How did this collaboration come about?
Eighth graders at Ellis Middle School in Austin study global cultures through the fine arts in a semester-long Art Ex (Art Experience) course. Until recently, the course has focused on music and visual art. The class is jointly taught by Lisa Tollefson and Connie Nelson who have both been involved in past Perpich Center programs such as Comprehensive Arts Planning Program (CAPP). Both teachers have accessed other resources at the Perpich Center such as the Multi-Cultural Voices (MCV) library resources, and they recently asked for help in developing a dance component for their Art Ex course.
Perpich Center staff and Austin educators agreed that this would be an excellent pilot model for distance learning in both dance and guided reflective practice. Barbara Cox, Arts Education Partnership Coordinator, and Diane Aldis, Dance and Distance Learning Coordinator, plan with the teachers in person, via phone, email, and video conferencing.
Why collaborate this way?
There is an identifiable need to broaden the audience for this existing work in dance content and in reflective practice—both for Minnesota students and teachers who do not have access to dance instruction in their schools and for educators who often do not have the opportunity to engage in meaningful, job-embedded professional development that can be directly tied to student learning in the classroom. Research supports reflective practice as being hugely beneficial to educators, but finding the time to do so is difficult. Guided practice in a project like this is integral in developing teacher expertise in new areas such as reflective practice and dance.
A key common goal is to demonstrate that eighth graders can meet part of the dance standard through a blended distance learning project using synchronous and asynchronous delivery. The proposed project presents a potentially more cost-effective way to support educators in greater Minnesota as they work to align their curriculum with the Minnesota Academic Standards.
The course also provides a vehicle for teaching and learning multicultural curriculum in an intentional way at a Middle School level. Teaching in the arts engages students in other content areas such as social studies and the development of a more inclusive curriculum. Cultural understanding is a key component of understanding dance as a discipline and as a practice. In this project, teachers and students learn alongside each other, developing their own reflective practices as a means to develop their critical thinking skills and deepen their understanding of the content.
What happens behind the scenes? (Under Construction)
Description of project history:
Student Teacher contributions - Jake Levisen
Descriptions of Media Collaborators work:
- describe people and their contributions
- testing ban on the use of internet
- Mike brought his own computer
- pcae widened band width - big difference (ask John)
Discoveries: Pre-teaching, Diane and student online chat, being in the rooms before class, students bringing in objects, particular student observations
More about Art Ex - more photos of the students
list of collaborators