It’s About Time!

Greetings all, and a very happy and healthy start to the 2012-2013 school year! 

I hope you will forgive this very delayed post.  Many of you know that I spent the first part of our school year out on maternity leave.  On September 26, 2012 Gavin Jennings was born, and his father and I feel very blessed to have such a cute and happy baby boy.  A special thanks to those of you who sent us well wishes in recent months.  Your kindness is always appreciated.

Now… While I certainly cherished my time away with my new little family, I am very happy to be back at school and eager to share with you the most recent developments of our Integrated Global Arts program.

Some Updates:

First, our artists are no longer working with teachers to create an original “Projects” curriculum.  While doing so was an exciting component to last year’s program, our school’s leadership has decided that efforts are better spent elsewhere.  So this year our artists are working hard to incorporate a lot more technology into their work.  Thanks to our new Technology teacher, Robbi Makely,  our school now has a wikipage where student work is frequently posted and updated.  Artists and their teacher teams are now working to make student learning visible on this platform. 

Another new development this year is that our school is now a member of the iEARN network.  iEARN is an online Project Based Learning site that connects over 30,000 classrooms in over 130 countries.  So now creative school projects can be shared with children around the world!   

Lastly, while our program still aims to shape global leaders who (1) Investigate the World, (2) Weigh Other Perspectives, (3) Communicate Ideas and (4) Take Action in the world around them, this year’s Integrated Global Arts program is working with students and teachers in the subject of Literacy instead of Science and Social Studies.  So each activity and every project is firmly rooted in meeting state and core standards for Reading and Writing.

Regarding our Artists:

I am happy to announce that Adam Buehler (Visual Artist and Ice Sculptor) and Miriam Tobin (Playwright and Performer) are back at DCIS at Ford this year!  These two artists have been working hard with kids on everything from creating school brochures to building classroom machines made of the students themselves.  These activities and projects are just now culminating in a series of shared classroom experiences.  I look forward to attending next week’s Demonstrations of Learning and seeing more closely what they have been developing.

I am also pleased to announce that this year we have added Rachael Sharp to the roster of Harmony Teaching Artists.  Rachael is a dancer and choreographer who earned a degree in Social Justice Education in the Arts at the New York University.  Rachael also spent some time studying African dance in West Africa.  This week Rachael brought her passion to the (little) people when she and her friend and colleague, Baba Salim Ajanku, conducted a short workshop for first graders based on a dance the students are learning called the Tiriba.  Smiles abounded as students shook what they had and demonstrated what they have learned to Salim’s live drum demonstration.  Special thanks to Salim for his generous spirit.  We hope to have him back again next session!

African Drum Demo 2012 276 African Drum Workshop

I think that about covers the basics for now.  Please check back here from time to time and see what is new and exciting on the DCIS at Ford campus.  Our success is, to some degree, navigated by your continued support. 

Many Thanks and Happy Holidays.  ~TC