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News from USDOE

September 15, 2016

Focusing on Arts Ed

The following information is reprinted from a weekly newsletter from the USDOE called TEACHERS EDITION. It is a newsletter “Celebrating Teaching & Leading”. Several of the segments in the newsletter during the week of September 8, 2016 pertained directly to Arts Education.

In July, the Department issued guidance emphasizing the importance of the arts in a well-rounded education, and last week, Secretary King welcomed 12 arts teachers to discuss the issue. The teachers insisted that the arts continue to fight for a place in schools, even though research has shown the positive impact the arts can have on socialization and test scores. Currently only 17 states specify arts education as a requirement for schools to be accredited and only 26 states require course credits in the arts for high school graduation. Teachers shared the important life lessons the arts provide to students through encouraging perseverance, dedication, critical thinking, and management skills. These life skills can’t be measured by a test they said, but teachers can show growth for individual students, if school leaders and policy makers are willing to act. Find some resources below for next week’s National Arts Education Week — thank an arts teacher you know and learn more about what your state is doing for arts education.

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VOICE FROM THE CLASSROOM
Stacey Dallas Johnston,  a 2016 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow at ED and an English and Literature teacher at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, has found that when students are given the chance to be creative, they often become engaged in school for the first time. The arts are “powerful tools that can unlock the opportunity for a student to learn about Math, English, or Science.” Read more of her blog in ED’s Homeroom.

Let’s Bring Some Love to Our World
In 2001, will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas recorded a song called Where’s the Love?, a social commentary on the state of our communities. He recently revisited the song and applied it to today’s environment. In an interview with the website ATTN, he said he hopes the song will spark conversation about what’s happening in society today — especially when it comes to education.

It Made a Bad Day Good
Teacher Stephanie MacArthur shares an idea to spread the love by way of compliments from students, to students. The idea is simple yet powerful: students take turns in the “hot seat” facing away from the board. Classmates write positive statements about the student on the board, and when they finish, the student gets to turn around and read them. What a beautiful way to start a year, or to respond to events as they arise in students’ lives.

Superheroes Inspire Students to Learn STEAM
What happens when you cross pop culture with STEAM? Marvel Comics has an answer in their new covers, designed to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The covers feature superheroes engaging in STEAM-related activities and are meant to get kids excited about the possibilities in their own futures (Slotkin, NPR, Marvel).

What We Heard from Educators This Week
5. “I was never taught how to teach creativity and I didn’t know you could teach it until now.” Teacher, California.
4. “I teach music because I think everyone deserves the chance to develop their soul.” Teacher, West Virginia.
3. “My favorite thing is that theater teaches empathy and sense of identity and neither of those is measurable.” Teacher, Virginia.
2. “Our students are our trophies.” Teacher, Texas
1. “The arts work to create wonder in students.” Teacher, Maryland.

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