We are at the inaugural year of the Summer Institute. Twenty-six teachers enter the institute with varying degrees of artistic experience and confidence. Some teachers couldn’t wait for the institute, while others were wondering if this professional development would really make an impact in their teaching.
The theme of the institute is deeper learning through creative experience. We are discovering the importance of metacognition and holding a growth mindset to support the same in our young learners. We are learning what deeper learning feels like for our own professional development and how it can provide students with skills and confidence they can transfer and extend throughout their lives.
ArtCore is the opportunity for students to go deep into what drives their interest, what makes them unique, and what brings meaning to their learning. In the words of a student who experienced ArtCore in the spring of 2015, “I get to be myself…it’s a huge privilege to me to be able to choose to be myself.”
On day 2 of the institute, one teacher comments, “I studied metacognition when I was a new teacher. Now twenty years later, I am wondering why I haven’t used this approach in more of my teaching!”
It was sometime on day two when the room shifted. The room is buzzing. Teachers are creating art. They are reflecting on their own craft. They are connecting with each other and imagining new possibilities. They are developing customized lessons that integrate the arts across content areas and the Studio Habits of Mind. They finally have time to collaborate, think, and intentionally develop multidisciplinary units and assessment.
Whether classroom teacher, weaver, or facilitator, each of us left the institute more empowered, excited and equipped to dive into ArtCore this upcoming school year. We think we accomplished for teacher participants what one 6th grade student suggested as a slogan for the project: “It feels like you’re not in school (or professional development), but you really are.”