Tag Archives: collaboration

What is your purpose here?

I hope when you read, “What is your purpose here?” You can fully envision the scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest. If not I think the image, below, is linked to a gif. (Hit me with a comment if you know the response to the question from the movie.)

I suppose it’s fair if you are wondering what this has to do with art education…

I met with art collaborative team leads recently and posed a question about the purpose of art CTs. Some quick answers included “to collaborate,” “to share ideas,” and “to share best practices.”  Yes, these are reasons we get together, but why do we do these things? Why do we collaborate? Why do we share ideas?


I am surrounded by this language all the time in the instructional services department. If a similar question were asked of a group of my central office colleagues we would probably all respond in unison. 

This interaction with my art instructional leaders helped me realize that this is a message that I should work harder to promote. It’s a mindset that can impact how we interact with our work. Everything we do should be with the goal of improving student learning. 


Here, in a nutshell, is our school division’s research-based vision of the work of teachers related to instruction and assessment (and collaboration):
Teachers evaluate the readiness of their students and work with their collaborative learning team (CLT) to analyze the data and plan instruction to meet student needs. Instructional plans are implemented and additional assessments performed to measure student progress toward standards and learning goals. The CLT continues the cycle by reviewing new assessment data and refining plans to ensure that all students make progress.

It was awesome to meet with 34 Art CLT leaders last week. These are the folks who make this kind of collaboration possible, even for art teachers who are singletons in their school. Thanks to all of you for facilitating this work with your teams and  for support best practices in art!

Art and Science

I had the pleasure of attending a celebration and exhibition of a great collaboration at one of our local schools. Through a residency sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Artist Rebecca Kamen worked with middle school art students to explore how art can help us visualize scientific concepts.

Students applied — and I dare say, refined — their own scientific understanding of concepts such as cell structure and  astronomy. Guided by Kamen and their art teacher, they transformed simple art materials to represent these complex and abstract scientific concepts.

Artmaking is all about communicating ideas. Making scientific ideas visible is just one example of this. What a powerful approach to learning and understanding! Congratulations to all of the students who did such a fine job of demonstrating the power of art education! And many thanks to the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Rebecca Kamen, and art teacher Janet Lundeen.

Art Teacher Leaders

The world of education needs more art teachers who are instructional leaders. I had two brief opportunities recently to stand on this soap box, most exciting of which when a good sized group of art teacher colleagues chose to come to an evening leadership training session.

Nevermind... I've Got It by Emily Muha, art teacher
Nevermind… I’ve Got It by Emily Muha, art teacher

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