Carlisle Education Foundation Supports Innovation in the Visual Arts
The Carlisle Visual Arts Department continues to enrich students’ art experience with support from the Carlisle Education Foundation. Middle school art teacher Courtney Longaker was awarded a generous grant from the CEF to attend the 2013 National Art Educators’ Convention in Forth Worth, TX. Ms. Longaker, along with elementary art teacher Rachel Levy, attended the four-day event. The annual convention is the largest professional development opportunity worldwide for art educators and administrators, bringing together nearly 5,000 people.
Attendees chose from over 1,000 sessions that showcased the latest in research and practice and provided interactive learning through hands-on workshops, museum tours and other special events that support learning in and through the arts. Within the 1,000 concurrent sessions offered at the 2013 NAEA National Convention, there were numerous sessions specifically targeted to the Carlisle Public School (CPS) art department’s professional goals including strategies for enhancing student achievement, interdisciplinary learning, assessment, curriculum, and instruction.
On returning from the convention, Longaker and Levy focused specifically on creating interdisciplinary lessons for supporting STEM education and making connections between art and the skills students need to succeed in STEM.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, was created to improve the nation’s competitiveness in technology development. It is the philosophy of the CPS visual art department that art makes STE(A)M complete.
Scientists, engineers and artists create things through a process that requires the systematic use of a technique or a skill and involves the testing of ideas and theories. In their respective fields, artists, engineers and scientists study materials, nature, and people to create something new; this requires critical thinking and creativity.
After the convention Longaker and Levy developed and implemented a course taught to other faculty members. The course is designed to explore an interdisciplinary approach to how the scientific process relates to art production. The goal is to introduce a variety of classroom-friendly art integrated science, math and engineering lessons to help broaden student understanding of certain concepts. The visual and hands-on experience helps embed the idea and concepts into the student’s knowledge.
Ms. Longaker also held a workshop for special educators and classroom teachers to share with them showcased ideas from the conference about new art techniques and materials that could be incorporated into and enrich current classroom lessons.
Ms. Longaker and Mrs. Levy thank the Carlisle Education Foundation for their continuing support of the middle school and elementary visual arts department. A strong visual arts education promotes the skills children need to be successful. Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning and sharpens critical and creative skills. As students imagine, create, and reflect, they are developing both verbal and nonverbal abilities necessary for progress in school. While at the same time, they are developing problem-solving abilities and higher-order thinking skills.