This past week I have been conducting a graduate level course in arts integration.  It is called “Learning Through the Creative Arts: A Look into the Creative Process.”

I have been blown away by the wonderful learnings, creative artwork, thoughtful conversations and truly integrated lesson plans that have come out of our time together.  This group of teachers is amazing!

We started the week by building a close, safe, learning community which spanned the entire week.  It is in these types of courses – ones embedded in learning about and using the arts, that such a community can form (and so quickly).  I’ve now experienced it as an adult student and a teacher of adults.  (Not to mention as a teacher of children!)  These teachers felt comfortable to dance, sing, play and share of themselves.

Through the planned activities and projects, readings and deep discussions these fine teachers are growing immensely.  It is so wonderful to see.  They light up and show a new found confidence when they talk about what they hope to do in the fall and how they await the opportunity to inspire their students even more.

This type of professional development specifically in arts integration is so powerful and necessary.  And yet, there seems to be so little of it.  Imagine if this type of PD was offered as frequently and as importantly as math or literacy PD.  None is more important than the other.  They all are necessary for for our students.  The arts provide a vehicle for deeper understanding of, not only another content area as well as the art form, but so many important skills students need to become successful and confident people in our society.

I encourage you to look for PD opportunities online and in your area so that you can expand your repertoire and evolve your teaching.  I will be doing the same both as a student and a teacher as I look forward to offering this course again in the fall.

It seems PD in the arts is more than learning something new.  It’s an experience.  It changes you.  If it is that powerful for the teacher, imaging the power it could have on your students.