Students are settling into the new school year, but getting there requires a lot of preparation. Parents and kids gather supplies and pick out new clothes. Families rehearse the morning routine to make sure everything runs smoothly. Students fret over their class schedule and if they’ll make new friends. For many, it’s an exciting time, even if it comes with a dash of nerves.
It’s no different for teachers and in the week before school, there’s a flurry of activity for local educators. Aside from setting up their classrooms and gathering their own materials, teachers attend countless faculty meetings and training sessions, including those focused on integrating the arts across the curriculum.
For more than 15 years, teachers at Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts (ATMSA) have committed to a campus-wide model of arts integration and the school has been recognized for their innovative practices. One such recognition comes from none other than the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Tapestry and Opening Nights Performing Arts at Florida State University have been designated as Partners in Education by the Kennedy Center which provides free professional development in arts integration. To kick off the school year, Opening Nights brought nationally celebrated poet and teaching artist Glenis Redmond to ATMSA and she showed teachers how to take poetry off the page.
During a two-day session, faculty members learned how brainstorming can lead to poems layered with imagery and metaphor, then they practiced strategies for performing those poems.
“When you work with teachers, you expand your reach exponentially,” Redmond said. “I have activities and exercises but it’s not about that. It’s about the journey and what happens on the journey. I want teachers to find out how this works for them and their students and where can they take it.”
For more than two decades, Redmond has been a proponent of arts integration. “The arts saved my life and that’s why I walk in the world as I do, as a champion of the arts.” At a very young age, Redmond recognized the power of storytelling and, over the years, her conviction has deepened.
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