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A key thing is to make a new commitment to yourself, and to your own continuous learning, and reaching your own highest potential (intellectually, psychologically, spiritually, socially, and physically) because modeling this for students is perhaps the most important, most effective single thing you can do.
Almost without exception, teachers who explore arts integration and character education to improve their pedagogy, find themselves caught-up in excitement about their own learning, with very predictable, very wonderful consequences for their own lives, and for their students.

Why Arts Integration, Character Development & School Transformation?
Our brains activate differently and more for questions than for statements.  Similarly it seems for other senses, so teachers are faced with the problem of asking a 'visual' question or a 'movement-based' question.  Teachers want the engagement and learning that comes from a more fully activated brain.
When we create art, the many choices we make act just like questions in our minds, activating our brains and absorbing us.  When this is authentically paired with worthy academic tasks we increase the power of our instruction.
For most of us the most important and enduring questions involve meaning, purpose and identity - character issues, so teaching which appropriately involves these issues tends to absorb us more completely and for longer periods of time.
Of  course, there is a further emotional dimension to both the arts and character development.

Moving Ahead With Arts Integration
KEYS are the use of the senses, especially Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic, orchestrated with other 'best practices' such as cooperative learning, inquiry, concept and project-based learning.
The HEART of Arts Integration is the focus on trans-disciplinary concepts and the use of the meaning and emotion of the arts.

Initial steps for experienced teachers seem to be:

1- Reflect on a good memory from your own learning, or your own teaching.  What led to high levels of engagement and memorable learnings for you?

2 - Repeat the above, with one or more colleagues, ones you are considering for future collaborative work on units and analysis of student work.  Start a journal about such reflections

3 - Repeat #1 with your current students, and consider, if you don't already have class meetings, using this discussion to launch periodic class meetings to listen to students.

4 - Implement a single 'Arts-Based' Strategy for an important instructional standard which you know to be somewhat difficult to teach

5 -Reflect on the results of using an Arts-Based Strategy with colleagues and students, then plan next steps.....

More on these and other steps, with links to resources....

Moving Ahead With Character Education
KEYS are the identification and modeling of CORE Moral Values, along with Performance Values and Social-Emotional Learning and providing opportunities for moral action.
The HEART of Character Education is modeling good character, the primacy of high quality human relationships and the centrality of CORE Moral Values.

1 - Be clear for yourself about your core moral values - Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Resiliency.....Integrity.

2 -Identify at least one close colleague, preferably someone in your work team - grade-level or subject or 'house' - someone who is ready to make a similar commitment to personal and professional growth.  Note:  It is well documented that having just one like-minded colleague vastly increases our ability to stand for what we believe even in the face of strong opposition.

3 - Work with colleagues to make a commitment to model your shared core moral values in highly visible ways.

More on these and other steps, with links to resources....

Moving Ahead By Putting It All Together
KEYS are collaboration, creating and maintaining high quality human relationships and organizing around around high level, worthy, goals, and continuing joyful learning for all.
The HEART of School Transformation is the centrality of shared moral values as the basis of administrative, teacher and student leadership and a focus on 'cordially summoning' students, teachers and others to reach their highest human potential.

1 - Reflect on the identified 'Universal Concepts'


....Important in every subject, and very important in each subject.

Click here for Universal Concepts

2 - Reflect on 'Transformational Leadership' with its emphasis on shared values as the basis of authority and the development of people, and how it might differ from both 'school improvement' and traditional leadership.

More on these and other steps, with links to resources....

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