Category Archives: Ideas

News: April 2015

Campus Calgary/Open Minds is holding another learning opportunity. This one will feature a Pop Up Museum!  Participants are asked to bring one artifact that represents the impact of the CCOM  experience on their class and their year.  The artifact could be a photo, journal, music, artwork or whatever you want!  When participants arrive they will be asked to create a label and add their artifact to the museum.  Let’s see what happens!  Some information on pop ups can be found here:  Pop Up Museum and here: Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History – Pop up

Participants will be given the opportunity to share their stories.  At the conclusion of the evening, we will create a collaborative art piece that reflects the conversations and stories that were inspired by the work done this year. Here is the Poster of Information:IMG_3878

Where: CBE Education Center 1221 8 St SW

When: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

RSVP to Jennifer Gray by April 24th  jlgray@cbe.ab.ca

Doors open at 4:00 Workshop from 4:30 to 7:00pm

Hope to see you and your artifacts there!

 

Other things that have caught our eye!

From Judy Willis’s ‘Learning and the Brain’ :  Sleep Deprivation

When Class Is Dismissed, the Brain Works Overtime

Teachers’ working hours go far beyond the 8am to 3pm schedule of their students. There are hours spent at faculty meetings, correcting homework, preparing for the next day – and then there is the worrying. Nothing I ever did in a hospital emergency room or doing CPR required the intense mental energy needed to keep 30 kids attentive enough to learn what I was teaching.

Good teachers are like jugglers keeping a dozen balls in the air so come nighttime, with alarm set for 6 a.m. to finish grading papers, memories of the day that’s gone – including the students that didn’t understand something, forgot their lunch or were embarrassed by wrong answers – become sleep resistant barriers. Add to these the financial stress, about potential loss of income from spending cuts and job losses, and you have cycle of insomnia and, with it, a band of additional consequences.

The High Cost of Sleep Lost

With inadequate sleep comes irritability, forgetfulness, lower tolerance of even minor annoyances, and less efficient organization and planning. These are the very mental muscles teachers need to meet the challenges of the next day. In wanting to do a better job the next day, the brain keeps bringing up the worries that deny it the rest it needs to do that job.

Studies of teachers’ response to high job strain reveal they spend more time ruminating about work-related issues and their brains take longer to unwind. Sleep hours suffers as well as sleep quality.

We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. It is during the later hours of sleep (especially between the sixth and eighth hour) when the brain releases the neurochemicals that stimulate the growth of the memory connections. The average teacher is reported to sleep six hours a night, falling short of the most valuable sleep time.

It is also during sleep that the brain has some its most profound insights and does some of its most creative problem solving. During the day, the neural networks for highest cognition are kept busy directing the rest of the brain’s moment-to-moment decisions, choices, prioritizing, and just getting through the day. At night, these executive control circuits are free from those distractions. As seen on brain imaging, these regions can be extremely active during sleep. After such brain activity, the subjects often awaken with solutions to problems, new insights, and ideas for creative innovation.

If you are a sleep deprived teacher you may not be aware of the term “woodpeckering” but you have probably done it. It happens the following a bad night’s sleep. You’re sitting in a long meeting and you can barely keep your eyes open, so you prop your head up with your hand. Next thing you know, you are jerking your sleeping head back to its upright position. Do this a few times and you are “woodpeckering.” I thought I knew sleep deprivation when I did my medical internship. That year I frequently went 36 hours with no sleep. When I finished my residency in neurology, I welcomed the promise of full nights of sleep ever after. It went pretty well for the next ten years until I became a schoolteacher and experienced a whole new level of sleep deprivation.

Sleep Tight Tips When You’re Out of Pixie Dust

Increasing sleep time from six hours or less to eight hours promotes the growth of the brain connections that increase memory up to 25% and restore emotional calm, alert reflectiveness, and job efficiency. Here are some general and teacher-specific tips.

The best “sleep hygiene” includes regular sleep and wake schedules – even on weekends. Exercise is also good, but avoid vigorous exercise in the two hours before bed sleep. Vigorous exercise releases adrenalin and noradrenalin, both stimulants that could delay falling asleep. Vigorous exercise before bed also means it will take longer for your body to cool down to the lower temperature that promotes sleep. It is, however, great listen to calming music and do gentle stretching, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation (going through each muscle group and tensing and relaxing it) before getting into your cozy bed.

Thinking about what you eat and drink before bed also has an impact. You may think you are avoiding caffeine, but look carefully at teas, soft drinks, cold and headache medications where caffeine may be hiding. Alcohol near bedtime might help you fall asleep, but when it wears off, you’ll awaken in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. Finally, the environment in which you sleep should be cooler as this is more sleep conducive.

And For All a Good Night

For teachers, bedtime rituals can clear your brain of that ruminating about work-related issues so why not have a warm bath with relaxing music before you go to bed. It’s important to leave worries aside – literally – so try writing them down so you won’t be concerned that you’ll forget them.

If some worries do wedge themselves into your sleep cycle and awaken you, expel them by writing them down on that external brain notecard. Most importantly, let your last thoughts include self-recognition for the critically vital work you do and drift to dreamland recalling the day’s school successes and the faces to which you brought smiles.

 

Keep igniting,

Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed.

jwillisneuro@aol.com
www.RADTeach.com

 

5 Room Poetry @ Glenbow

1.  Choose a juicy artwork to look at with the class.  Look again! What do you see, hear, smell, wonder? (this beauty is J E H MacDonald’s “The Tangled Garden” from 1916)IMG_3697

IMG_36952.  Introduce the template.  

3.   Record the ideas of the group.  Make a poem.  Read it out loud.  Swoon! IMG_36964.  Take the template on the road!   IMG_3698

Even poetry pessimists will want to read their work.

 

Student journal - reflecting

Before, During and After Museum School

 At the end of October, CC/OM held a workshop for teachers that are visiting sites this year at Briar Hill School.  Mike West, who was at Museum School in September shared his process for skill building and creating a culture of learning within his class.  Two other teachers from Briar Hill were at Museum School as well, Celeste Ruff and Leslie LeVesconte.  This was a fantastic experience for us because we got to see the impact of the week at Glenbow on three classes. 

Pre-Work was a vital part of each class.  The learning and thinking was made visible up and down the halls and in the classrooms.  Click on the images to make them larger.Pre Work Pre Work What is a museum? Pre work Beginning to think about...

Skills were practiced.

Pre Work - looking at art

At the Museum, the learning was again made visible.  FullSizeRender Artifact whispers

To document their learning, students returned to their journals and drew from their experience to create multi-dimensional representations of their learning.  Expectations were clearly stated.

Rubric for Journal

 

Journal rubric

 The work that was, and still is, being produced clearly demonstrates student centered learning that shows they were engaged and challenged to think deeply.

Journal sample JOW poem1

Open Minds See, Think, Wonder - Go Deeper

Open Minds See, Think, Wonder – Go Deeper

Student journal - reflecting

 Thank you to Briar Hill grade 3/4′s for three fantastic weeks! 

 

Museum grandparent

If the Museum was my Grandparent…

When we meet with teachers long before they come to Museum School, we ask them to think of an underlying theme that will weave throughout their year and their week at Glenbow.  This week, something lovely is happening, one question is revisited each day to focus these grade 3 and 4 student’s learning, exploring and thinking.

“If the Museum was my grandparent, what would I like to inherit?”

Day 1

Oct. 6 Briar Hill

On the final day, the students thought of the word that described their inheritance and then the object or place in the museum that led them to their word.  This was truly a synthesis of what they had been doing all week.

Day 5

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Connecting Collections: Integrating Modern and Contemporary Art into the Classroom

This summer Museum School headed to New York for some intensive learning.  We participated in the program,”Connecting Collections: Integrating Modern and Contemporary Art into the Classroom“.  It was organized by the education staffs of MoMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Before we left for New York, each participant was given two artworks to research.  This gave us the opportunity to explore the abundant online resources for teachers on each of the museum’s websites.  (MoMa, Guggenheim, Whitney, Met)  This is often an overlooked resource – art museums have a lot of art and content about art!  You will find artist and curator videos, art reproductions, lesson plans and much more.

When we arrived on our first morning, we broke into two groups looking for story connection and history/social study connections.  MoMA is a massive, crowded, overwhelming space filled with mind blowing art.  Somehow, our educators carved out space for us to work and discover how ‘theme’ can be developed and woven through carefully chosen works of art.

Picasso tableau

At the Whitney we were treated to a Jeff Koon retrospective and challenged with finding good questions to dig deep into the world of Koons!  How can you tell if you have created an open ended question?  It doesn’t have a correct answer. (That question, ironically, wasn’t open ended.)

Jeff Koons, "Play Doh"

At the Guggenheim we explored when, what and how much content do we give students when we teach.  This is the heart of inquiry based learning.  Without fail, the curiosity should come first.  We remember content when it was something we desire to know. 

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We went rooftop at the Met. Definitely my favourite view of New York.  Spectacular.  Three different educators with three different approaches involved us in a multidimensional, sensory and argumentative look at modern art.  We used drawing, debating and our senses to experience art. Great day!

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To wrap our week, author and educator, Laurel Schmidt, talked about learning, inquiry and the greatness that can be achieved in the classroom.  Inspiring stuff.  How do we learn? Novelty.  How do we make that learning indelible? In a number of ways:

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The week wrapped with a ‘Share Fair’.  Putting our learning into Practice.  It felt a bit like what I imagine speed dating would feel like except it had the energy of a bee hive.  Great ideas, great energy, great week.

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(Photo credit to Connecting Collections Teacher Institute Facebook page – check it out!)

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My Summer Holiday

IMG_2113I went to New York for the first time in my life this summer. It was everything I had imagined. Loud, exhilarating, overwhelming and wonderful! We at Museum School had the amazing good fortune of participating in the Lincoln Center Institute International Educator’s Workshop. This was an immersive week of arts education that challenged your thinking and opened your mind to new ways of engaging students with art through aesthetic education and imaginative learning. The framework that all of this connects to and jumps from are the Capacities for Imaginative Learning.

As the name suggests, the workshop took place at the Lincoln Center in the Julliard School. The Lincoln Center is comprised of three theatres, including the Metropolitan Opera, a museum and performing space, reflecting pool with a massive Henry Moore sculpture and the Julliard School. The workshop was facilitated by three Teaching Artists, an actor, a dancer and a visual artist. Fundamentally important to the Lincoln Center’s methodology is that students need to be involved with ‘live’ art – be that a performance or a visual piece. This is where our situation at Glenbow is ideal!

Embodying the Capacities

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1965

Though the workshop is primarily aimed at classroom teachers and school administrators, the concept of using art for imaginative learning is also ideally suited to museum education.  The Lincoln Center’s philosopher in residence, Maxine Greene, sums it up with one of her many fantastic quotes, “Without imagination, you live in a small room with the windows closed. Imagination opens the windows and shows us landscapes, horizons that we would not otherwise perceive…I want education to empower people to see possibility.”

Dancers

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Student bloggers – more stuff in the crowded day?

IMG_2234Neil Gaimon in his lecture, “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming.” argues that it isn’t so much what our children read, it is the opening up of space so they have time to read and read whatever they want.  That is the way to create readers and critical thinkers.  So, where does a blog fit into this?  I think writing has to be  part of  this discussion.  A critical thinker must also be able to illustrate their ideas and writing is where this happens.  This is the era of self publishing and thousands of blogs hit cyberspace everyday. In my own life, I reluctantly admit, I read more blogs than books now and if getting kids to read more means getting them to read anything, this might be one answer.  Blogs can be fiction, poetry,  art, music, science, current events – and they can be accessed by parents and students. In this blog post, Bill Ferriter offers some simple, straight forward methods for publishing classroom blogs.