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Instructing art in classroom

Renee Cortner, Goshen High School, gave the 2009 Art in the Curriculum program two thumbs up. If she’d had four thumbs, she would have given it all four.

“Art is more than drawing,” she said. “It’s like a dance. You can interpret it. You can feel it. It connects. There are many different elements to it. Those who can’t express themselves through writing can perhaps make pictures, and others can write from pictures. Art is important throughout the curriculum, and this workshop was valuable in helping us discover ways to integrate art in the core curriculum.”

Grants from The Wachovia Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, and additional funding from the Pike County and Troy City Boards of Educations, Pike Liberal Arts School and Alan Boothe, made it possible for the Johnson Center for the Arts to offer the 2009 Art in the Curriculum program that began Monday at The Studio in the Cultural Arts Complex in Troy.

The program is a series of teacher workshops that are designed to help integrate art education across the curriculum using the Alabama Course of Study Standards, said Linda Henry Dean, executive director of the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts that is facilitating the workshops.

Teachers from the Troy City and Pike County School Systems and Pike Liberal Arts School are attending the two-day workshops. Monday and Tuesday the workshop was designed for language arts, English and social studies teachers. The workshop for today and Thursday is designed for math and science teachers.

Presenters for the workshops are Sally Chambliss, who teaches secondary visual arts at LAMP Magnet Program High School in Montgomery; Carol Hull, who taught art in the Montgomery schools and also exhibits her work; and Larry Percy, associate professor of art and design at Troy University.

Dean said all presenters are outstanding teachers and artists and have new and innovative ideas for teachers who are challenged with integrating art into their core classes.

“Many schools don’t have art programs so the classroom teacher must add the art element,” she said. “These workshops provide them with ideas and motivation.”

Loretta Reynolds, teacher for the Pike County Elementary School Indian Education Program, was the only attending teacher who has a background in art.

“But this was a valuable workshop for me, too,” she said. “It provided us with a lot of information that we can take back to the classroom. I’ve attended workshops before, but this was the best. The information that we got was simplified so that it can easily be used. And, I’ve gained more confidence in what I’m doing by attending. This was an outstanding workshop.”

Ashley Johnson, sixth-grade English and social studies teacher at Charles Henderson Middle School, agreed that the workshop provided information that will be valuable in integrating art in her classroom.

“The book-making ideas that were presented can be used in so many ways and in ways that will motivate the students,” she said. “The books can be used for essays, figures of speech and alliteration – just so many ways. The instructors were excellent and I also learned a lot from the other teachers. There are many ways to learn when you participate in workshops like this and this one was outstanding.”