Nine Resources for Building Research Skills with Data Collection and Observation
Adapted from article by Dr. Leslie Farmer
We've been hearing a lot lately about turning STEM into STEAM. You can integrate these resources into your teaching artist practice to help students explore the natural world and strengthen research skills.
Sci Girls: Underwater Eco-Adventure | Video Collection
The series, Sci Girls, features an underwater eco-adventure illustrating the steps involved in doing research. Check out this short video and explore reefs with a marine biologist. The second video focuses on planning; the science girls choose indicator species to count as they compare the health of two reefs. The third video highlights data collection and observation methods. The last video illustrates how data can be visualized to facilitate data analysis.
Tracking Your Own Footprints: Digital Tools to Inspire Conservation | Article
This IdeaStream article highlights how one data collecting tool is changing the way students at a school in Ohio understand resource consumption.
Becoming Green Energy Experts | Video
This Michigan State University/Lansing Boys and Girls Club partnership demonstrates the powerful results of giving youth the science background and tools they need to carry out investigations of their own design, and to communicate their knowledge in their own voice.
Toward Greener Biofuels and Greener Cars | Article
Fuel a car with a corn cob? This article gives insightful data about alternative car power. Students calculate the energy consumption of different fuel sources to drive a car.
Featured Blog: "It's Not About Convincing":
5 Points to Create Community Connections
To and Through Theatre
When teaching artist Estela Garcia was hired to help "connect" the Boyle Heights community to Center Theatre Group's Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven project, she went back to basics. Understanding the roots and drivers of connection helped her to trust, ask, connect passions and stories, and ultimately deliver. Read more in her blog below.
Above, students from Roosevelt High School participating in theatre workshops as part of project outreach. Photo credit: Tiana Alvarez.
The State of Teaching Artistry:
California Takes On Questions of Teaching Artist Training and Certification
...before someone else takes the conversation in a direction we might not like!
Join TASC and teaching artists from around the region to discuss and challenge ideas about teaching artist training and questions of certification.
Check out Jennifer Oliver's article in last month's newsletter on this subject and the beginnings of the conversation. You'll see at the end of the article that the topic has sparked some discussion among TASC members. Would it lead to "respect" and "credibility"? Or would it be "limiting"? It's important that we talk about it. So...
Given the importance of the topic for our field, we're keeping the conversation going. Our goal is to develop broad-based consensus through meetings from around the state of California from within the teaching artist field on core training needs for professional teaching artists, regardless of environment they will work in or special populations being served.
TASC will host community conversations at several regional locations around the state. We want to hear your voice, so please click on a location near you, note down the details, and register to let us know you're attending.
Join us if:
- You run an organization that hires teaching artists and wish all the artists you hired had a core set of skills you can build on with your organization's training.
- You are an experienced teaching artist who learned some of your skills the hard way, and have experience to share about the skills you might have learned that would have made your life easier and/or your work deeper, sooner.
- You are an emerging teaching artist who wishes you could enroll for a few highly focused classes that would really set you on the path to a professional life as a teaching artist.
- You have lots of idea and opinions about training, certification and/or credentialling for teaching artists.
What will we talk about?
- We'll review what we already know about the knowledge, skills and dispositions of highly effective teaching artists.
- Brainstorm about ways these things are taught, learned or otherwise shared and developed.
- And collect ideas and models for how we would like to see our field develop its collective expertise.
Recommendations from around the state will be collected through September and October and shared with the California Arts Council, the field as a whole, and institutions who might help us develop a model that we can all get behind. Hope to hear from you in the coming months!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designing Your Own Path:
A Year of Professional Development for the California Teaching Artist
Most of us design our own path -- that's what this hot topic of certification is all about. But whether you think that's a good thing or more like a path that needs repaving, professional development is something we're all interested in. So, if we were to undertake to design a year of professional development for a California teaching artist in the current landscape, what might that look like? Here are some possibilities.
First, a good book is a good place to start: The Teaching Artist Handbook, Vol 1 provides some insight into working as a teaching artist. Subtitled Tools, Techniques, and Ideas to Help Any Artist Teach, it's not a how-to, but a collection of essays, stories, lists and examples, along with opinions and techniques you might find provocative.
Now to map out your school year.
In the Fall…
- First, drop everything and apply immediately to receive financial aid to attend Teaching Artist Pre-Conference at National Guild's Community Arts Education Conference from November 11-14 in Philadelphia. Facilitated by Eric Booth, the full-day pre-conference institute promises to involve you in working to forward teaching artistry, including improving the business of teaching artistry; advancing the quality of practice; and activating a national network to strengthen the teaching artist field. Of course, you'll have to figure out how to get to Philadelphia in November, but it will be well worth it.
- Next, if you're in Los Angeles, hurry and fill out your application for ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Leadership Program. This is a FREE advocacy training and leadership development with real-world application, empowering you with the skills, knowledge, and an expanded network to be an arts leader in your community. Apply by Sept. 9.
- If you're in the Bay Area, plan to stop by Luna Dance Institute on the 2nd Tuesday of each month this Fall for Practitioner Exchanges. Coinciding with the start of the school year, these events create time and space for peer educators to explore issues of practice, get inspired, try out new ideas or perspectives, or ask for help with challenges. Each month centers on a different topic. RSVP and fee info here.
- Bay Area folks, don't forget to also register for the Integrated Learning Specialist Program (Alameda County - East Bay/ San Francisco/Marin) Dedicate your Saturdays this Fall to learning about research-based frameworks and practice-proven strategies for supporting culturally-responsive arts-integrated teaching across the curriculum. Sound fancy? Pretty soon, you'll have that vocabulary down, too. Check it out.
In Winter, the internet is your friend.
You can sign up to receive updates from some local organizations that frequently offer professional development opportunities. For example...
- If you're in Northern California, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission frequently hosts excellent classes and workshops geared towards teaching artists.
- The Arts Education Roundtable Listserv in Los Angeles is an online forum through Yahoo Groups with close to 800 members that alerts you to opportunities and events in the Los Angeles County arts education community. Subscribe by emailing: email@example.com.
And while you're at it, take in some self-study webinars to add depth and breadth to your practice:
- Bartol On Demand offers: "On the Same Page: Building Strong Partnerships between Classroom Teachers and Teaching Artists."
- The website for Creativity Matters: Arts and Aging Toolkit is designed to increase the expertise of those who direct existing community arts and aging programs and to give others in the community the tools to take the first step — and keep going.
Click to read on and plan for Spring and Summer opportunities here. There are some exciting ones, so make sure they're on your calendar!
These are just a few possible stops along a possible professional development path. Are there resources we've missed? Something you'd like to share with your fellow teaching artists? We're interested. Please click to leave a comment below the article and let us know about resources in your community and/or your thoughts about TA professional development paths in general.
"It's Not About Convincing":
5 Points to Create Community Connections To and Through Theatre
By Estela Garcia
When I first got hired to be a community liaison for Center Theatre Group’s Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven project in collaboration with El Teatro Campesino, I Googled “liaison.” I had heard the word before, but I wanted to know what it meant and what my job would entail. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “liaison” is “a person who helps organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other.”
So, my job was to connect people who work, play, and live in the Boyle Heights community with Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven. The project set out to introduce participants to theatre, both through on-stage performance and the work that takes place behind the scenes. Phase one was to recruit community members to participate in performance workshops led by El Teatro Producing Artistic Director Kinan Valdez.
Our recruitment strategy was to target places where groups of people with a vested interest in the Boyle Heights community—community leaders and drivers—were already gathered. We also wanted to target people with a proclivity for the arts, as well as people who were already searching for these kinds of activities, even if they didn’t know what they were searching for.
“Drivers” are the people who drive people to community programs, or people who are well connected to the community’s heartbeat. The main driver of Center Theatre Group’s The Shop program has always been Jesus Reyes, the program manager for CTG’s community programs. Jesus lives, works, and plays in Boyle Heights and has a great deal of passion for the community and connections within it. One of his connections is Yolanda Rodriguez, a driver involved in a variety of programs in Boyle Heights and the Eastside who had attended The Shop programs in the past. She handed me her calendar of events and gave me the names and phone numbers of the people setting up these events. We hit gold with Yolanda because her connections turned out to be very fruitful.
Once we found the right people, we had to figure out how to convince them that our project was worth their time and would benefit the community. Below are what became my guiding points as we sought out to engage the community of Boyle Heights, and how we got close to 200 participants at our workshops:
- Trust: Let the community’s drivers know who you are and what you are about, and gain their trust. They are community leaders, so their interest is already in the right place. If you are offering something good (and free), chances are they will be glad to have met you. They want the best for their participants, too!
- The Ask: Ask the drivers if you can come and make an announcement at their next event or meeting. Ask for what you need, but do not push, and be respectful of the organization’s needs. Fit yourself into their agenda.
Click to see 3 more points for successful and authentic community engagement and read more about the project.
Estela Garcia is the community liaison for Center Theatre Group’s Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven and The Shop initiative. She loves to cook and play dress up and is a “super tia” to 15 nieces and nephews! Estela's blog post was originally focused on the Center Theatre Group's website here. If you're in the LA area, check out a performance of Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven -- with Boyle Heights community members performing alongside El Teatro Campesino!
09 Sep 2015 • Los Angeles
12 Sep 2015 9:30 AM • Santa Ana
14 Sep 2015 4:00 PM • Online
16 Sep 2015 12:00 PM • Online webinar
Want to share your event?
Email event information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deepening our Teaching Practice This Coming Semester: An Online Reflection and Discussion Opportunity
Dance teaching artist and blogger extraordinaire Jill Randall is starting a new series on her weekly blog, asking us to reflect deeply on our work as teaching artists as we head into this school semester. (While Jill is a dancer, her blog is not just limited to dancers, by the way, but a good read for teaching artists of all disciplines.)
She offers a list of questions and encourages readers to use them - a few or all - in a way that works for them. This might take the form of weekly journaling, silent reflection while commuting home one day a week, discussions in staff meetings, or participation on the blog in a dialogue.
In the coming weeks, a weekly question will be posted on the blog and on the Life as a Modern Dancer Facebook Page. Either way, you can share your thoughts related to the weekly reflection question as well as read about others all around the country.
This week's question simply is: What are you excited about in your work/program?
Respond at Life As a Modern Dancer.
Submit Your Blog
TASC is in search of blog submissions that focus on teaching artistry and arts learning from a variety of perspectives. We invite teaching artist, arts administrators, educators, researchers and more to contribute to the ongoing conversation. Learn More.
|Share your videos & photos
TASC invites photos and videos that show the work of teaching artists. Do you have a video or photo that you feel is representative of your work as a teaching artist or what your organization does? Send video links and photos to email@example.com.
Include names of individuals in the photo.
Please note that you must have full permission to use any photos or videos you share with TASC.