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Child Advocate

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March 2012 Issue 5, Volume 20

Supporting the Arts in Education


2012 Convention May 4-6, 2012

Contents 6

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Seattle Airport Doubletree Hotel

Look for your Convention Registration information in your mail or go to the Washington State PTA website www. wastatepta.org.

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his year’s WSPTA Convention promises to be one of the best opportunities for your PTA leaders to learn and grow in their leadership skills, discover the power of this association for our children, network with other PTA leaders from around the state, obtain new ideas for your PTA, and let your unit’s voice be heard on important decisions setting the course for our Association’s future. In addition to a great line-up of inspiring speakers and programs, Convention will provide you with a first-hand opportunity to hear directly from both of the major party candidates for governor of Washington state and find out what they believe about the future of education in our state and other programs related to families and children. In addition, you can: s Enjoy a night of fun and delicious hors d’oeuvres at the President’s Reception on Saturday evening. s

Celebrate local unit and council achievements and awards at the Awards Breakfast on Sunday morning.

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Attend the heart-warming Reflections Awards Program, showcasing this year’s student achievement in the arts.

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Learn from a wide selection of learning opportunities throughout the weekend with 9 different class sessions.

The

Child Advocate

a Washington State PTA parent involvement publication

Washington State PTA 2003 65th Avenue West Tacoma, WA 98466-6215 Website: www.wastatepta.org Email: wapta@wastatepta.org Phone: (253) 565-2153 or 1-800-562-3804 Fax: (253) 565-7753

VISION:

7 Why is Arts Education Important in Our Schools?

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Enhanced Cultural Understanding Through Arts Education

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Integrating Arts in the Classroom

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Music Matters

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Encouraging Creativity and Imagination at Home

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WSPTA and the Arts

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The Child Advocate is published online every month from September through

May by the Washington State PTA, 2003 65th Avenue West, Tacoma, WA 984666215, (253) 565-2153. Contributors are welcome. Call the State PTA office for guidelines. Whenever PTA is used it also refers to PTSA. PTA is a registered trademark of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. Novella Fraser, Washington State PTA President Bill Williams, Washington State PTA Executive Director Karen Fisker-Andersen, Editor

“Making every child’s potential a reality.”

MISSION:

PTA is: n A powerful voice for all children, n A relevant resource for families and communities, and n A strong advocate for the well-being and education of every child. The Washington State PTA accomplishes the mission of PTA by

• Speaking on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community, and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children; • Supporting parents* in developing skills to raise, protect and advocate for their children; • Encouraging parent*, teacher, student and community involvement; • Promoting opportunities for positive outcomes for children; and • Being a financially stable, well-managed organization that promotes diversity, provides quality service, models best practices and values its members and employees. *Parent may include adults who play an important role in a child’s family life since other adults (grandparents, aunts, uncles, or guardians) may carry the primary responsibility for a child’s health, welfare, education and safety.


Why is Arts Education Important in Our Schools? A

rts education is more than just looking at artwork or listening to music. It involves a skilled teacher actively guiding students in appreciating the creative elements in artwork or music, teaching them to use tools and instruments, and encouraging them use their imaginations to create their own works of art. Visual arts, photography, music, dance, drama and creative writing challenges and engages the mind in significant ways. If our young people do not know, value, and use the arts, they will never realize their true potential. Arts education is valuable on its own merit, but studies have shown some additional benefits of arts education, including improved student achievement, creativity, positive attitudes about school, and positive social interactions among students.

The Child Advocate, March 2012

Improving Student Achievement

Studies have shown that young people who study the arts perform better on standardized tests than students who have no experience in the arts. This could be attributed to the fact that the study of the arts requires focus and practice to achieve success. For example, learning the lines for a drama production, practicing a dance or learning a musical instrument requires self-discipline and a good work ethic, which can carry over into their other academic subjects at school. These studies suggest that a strong arts program leads to increased academic achievement in schools. Encouraging Creative Thinking

The study of the arts encourages children to think, analyze, and form their own opinions. Students learn to explain why they feel the way they

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What Parents Can Do:

Creative thinking skills are often not learned in other academic subjects, yet they are skills that are often valued and sought after in the workplace. Arts education may be the only place students learn these important skills. Developing Positive Attitudes About School

Arts education can help foster a positive attitude about school. This is especially important for some students who may struggle in core academic subjects, but excel in the arts. The arts may be the only avenue in which students experience success in school. Sometimes the arts is what makes the difference for these students in providing motivation for them to stay in school. Experiencing Positive Social Interactions

Participating in a theater production, playing in a band or an orchestra, or singing in a choir, helps children learn to work cooperatively. With our world becoming increasingly characterized by electronic interactions, participation in these interactive, face-to-face activities provides children with a valuable life skill that they may not otherwise learn.

Sometimes the arts are seen as simply an extra in a school’s curriculum. As parents, we need to help educate other parents, as well as teachers and school administrators, on the great value that arts education brings to students. Parents can become influential advocates for including the arts as an essential component of every child’s education.

do about a particular piece of art. They learn to “think outside of the box” and try to look at things from a different perspective. Students are encouraged to try something new and create something unique.

• Talk to your children to find out what kind of arts education your school is providing. • Ask your children’s teachers about how arts are used in the classrooms. • Make an appointment to talk to the teacher or the school principal if you feel that the arts aren’t a significant part of the educational instruction. Provide facts and information on the value of arts education if needed. • Encourage your children to take art and music classes at school. • Provide art supplies at home and engage in arts projects with your children at home. • Take family field trips to a dance or theater performance, an arts exhibition, art museum, musical concert or simply enjoy the creative nature of the outdoors. • Provide enrichment opportunities for your children to participate in arts education in the community. n

Enhanced Cultural Understanding Through Arts Education

A ppreciating art has no language barrier. The arts can provide students with a unique window into the lives of people across the globe and ultimately lead to a better understanding of our world and people from other cultures. Studying art from other cultures can help students understand that although our culture is different from other places around the world, our desire for love, family, peace, happiness, and beauty are the same in every culture. Following are some ideas that can be used to help introduce children to different cultures through arts: • • • • • •

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Students can be introduced to music from other cultures in music class, learn dances from other cultures in PE class, as well as learn to appreciate drama, photography and visual arts from other cultures. Host a cultural fair and invite families from your school community to share traditional culinary arts, music, costumes and dances from the countries of their heritage. When you take a vacation, encourage your children to learn about local influences in music, cooking, dancing, and other forms of art. Invite culturally diverse artists into the classroom to talk to kids about their art and to teach them some of the techniques they use in their artwork. Engage your classroom in a culturally relevant drama production. Study literature and poems from other parts of the world and discover similarities and differences compared to our own culture. n

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine


Integrating Arts in the Classroom

A rts can enhance learning in nearly every academic subject. Integrating the arts in the classroom not only helps students develop creativity, it engages students in understanding the subject in a different way and sometimes leads to a deeper understanding of the material. Developing creative thinking skills helps individuals solve problems, come up with new ideas, and think of better ways of doing things. These are skills that are valued in the workplace. While some children are naturally more creative than others, all children have the ability with a little practice, to learn to think creatively. If children spend time in the arts, then they will grow into adults with well-developed creative thinking skills. Following are some ideas to illustrate how students can use art to enhance learning in specific subject areas: Reading:

• Create comic strips that illustrate the actions in a story.

The Child Advocate, March 2012

• Act out a play, develop a puppet show, or produce a DVD based on something the students have read. • Build a diorama, collage, painting, mobile or sculpture that depicts a scene from a book. Math:

• Use culinary arts to help students practice doubling or halving recipes. • Fold paper to show fractions. • Use three-dimensional models to manipulate shapes, show values, compare sizes. • Use computer graphic design programs to reflect, resize and rotate objects. Science:

• Make a poster or painting depicting animal habits and habitats. • Create a photogram, diorama, or model to show scientific processes. • Write and perform a song or rap to help other students remember scientific facts. •

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Social studies:

Learn and perform a dance or a musical composition from another culture. Prepare some food from another culture. Study and report on an important piece of artwork from another culture. This could include a monument, painting or artwork from a famous artist of that country, a style of dance or music, or any number of cultural works of art. Construct a model city from small milk boxes or other art supplies. Show traffic patterns, zoning restrictions or any other city planning considerations that are being discussed in class. Construct a salt map that shows specific geographical elements,

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such as lakes, rivers, mountains, etc. Design a travel brochure to another country.

History:

Design a costume that is consistent with a specific culture or time in history. • Build model home with paper mache that shows how homes looked and were designed in a particular culture or time in history. • Write a short story or play set in a specific period of time. There are many other ways students can incorporate arts in their education. Encourage your students to use their imagination to develop their own ideas. n

Music Matters Son tudies have shown some very specific benefits of studying music a child’s brain development. These benefits are gained by not merely listening to music, but by studying it, such as by learning to play a musical instrument or learning to sing in a choir. Musical training has been found to strengthen neural connections in a child’s brain that enhances language acquisition, reading decoding skills and mathematical reasoning skills. Other benefits from music education:

• It takes time and effort to learn how to play an instrument, so students learn personal responsibility. Success only comes by practicing. • When playing with an orchestra, band, or choir, students also learn teamwork, cooperation. and self-discipline. • Performances provide students with opportunities to learn how to deal with pressure. Learning to overcome anxiety and the fear of performing in front of an audience are importance life skills. • Music provides students a creative outlet. Students can express themselves through the music they play and they can also write their own compositions. What Parents Can Do:

• Advocate for music education in the schools. Make sure parents and educators know the value and benefits of music education for student success. • Parents should encourage their children to take up a musical instrument or join a choir. • Play musical games at home: Listen to classical music and together with your children try to determine the instruments you

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hear, take turns copying clapping rhythms, play Name That Tune, or encourage your children to compose their own music at home. • Watch musical productions as a family either on television, DVD or live performance: visit music museums such as Seattle’s Experience Music Project; and go to concerts as a family. • Older kids may enjoy learning about the history of popular music. Check out books and DVDs at your local library to encourage this interest. • Encourage your children to appreciate a variety of music, not just what is popular with their peers. n

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine


Encouraging Creativity and Imagination at Home P ay attention to the things that interest your children. Some kids are more naturally drawn to drama, or music, while others seem to enjoy writing, drawing, or painting. • If your children enjoy dancing or putting on shows, encourage this creative endeavor by supplying them with music, and an attentive audience. • Older children may enjoy looking at the world through the lens of a camera or video camera and capture the artistry of everyday life and the world around them. • If your children enjoy working with video, encourage them to make their own short films on topics that interest them. • Encourage your children to keep a journal, write short stories or poems. They can also illustrate their stories and poems.

a community drama program, an art class or a dance class. Follow your children’s creative interests. • Purchase creative toys for your children, such as modeling clay, toy musical instruments, building blocks, art supplies, dress up clothes, etc., or make your own from easily available materials, such as play dough, paper mache, etc. • Encourage curiosity. For example, if your children are interested in bugs, spend time collecting them, learn about them by taking your children on visits to the library or searching with them on the Internet. Have your children keep a journal of the bugs they find and have them sketch the bugs and list some facts they discover about them. • Discuss interests together. If your children like a particular book series, talk about what they liked about the series and what they didn’t like about it. Encourage thoughtful reflection.

• Encourage children to act out scenes from their favorite stories or write their own alternate endings or sequels to stories they like.

• Introduce your children to creative people. If you know someone who paints, writes, or plays music either professionally or as a hobby, introduce them to your children.

• Enroll your children in music lessons. Encourage your children to try

• Be a good role model. Let your children see you being creative. n

The Child Advocate, March 2012

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WSPTA and the Arts “Every student in the nation should have an education in the arts.” This is the opening statement of “The Value and Quality of Arts Education: A Statement of Principles,” a document from the nation’s ten most important educational organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators, the National Education Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, and the National School Boards Association.

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he Washington State PTA has supported arts education since this organization was founded in our state in 1905. In fact, the founder of the Washington State PTA, Abby Williams Hill, was a professional railway artist. Her scenic paintings of the Pacific Northwest were used by railroad companies to help draw tourists west. She believed in the benefit of getting children out of the classroom so they could learn through experiences and her children often accompanied her on painting/camping trips. Although arts education was important to early leaders of this association, it wasn’t until the development of the National PTA Reflections Program and the adoption of the Washington State PTA “Arts Education” Program Action Committee that this topic became a focus. Reflections Program

Washington State PTA began participating in the National PTA Reflections Program in the early 1970’s. When this program was first introduced, students in grades 1-12 competed in just two divisions: visual arts and literature. Music and photography divisions were added soon after. Washington State PTA spearheaded the effort to add film and choreography. After a trial run in Washington State, these two additional categories were added to the National PTA Reflections Program in 2004. More than 365 local units participated in the Washington State Reflections Program this year producing over 8.400 entries from talented students across our state. More than 1,000 winning entries from local and council competition were evaluated at the state level, and the top 23 entries have been submitted to National PTA to compete with students from around the nation and American schools overseas. All state level award winning entries will be on display in the Recognition Area of the WSPTA 2012 Convention, to be held May 4-6, 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel in SeaTac.The WSPTA will honor the students chosen as finalists in their respective arts categories at a special Reflections Awards Ceremony to be held at the WSPTA Annual as the Convention’s culminating event on May 6, 2012. Advocacy for Arts Education

Since the early 1980s arts education has been one of the issues at the forefront of WSPTA’s advocacy agenda. For many years, the Association sent small, timely newsletters focused on specific topics to PTA leaders throughout of the year. In addition, the Association produced an annual handbook containing background information and resource information on the topic. In 2005 delegates to the Washington State PTA Convention adopted the

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Resolution, “Arts Education In Public Schools and Washington State” in 2005. The resolution called for the “Washington State PTA, local units, and councils [to] continue to be strong advocates for improved arts education programs, encouraging school districts, educators and other interested sources to integrate the arts in their school curriculums, programs and activities, as essential elements of a child’s basic education.” A proposal to update and strengthen this resolution will be considered at the WSPTA’s Annual Convention on May 4-6, 2012 at the Seattle Airport Doubletree Hotel. At its January, 2012 meeting, the Washington State PTA Board of Directors passed a resolution declaring May, 2012, as Arts Education Month throughout Washington State and encouraging members, local units and councils “to celebrate and promote the arts in our schools and to take action to provide equitable access to arts learning for all students in our learning community.” Washington State PTA has also entered into a partnership with ArtsEd Washington to develop a statewide arts education handbook. This effort will serve to provide additional educational communication tools to parents of students in grades K-12. The goal of the project is to develop a parental guidance resource which will include information and tools on how to engage in, support, and advocate for arts education in school. How Local PTAs Can Support Arts Education

• Host a program at a PTA meeting on art education, and help build awareness about why art education is an important part of every child’s education. • Sponsor an arts festival at your school and display children’s work. • Start an Art Docent program. In this program, an individual shares her enthusiasm and knowledge of a great work of art with a class of students. At some schools, there are several individuals that share with classes through the year. • Consider starting an after-school art club, drama club, or dance club. • Start an Artist-In-Residence Program. For more information, go to the Washington State Arts Commission website http://www.arts. wa.gov/ • Sponsor the Reflections Program at your school. • Pass a resolution declaring May as Arts Education Month in your school or community (for suggested language see this link: http://artsedwashington.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ AEM-2011-Sample-Proc1.pdf n

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine

The Child Advocate - March 2012  

Why is Arts Education Important in Our Schools? Enhanced Cultural Understanding Through Arts Education Integrating Arts in the Classroom Mus...

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