What can happen when teachers get together to discuss student learning? Lots – and not just for the students, for the teachers too. That is what I have discovered through the organization of our district’s Arts Integration PLC. Nearly three years ago, I sent out an email to all the teachers in Amesbury, Massachusetts where I work as a fourth grade teacher, inviting them to join me in a professional learning community focused on arts integration. I was happy to get interest and even more happy when our first meeting came to fruition.
The group is diverse. Our membership has ranged from pre-school to high school and yet it works! Our commitment to student learning and understanding of the importance of arts in education is a common thread that’s powerful enough for us to meet and make a difference in our teaching. We have had wonderful discussions, created great art together and learned so much from each other. I remember just last year watching the HS foreign language teacher and the pre-school teacher conversing about language, art and the brain. It was fascinating to hear their ideas and to then later see how it affected their teaching. It just proved that regardless of what we teach, we are all adults working toward the same thing.
Each year membership may change, but we have a core group that is dedicated and understands the importance of what we are doing. This year we have eight teachers and we are off to a great start. We are starting the year thinking about our purpose and vision to focus our intentions. Because few of us share the same students, we must find a way to discuss student learning in a general, yet purposeful way. So we are choosing overall skills that all of our students need to learn and will discuss and share ideas to integrate the arts into these areas. We started our year talking about Vocabulary since our district had just spent a PD day on the topic. Next month, we will focus on ways to integrated the arts into math.
Since we only meet once a month, I felt it was important to start a wiki for us to keep in contact and continue our discussions. This wiki is open to ANY teacher interested in the topic of arts integration and we welcome your comments on our discussion threads. So, please, I invite you to go to artsintegrationplc.wikispaces.com and contribute to the “What is it about arts integration?” discussion under the Discussion tab. You can also click the PLaiC logo on the right sidebar anytime you are here at The Inspired Classroom.
So join us! Let’s create a greater Arts Integration PLC that spans the country and maybe even the world!