In a summer workshop, 88 Anne Arundel County Public School teachers worked collaboratively on a mural, now located in Benjamin Building on the University of Maryland campus. The course, The 21st Century Arts Integration Institute Professional Development, was co-facilitated by Susan Denvir, elementary education professional development school coordinator at the UMD College of Education.
The 21st Century Institute is a weeklong professional development experience for AACPS teachers to teach them how to integrate the arts (visual art, drama, music and dance) into their curriculum. The participants are mostly K-12 classroom teachers, as well as some art teachers.
“Teachers are taught arts integration strategies to deepen understanding of classroom content, to tap into students' multiple intelligences, and promote artistic development and creativity,” Denvir wrote in an email.Led by teaching artist Laura Brino, each teacher was provided instruction “about value and shading, visual notetaking, and the use of gridding to create an artwork,” according to her artist statement that accompanies the mural. They each received a small part of a photo, which they drew on a larger piece of paper while listening to an audio story. The audio story featured an interview with a former AACPS student who immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler, was detained after he turned 18, and is now applying for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The teachers incorporated details and responses to the audio story in their drawings.
“My job is to facilitate how the arts can be incorporated into the teachers' curriculum,” Denvir added. “If the teaching artist is teaching about shading and value, for example, I might demonstrate how shading and value in the pictures of a story the students are reading, can change the the mood of a story.”