NMWA’s Summer Teacher Institute Connects Art, Books, and Creativity!

The second annual week-long Teachers Connect: Art, Books, and Creativity Summer Institute last week was a great success!

Carol Barton, a book artist, spoke to the teachers about landscape books, which can be used as tools for teaching perspective, as well as pop-ups.

Carol Barton, a book artist, spoke to the teachers about landscape books, which can be used as tools for teaching perspective, as well as pop-ups.

Twenty-two teachers from the D.C. metropolitan area gathered at NMWA for a week-long institute centered on the Art, Books, and Creativity curriculum, created by NMWA as a tool to help teachers integrate arts into their classrooms. For five days, the teachers learned about and discussed ways to engage their students more fully by incorporating art into their everyday lessons. The teachers created portfolios of artists’ books and writing samples as models for classroom lessons; learned the basics of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a method for facilitating discussions about art; and developed ways to adapt, personalize, and integrate the ABC curriculum for their own classrooms.

Teachers Connect participants took turns leading gallery talks on Visual Thinking Strategies.

Teachers Connect participants took turns leading gallery talks on Visual Thinking Strategies.

The week ended on a high note, as teachers from last year’s institute came back to NMWA to share stories about how they have used ABC in their classrooms, giving this year’s teachers many great ideas and confidence in the curriculum. Participants shared their final artist book prototypes and their ideas about how to use the week’s lessons and projects in their own classrooms. With such a diverse group (including teachers from the pre-K level through the college level, who had a wide variety of experience levels and specialties—including math!), it was great to hear their different thoughts on how to integrate the arts into any type of classroom.

Teachers Connect participants sport their artistic creations.

Teachers Connect participants sport their artistic creations.

The teachers left NMWA inspired and refreshed, with a wide variety of ideas and tools (including art supplies for their classrooms) and a lot of enthusiasm for the program! We wish all of the participating teachers good luck in the future and want to thank them for their time and energy over the past week. Keep it up!

For more information about the ABC curriculum, please visit http://www.artbookscreativity.org.

—Elena Gittleman is an education intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.