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Express-a-Book

July 2, 2019

Not your traditional book club

Express-a-Book uses the Arts, to create a learner centered, collaborative environment to share ideas. Participants experience the Arts and the format highlights the accessibility and power of the creative process. When we bring people together in a collaborative and creative environment we see learners, of all ages, engage at a high level. The Express-a-Book process supports this notion.

In 2017 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Design Team members Falmouth High School music teacher Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor who was the Director of Arts Education at the time created Express-a-Book – an innovative and creative approach to a traditional book club.

They presented the idea, after creating a protocol and experiencing it themselves, to members of MALI. Other teacher leaders stepped up, formed groups and experienced the process themselves. The results were amazing!

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity and excuse to jump in the sandbox and find ways to play with, highlight, reflect, and communicate my learning in a unique way.”

~Jake Sturtevant

HISTORY
Lindsay, Jake, and Argy planned and tried the process and presented it to the MALI participants. Lindsay wanted to read about creativity in teaching and learning so she read the article A call to action: The challenges of creative teaching and learning by R. Keith Sawyer.
Jake was curious about the power of boredom. He listened to In defense of boredom on WNYC, Radio, Manoush Zomorodi’s Podcast Note to Self, and read the book Bored and Brilliant. Argy wanted to focus on leadership so she listened to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

Once they completed their review they responded by creating artworks. Lindsay made a painting and wrote a poem, Jake created a remix mp3, and Argy made a black and white illustration. They shared and responded to each image/sounds by giving feedback and asking questions. This provided the opportunity to learn about each of their topics in a collaborative environment.

What has been learned by using Express-a-Book?

  • Share ideas and resources through an active process
  • Use the arts to make information accessible and engaging for learners
  • Learn together as a community
  • Allow for individuals who do not often engage in art making processes to experience the potential of the arts to enhance learning 
  • Offer a low cost, simple, scalable and refreshing approach to a ‘book club’ 
  • The process has practical applications for a variety of classrooms and settings. Express-a-Book can be applied across disciplines or in professional learning communities, it can take place face to face or electronically, within or across schools, districts, across a region/state/country/ or even the world.
  • Individuals must be willing to stretch and be vulnerable
  • Example of teachers teaching teachers

If you’re interested in seeing the protocol please email Argy at meartsed@gmail.com.

Express-a-Book has been used successfully at conferences and gatherings in Maine and beyond in a variety of ways. The format has been shared in workshops, videos, short articles and highlighted in Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners by Jeffrey Beaudry and Anita Stewart McCafferty.

 

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