms. Goodall will be at 92Y with Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner for How to Change the World with Howard Gardner and Guests: Jane Goodall. These tickets are already selling briskly, and we want to give you a chance to win two of them. Our Trivia Challenge this week is offering one lucky winner two free tickets to the event. This contest closes at 5pm (EST) on Jul 3 and the winner will be announced here on Jul 6. Go ahead and enter your answer here!"

In this Leakey Foundation video, Ms. Goodall talks about apes' emotional landscape and family relationships.

Flight Research

Rosemary Laing is a leading Australian photographer and her unsettling images of landscapes and skydiving women in wedding gowns are out of this world.

An excellent Education Resource Kit was created by the Museum for Contemporary Art to accompany a 2005 exhibition of her work.


Image: Flight Research #5

The Rescuers

Sometimes, you need help figuring it all out.

Also: Laura Nyro w/ Labelle - It's Gonna Take A Miracle

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Green Day

Published to wide critical acclaim in France, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

This crisp graphic novel was turned into a film.

Here are some lesson plans around the novel. This one, Storyboarding Revolution @ The New Museum's Global Classroom, rocks.

Pictures Tell the Story: Improving Comprehension with Persepolis by Janet M. Ankiel of Basking Ridge, New Jersey is also terrific.

A related article on Splashpage; an MTV website about comics.

Universalis Cosmographia

Without maps, some of us would be lost.

In this excellent lesson plan on the website of the Library of Congress, students examine Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map of the world.

On a related page, you can view the map and zoom in tight to see ridiculously tiny details.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Drama

Dorothy Heathcote, who helped define new ways to use drama in the classroom, says her first teaching gig involved a group of recalcitrant boys, hastily gathered together by a schoolmaster who'd forgotten she was coming.

In this scene, from the BBC documentary Three Looms Waiting, Ms. Heathcote works with a group of boys on an improvised drama set in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Let's watch.

The Spiral

Have you heard about Project AIM?

It's fantastic.

From the online brochure:

"A national leader in the field of arts integration, the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago recently published the book AIMprint: New Relationships in the Arts and Learning. This dynamic teaching tool tells the story of Project AIM, CCAP’s arts integration mentorship program. Through a compilation of eloquent essays, first person testimony and curriculum samples,AIMprint provides rich perspective on the field of arts integration. Inside, readers will find lesson plans and teaching tools that readily translate into the classroom, helping them create powerful arts integrated curriculum.

Central to the work is Project AIM’s Arts Integration Learning Spiral.The Learning Spiral is a working model of how the arts engage students along different points of instruction. It provides an invaluable foundation for the collection of field-tested examples included in AIMprint. "

The Arts Integration Learning Spiral is groovy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Dig this:

Arts + Classroom Curriculum: Stitching It Together
Julia Morgan Center for the Arts

It is amazing how one work of art can be used to inspire, inform and infuse the K-12 curriculum. See how 3 classroom teachers from kindergarten, sixth, and eleventh grades create an exciting, integrated curriculum based on a 50-minute music/dance performance. Using the Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) model of aesthetic education, classroom teachers and teaching artists collaborate to design lesson plans around the same work of art, with each unit of study having a unique, developmentally appropriate line of inquiry.

It comes with assessment strategies!


PBS Frontline is one of the most useful interactive sites on our tour.

Marvel at the array of films and related lesson plans.

The documentary feature, The Medicated Child, explores mental health issues among school-age children.

Thankfully, there's a Guide, because the situation presented in the film is rather alarming:

In recent years, there's been a dramatic increase in the number of children being diagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders and prescribed medications that are just beginning to be tested in children. The drugs can cause serious side effects..."


Monday, June 22, 2009

Where To?

The next stop on our tour is in Canada.

The brochure explains it all:

Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) is the Pan-Canadian standards agency for quality assurance in learning products and programs. We are not-for-profit and provide services including development, implementation, evaluation, and accreditation of teaching and/or learning resources, and the delivery of web-based professional learning opportunities across Canada and internationally. Our organization works closely with the Ontario Ministry of Education and many of its initiatives related to curriculum and to student success. 

CSC resources are often available in both French and English versions. I encountered a slew of unfamiliar topics, such as "Grants for Teachers"; "Teacher Developed Resources"; and "Webcasts for Educators."


The Ride

Sometimes, I think I will not survive another moment on the subway.

Sometimes, I have no idea where I'm going.

I am a professional teaching artist in New York City.

Get directions @ Hopstop.

Get a discount @ Transitchek.

Get a folding bike @ Craigslist.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Cartoonist Lynda Barry is our last guest.

Here she is in a New York Time's profile from 2008.

How to Think Like a Surreal Cartoonist
Published: May 11, 2008
In her two-day writer’s workshop, Lynda Barry sings, tells jokes, acts out characters and even dances a creditably sensual hula.
Also: Lynda Barry's book @ Amazon; What It Is.
Also: Lynda Barry @ Myspace.
Plus: Lynda Barry, on youtube, talks about children, creativity and play. She's funny,ha, ha.
I'm out.

Fire Starter

Since 1976, Liz Lerman and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange have been asking and answering four essential questions:

Who gets to dance?

Where is the dance happening?

What is it about?

Why does it matter?

Well, there's a conversation that could go on for awhile.

Also: Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn - My Dinner With Andre

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Objet D'art

ArtBlueprint comes out of Studio in a School and we are on our way there to take a look around. The high quality website offers "high quality art lessons that meet State and National Standards for the visual arts and literacy."

I notice that, currently, units and lessons for grades 2, 5 and 8 are available. That's useful.

Also, it's FREE, which excites me, and I'm completely enamored of this plan which promises to teach me how to make my own accordion book.

I have no idea where we're going tomorrow.

Seek Help

One of my most favorite stops on the tour is the Actors Fund. The organization serves everyone in the entertainment industry; which may include you, or one of a zillion people who are still waiting for healthcare reform to actually arrive.

The Actors Fund maintains the Actors Health Insurance Resource Center

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Hold tight. Our madcap tour continues.

According to the website of Education Week, Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch have "found themselves at odds on policy...but they share a passion for improving schools."

Their shared blog, Bridging Differences,offers their opinions on what matters most in education.

I read it faithfully and yell things back at the computer screen.


Blame the Times

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but:

Music, Arts Instruction Lags, Study Finds
Published: June 16, 2009
Music and art instruction in American eighth-grade classrooms has remained flat over the past decade, according to a survey by the Department of Education.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Truth in Advertising

Next on our tour, the increasingly popular hangout Unlocking the Classroom.

If you haven't been there yet, you are missing out.

The headline for the site promises "Thoughts on meaning-making education, the arts, and social change."

Right now,
there's a post up on Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process.


Curiouser and Curiouser

Arts Advocate Laura Reeder of Partners for Arts Education, is also one of the fine people responsible for the Teaching Artist Journal; a scholarly publication that explores all kinds of stuff you care about.

Unfortunately, it's only printed on tree-killing paper.

Since online publications are much greener and accessible, I am pleased that TA Journal also publishes a blog. It's not the most updated site on our tour, but what you'll find there is terrific nonetheless.

Here's one: Leah Mayers post on handmade books is lovely.

Oh, I nearly forgot, here's Ms. Reeder's piece too, in case you missed it.

Hurry Up and Wait: TA Professional Development

by Laura Reeder

Laura Reeder does the field a huge service by giving us a synthetic and insightful overview of the various TA PD initiatives underway across the U.S. From the article:
Curiosity is at the center of an artistic life and it is certainly at the center of lifelong learning. Curiosity is now being manifested with artistic, educational, and scientific care in at least ten national research projects aimed at unraveling the mysteries of professional development for teaching artists. These studies have been shaped to answer questions about the quality and quantity of professional resources for artists who teach. A TAJ scan of this research reveals interest in subtle and unique elements that cannot easily be measured. The global finesse that we are all developing through easy-to-use survey programs, transcontinental communication, and the humanistic backlash to No Child Left Behind has ripened our opportunity to study teaching artistry.

continue reading...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Make Plans

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable helps arts organizations share information and resources. Among other community-building events, they produce the annual Face to Face Conference.

Oh look, someone's throwing a party.


WHEN: Monday, June 22, 2009, 4:00-7:00 PM
WHERE: Kaplan Penthouse, Rose Building, 10th Floor, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, West 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam


  • The Announcement of Election Results for the Board of Directors and other Annual Business
  • Panel Discussion on Federal Arts Education Policies, Programs, and Advocacy Issues (details below)
  • End-Of-Year Reception

Good Food! Good Drink! Good Company! No RSVP Required

Panel Description: Two experts on National Arts Education Issues will discuss the latest developments in the arenas of policy, legislation, and assessment. Narric Rome, Director of Federal Affairs at Americans for the Arts, and Najean Lee, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy Manager at the League of American Orchestras, will report to us on such vital topics as the activities of the Arts Education Working Group, the reauthorization of NCLB, the Federal Stimulus Bill and its Social Innovation Fund, the National Service Initiative, and the implications of the soon-to-be released NAEP arts assessments. It promises to be a rich and informative presentation and will include ample opportunity for questions and responses from the floor. Kati Koerner, Director of Education at Lincoln Center Theater and Chair of the Roundtable's Advocacy Committee will moderate the discussion and help us begin to translate this report from Washington into an action agenda for New York.

Directions to Kaplan Penthouse: Walk west from Broadway along the north side of 65th Street (past the construction); take the stairs (or the elevator just past the stairs) up to the promenade; walk past the Walter Reade Theatre to the Rose Building. Take elevator to the 10th Floor.

Morning Joe

It's Monday, and we are still on a thrill-seeking tour of the best places for professional teaching artists to web surf. Let's start the day over at Americans for the Arts; the nation's premiere advocacy organization for artists and arts education.

The site is extensive, and a good first stop is Arts Blog, which deploys a roster of passionate contributors to write about issues from a variety of angles. Right now, there's a link to inspiring coverage of the struggle to keep the arts in San Diego public schools and a profile of the Los Angeles Music and Art School. A few clicks away, there's Arts Watch, a weekly cultural policy newsletter with the latest news and links.

Friday, June 12, 2009

In the Garden

This week is over, but the tour continues into next, because there's just so much to see.

The last stop is home.

The Association of Teaching Artists homepage is the portal to a national community of professional teaching artists. ATA, as you may know, strives to create a community of professional Teaching Artists by: Empowering the practice of Teaching Artists' as a profession; Providing a network for communication and the exchange of resources; Shaping the field of Arts in Education; Providing advocacy, training, and professional development; Publicly recognizing distinguished achievement.


I think ATA is smack at the center of the teaching artist universe, or close enough.

Thanks to ATA Executive Director Dale Davis.

Have a good weekend!

Also: Shelly Long - Outrageous Fortune (PG 13.)