arts education

May 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Allison Smith

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We are so thrilled to introduce you to our May 2019 Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Allison Smith. Allison is a spectacular K-4 art teacher at Galapagos Rockford Charter School  in Rockford, Illinois.  She is beloved at her school and because of her strong instructional and planning skills, serves as a model to her colleagues school-wide.  She is dedicated to her scholars and regularly finds innovative and creative ways to encourage the pursuit of the arts not just at school but at home and in the community.  

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 Allison was nominated by her supervisor, Stephanie Boeddeker.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher! 

Congratulations, Ms. Smith!  Thank you for your vital contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

 Allison is dedicated to the achievement of her scholars in art and all subject areas. She serves as a model for our instructors within her content and through her planning and organization in her classroom. 

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

 Allison encourages scholars to create and become an artist outside of the walls of her classroom. She ALWAYS has new and fresh displays of scholar artwork in the halls and takes the time to articulate what scholars are learning via their projects. She has taken initiative to create an art show for parents and makes art an important part of the curriculum in our school. 

 

How would students describe this arts educator?

 Scholars say Mrs. Smith is patient, caring, fun, and a great artist! 

 

Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

 One of my favorite things that Allison does is a display she creates in the hall outside her classroom called the "Art Challenge Board". She encourages scholars to make art at home and bring it to her to display proudly. She tries to find ways to connect her content with scholars in their everyday life and encourage them to continue their journey as artists.

 

What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

 Allison really knows and understands scholars' academic levels outside of the art classroom. She takes time to understand what they are learning in other classes and supports them in other academic areas. She knows how to make her content important, while also investing herself in the school as a whole.

April 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Noel Spring

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We are so excited to introduce you to our April 2019 Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Noel Spring.  Noel is an exceptional art teacher at Rusheon Middle School in Bossier City, Louisiana.  She works each and every day to ensure that her students are introduced to and actively working on a variety of arts projects.  Additionally, she uses her art class in strategic ways that allows for math, science, reading and social emotional learning integration.  Simply put, she is fantastic! 

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Noel was nominated by Jacqui Impson, the school counselor at her school.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher! 


Congratulations, Ms. Spring!  Thank you for your important contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

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 She is a dedicated, brilliant, talented, amazing woman and teacher! 

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

Ms. Spring goes above and beyond the normal duties of an art teacher. She supports the students through mentoring with our PBIS Tier II Climb Program and provides extracurricular support with her Ram Pride Spirit Team. 

 

How would students describe this arts educator?

Many students say they love Ms. Spring because she believes in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. I’ve also been told they know when a teacher loves them like they are their own child and that Ms. Spring is one of those teachers. One of her students who needs behavioral support said, “Even when I don’t make the best decisions she is there to show me that she cares, even if it’s tough love.”

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Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

She incorporates Math, Science and ELA into her lessons on a regular basis. The projects the students create are wonderful! They have made architectural pieces from popsicle sticks to represent key places in the world (Eiffel Tower, Stadiums, Twin Towers, etc.) The students do historical research on their locations as they prepare their design drafts prior to building. They have made some incredible tribal pieces this year that the students were extremely proud to show in the art gallery at our school. Another great project that she has done is an “emotions in abstract” assignment. The students are able to express themselves through their art and they have used it as therapy as they work through issues with sexuality, racism, domestic violence, self-harm, suicidal ideation, etc. Many of the pieces turned out amazing! 

 

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What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

In the Bossier Parish Schools  i3 Art Expo  this year, Ms. Spring represented Rusheon with a display of our students’ art work and she won 1st place in the Parish!! She is a vital part of Rusheon and is dedicated to improving the school and the students. We are blessed to have her on our staff and in our Ram Family! 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Sheena Folkman

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We are thrilled to announce our very first Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Sheena Folkman.  Sheena is an exceptional art teacher at LEARN 7 Elementary School . She works relentlessly every day to provide quality arts instruction to the Kindergarten – 5thgrade students that she serves on the West Side of Chicago. She is passionate, dedicated, innovative and is changing her students’ lives through the arts.  We honor her commitment, talent and transformative work at her school.  

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Sheena was nominated by her wife, Christina Folkman.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher.  

Congratulations, Ms. Sheena Folkman! Thank you for your important contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

Sheena takes art education to another level. She is referred to as “director” Folkman because her students are not just students, they are referred to as designers in her classroom. In only her second year teaching she has transformed the art program and enriched the lives of all of her students.

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

Sheena ensures that her class is doing more than simply art production. Each unit starts with an art history lesson, focusing on a specific artist or art style. That lesson then ties into one of the elements of art, which is demonstrated through a project the designers complete for that unit.

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How would students describe this arts educator?

Creative, firm, funny, talented!

 

Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

Sheena makes sure to also speak to classroom teachers so she can connect to the curriculum as much as possible. For example, when the 3rd grade read a book about Jackson Pollock, the art room was suddenly transformed into a Pollock-like studio! The floor was covered in plastic, desks and chairs were moved out of the way, and jazz played in the background as the designers learned to drop, splatter with, and tap their paintbrushes to create beautiful Pollock-inspired paintings.

 

What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

Sheena is constantly thinking of how to change up the media used, connect lessons to students’ interests, and generally goes above and beyond in her classroom.

CONGRATULATIONS, SHEENA!

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Leslie Cannata Nance

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We are thrilled to introduce you to music educator extraordinaire, Leslie Cannata Nance! She is a multi-talented teacher and artist who has a genuine commitment to her students’ growth and development as musicians. Leslie has a deep, profound love for the arts and it’s evident in her work and performances. Check out her interview to learn more about the passion that drives her work as an educator and how arts education has impacted her life.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Seeing students be successful when they have otherwise not gotten the opportunity academically is my greatest achievement. Sharing my passion of music with others of all ages is not a “job,” but a joy. I absolutely love the subject I teach! I practice what I preach! My students know that I love what I do, and they know they have the opportunity to be successful like me because I share with them! I create relationships with every single student with whom I come in contact. 

  

What do you want your art to say?

Music is my life. I live and breathe music and performing – in any capacity. When I graduated from high school, I was faced with the decision of a) performing and making lots of money on Broadway or b) teaching the youth of America the importance of the performing arts. Obviously, I chose the latter. I have not regretted my decision to become a music educator one time! My students, ages 5 to 95, ALL know that I have a vested interested in them and want the best for them. I have worked with diverse school populations - at-risk students, high populations of impoverished families, special education – that require my constant attention to detail and a never-ending classroom based on relationship building.

 

What project are you working on now?

I am currently making the move from elementary music to secondary music - instrumental or vocal. I'm not quite sure what's in store for me in the near future, but I'm confident I will be the best!

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Oh, my goodness! There are too many to name and all for different reasons! To narrow it down to my top picks, though: 1. I absolutely love Bach and his attention to the musical elements in his compositions. 2. I'm a HUGE fan of The Who because of the lyrics and the drive in their sound. 3. Have any of you ever just spent time listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers? I could go on FOR HOURS! 4. We would need to have drinks and brunch for 9 days about The Beatles.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

How has it not? I live and breathe performance education. These children are our future, and I'm making that happen because of the interest my educators showed in me.

 

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Biography: 

Leslie Cannata Nance has been performing since she was a small child. With dedication and a lot of hard work, Leslie was given full scholarships to several universities to study music education. Leslie truly lives out her dream job every single day teaching children the love of music and performance. Leslie was hired before her college graduation in Pasadena Independent School District at Richey Elementary School as the Music Coordinator and Choral Director. Here, Leslie was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year. After a move to north Houston in 2009, she became the Music Coordinator and Choral Director at McFee Elementary School in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. At McFee, Leslie revolutionized the music department, as she was the third music teacher hired when the school had been opened for only two years. In May of 2018, Leslie accepted a position as music coordinator at Willbern Elementary School in CFISD.  In her first 3 months at this campus, she has implemented grade level performances and a choir, both of which were absent in years previous. Leslie gives every student in her classroom the opportunity to perform, as she feels this is one of the most important aspects of elementary music education. When Leslie is not teaching public school, she spends her time teaching private voice, piano, strings, and drama.

Leslie welcomes your questions and comments and has many resources she wants to share with you for free (including original musicals)! She can be contacted by email at leslie.nance@cfisd.net 

Punk Rock Changed My Life

by Josh Staub 

“Punk rock changed our lives.” Indeed. 

This quote from the Minutemen song History Lesson II, off their seminal double-record, Double Nickel on the Dime, could even be more poignant perhaps if D. Boon said, “punk rock saved our lives.” 

Growing up in Hanover, PA--in an area of the country known as Pennsyltucky for its excessive redneck population, where superstitious conservatism, incest, and drug abuse run rampant--it was clear we were all fucked. In the 70s and 80s, we watches as most of the major industries relocated to foreign countries, where slave labor could be utilized to make rich people richer and the folks of Hanover much poorer. Since then, many of the factories and warehouses around town have been left abandoned or converted into section-eight housing. Then there is the pervasive PA Dutch attitude, which can be summed up as Stoicism exaggerated to the point of stupidity and catatonia intermixed with staunch Christianity, zero-tolerance, narrow worldviews culminating in dangerous belief systems, that is, for anyone outside of the narrow consensus reality. Punk rock, for one, provided folks like myself--who find themselves outside this bogus consensus reality--reassurance that all belief systems, including this particular one that has been so harmful to me personally, are, to some extent, BS. Just make an acronym out of it, like Robert Anton Wilson, belief system = BS. So when the rigid social structure failed to indoctrinate and subjugate us rebellious youth and then attempted to paint us as fuck-ups and insane individuals, punk rock, along with art and literature, became a stop-gap. In fact, the punk ethos was able to deflect their attacks, illustrating how insane these people really were and how their BS was really legitimized madness. 

To me, music began and ended with Kurt Cobain. If you’re a fan of Kurt’s music, inevitably you’ve explored at least some of the indie bands he was constantly promoting--bands like the Raincoats, Meat Puppets, Half Japanese, Daniel Johnston, the Wipers, the Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, and so on. A modest, genuine dude, Kurt was always more comfortable talking about bands he was digging rather than discussing his own music and its unexpected success. He also introduced me to the novelist, William Burroughs, who he recorded an album with and often said that Naked Lunchis his favorite book. From Burroughs, I was introduced to the Beats, particularly Kerouac and his road journeys, Henry Miller, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Knut Hamsun, and Dostoyevsky. As another casualty of the war on drugs, Kurt reframed and deprogrammed the drug propaganda that was shoved down my throat at school regarding psychedelics. Also, Prophet Cobain brought me to esoteric Buddhism and, eventually, the kabbalah and Sufism, making his band name, Nirvana, quite poignant and ironic.  

Punk rock is about transgression. There is immense power in transgression, especially in regard to the deconstruction of harmful, limited BS. As a punk musician in Philly with Thee Peecock Angels, we hope to adopt the deconstruction and transgressional work started by folks like D. Boon and Kurt Cobain to disrupt and dismantle social and philosophical constructs that impede peace and progression. These gentlemen and women, through their music, have empowered and enlightened me. Without these folks, I would’ve given up back in high school. So, to this I say, punk rock saved my life. 


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Biography:

Josh Staub is a punk rock guitarist/vocalist, an author of the Merchant of Unsellable Dreams and Land of Broken Promises trilogies, and a restorative justice facilitator in Philadelphia. His band, Thee Peecock Angels, can be listened to for free on Spotify and bandcamp. They can be reached through their Facebook page as well. TPA has released 8 eps and two full-length albums, Thousands of Dead Hipsters(punk rock homage to MDC) and Gentrify Me, which have all been recorded, engineered, and produced by Terminal City Records in North Philly, located in Josh’s attic apartment.