The Inspiration We Receive (and maybe provide)

During these unique times, it has frequently been said that the arts will get us through. They will heal us. They will explain to us. They will inspire us. They will reflect us. In alternate conversations, the challenges of our society looked to schools for assistance and sollutions. As an educator, this was both empowering and frustrating… it is not a school’s responsibility to make sure the economy is working, but students can benefit greatly from the routines and social engagement of the school setting.

In my own journey, I felt a sense of duty to provide students a meaningful learning experience while supporting the diverse and complex social/emotional perspectives. This responsibility was heavy, but was driven by purpose. Every student deserves an…

authentic experience in school and my music/theatre classroom provided added access to the mental health of my students. With this in mind, we embraked on a virtual learning space that strived to serve ALL of the needs of each student (collectivly as a class and individually as members of glocal communities.

In collaboration with colleagues, lessons were designed that allowed voice and choice, but were still working towards broader learning targets (consistently amplifying student voice in the classroom is a hill I will die on). In the 2 short weeks that school behan for us, students were already starting to feel empowered to share their creative and emotional feelings. In my own reflection, I acknowledge that this transaction is a risk on both sides of the relationships that requires sensitivity, strength, access, and purpose. We were on our way to a profound year together.

Although my career path took a sudden and sharp turn, I have found a new opportunity to foster that relationships in a meaningful way…where the emotional access is real…where the createive ideas are valuied…where the focus can remain on the learning process (and not on learning products). I wonder where these other ideas are situated in a broader Arts experience (in & out of schools) and how they may provide meaning and access for all of us.

  • Local Community Building: what are we doing as arts educators to showcase personal similarities & differences between our participants in a celebratory way?
    • Curating collective Playlists (by genre, by mood, by ensemble) – collect songs that students enjoy and share as a class (sample)
    • Fostering Creative Expressions: what opportunities are we providing students to create an original piece of art? Use accessible resources like Chrome Song Maker as a starting point. These can either be kept private, or colleacted and shared with peers.
  • Glocal Community Participation: as we learn more about ourselves, we often discover that there are commonalities that span far distances. Are we intyentioanlly using the internet to disocver those connections?
    • Small Works Project (via Kennedy Center): Ths is a fantastic project that connects the “good” in all of us and celebrates the little things we do so that we can celebrate the greater good in all of us.
    • I CARE IF YOU LISTEN: the collection of stories about what the 19th Ammendment means to members of the “American Composers Forum”. When we remember that each of these composers spent some time in a classroom, and may have immersed themselves into their music classes. What opportunties to we provide our students for making meaningful connections to the life around our classroom?

As has been my theme so often these past few months… there is no right answer on how to faciliate an #ArtsEd experience, but there certainly are some best answers. Where are your inspirations?

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