As we approach the start of our 2021 Summer Arts Integration Institute, we can’t help but remember past summers when we gathered teachers from all over Baltimore City to share stories and find new ways to bring the arts into every classroom. From in-person sessions to fully virtual, and everything in between, we’ve worked with teaching artists from across the country to bring techniques from diverse art forms to teachers and creative tools to use in their classrooms.
We’ve loved witnessing how talented our teachers are during Studio Sessions and how willing they are to share their own experiences and knowledge with one another. Join us as we take a quick look back at some of those memorable summers and all of the connections that we made in the name of the arts!
Although we couldn’t meet in person at our 2020 Summer PD, our creative and joyful moments were all the more poignant for happening virtually. Looking back on last summer’s events, we are proud of the hard work and dedication that went into ensuring our summer professional development still happened and that teachers still had the chance to engage with each other and learn. Over each course, teachers had the chance to make connections with different areas of the arts, whether that was animation, drawing, dancing, or music and everything in between! Each session had teachers working collaboratively to ensure the best outcome from the activities and conversations that were happening.
Despite not being able to gather in person, our interactive Studio Sessions were found to be a great benefit for teachers. Attendees learned from talented teaching artists such as Kevin Hartwell at Baltimore Improv Group, Kevin Sherry (author and illustrator of The Yeti Files book series), New York-based puppeteer Kayla Prestel, and local beatbox expert and vocal percussionist Shodekeh!
Our PD offerings also included asynchronous Video Courses that teachers could complete at their own pace. These courses, like the live Studio Sessions, connected arts disciplines and core subjects. These courses were tailored to specific core subjects and grade bands, making it possible for teachers to learn new techniques directly relevant to their own curricula. The 2020 Virtual Summer PD was a great success in trying circumstances, and one that gave teachers the ability to come together during a pandemic to learn more and grow.
For 2019, our Arts Integration Institute took place over five days at City Neighbors High School, where teachers rotated between a select group of facilitators. In 2019, the courses were taught by Amanda Pellerin, Becky Slogeris, Pam Negrin, Lenore Blank Kelner, and Amanda Burnham. Teachers got to learn about concepts like applying geometric forms using clay and using the design thinking process in Social Studies. Our 2019 Summer Arts Integration Institute at City Neighbors High School was a collegial gathering with great teacher turnout and fun activities that brought teachers and local arts organizations together.
2018 was our first time to host a summer professional development conference. Partnering with Maryland State Department of Education’s Fine Arts Department in their summer series, Maryland Centers for Creative Classrooms (MC3), we met at Western High School. Although this PD was only three days long, there was no shortage of quality content, involving music, dance, visual arts, and drama! Teachers had the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of arts integration, inquiry-based learning practices, arts integration assessment, and unit planning.
Teachers not only learned about arts integration, but also learned ways to improve the learning process to nurture and educate their students. The courses were conducted by teaching artists, arts educators, and artists chosen in collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education. The conference ended with a fun gathering of representatives from local arts organizations who shared their offerings with teachers on school programs, new exhibits, and shows.
As always, our goal for our summer professional development opportunities is to inspire and support Baltimore City educators. We have firsthand knowledge how the arts can help people to heal, can give young people a chance to express themselves willingly and freely, and even help to make a bigger impact in the world. We hope that our community of teachers continue to find our annual arts integration conferences just as inspiring as we find our Baltimore teachers and we cannot wait for this summer’s sessions to begin!