Posts Tagged ‘KET Arts Toolkit’

The Colors of Our Lives

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I am blessed. I have several artists in my life. The walls in my home are adorned with an eclectic mix of visual art that has been given to me over the years by my friends and family. The iPod connected to our surround sound stereo is playing beautiful, experimental, and profound music most of the time. We read often. We write often. Together, we enjoy theatre and dance. Our son has various musical instruments strung throughout the house. He recently saved his money to put an electric guitar on layaway at our local music store. If you come to visit, a musical instrument is not far from reach.

"The Rift" by Monica Taylor

I have no idea where I would be if I wasn’t surrounded by art. I certainly doubt that my life would be as rich, colorful, or adventurous without it. All disciplines of the arts mark our time in history. We can better understand the past by studying the art forms of the times while embracing the human condition that is driven by emotion. Today’s art is no different. Today’s artists can’t be forgotten.

Research has shown that implementing the arts in education across the curriculum improves student performance in school, including retention rates and increased test scores. I see on a daily basis how important the arts are to lifelong success. Creativity is everywhere. I don’t know of anyone who has succeeded without it, and learning how to channel that creativity is empowering. Exercising artistic talent expands the mind. It also allows a different and effective approach to teaching and learning. For some students, it is the highlight of their school career. For others, it’s the beginning of a new life. Tomorrow’s artists cannot be stifled.

Late last week, I received a call from my good friend and favorite artist. She is a high school art teacher in Indiana who was teaching in the perfect creative environment. The school had a team of art teachers that offered classes in photography, pottery, 3-D art, drawing, painting, music, dance, drama, and others that I can’t remember right now. Last week, she and other art teachers received a pink slip by mail due to the declining focus of arts in the classroom. To me, it is heartbreaking. As an extremely talented artist and teacher, she will find a new venue to grow her gift (hopefully, that will happen in another classroom). Her students, however, are the true victims of this decision made by school officials. They have produced some incredible art. Some of which is included in my own collection. The students participate in the Empty Bowls project to end hunger. How rich is that?

My niece and nephew’s school tossed out the arts when they learned it was no longer being tested in the Interim Reform period. The kids are so sad. They really enjoyed and looked forward to art class. Both are very creative and talented in visual art. They will be fine, though, because they have a family that supports the arts and caters to their talents. This is not always the case.

We are fortunate that our son’s district has not removed the arts from the curriculum. I am happy to learn that Kentucky’s new core standards will eventually bring back the arts. Anyone who has studied teaching and learning must know that the creative exercises in the brain are what keep it active. Stifling that breeds failure on so many levels.

Though the tone of this post is a little blue, I have a strong hope that the arts will once again be a strong component in our education standards. I am so proud that KET has dedicated hours and hours to the arts. Our teams have produced many brilliant arts resources for teachers, students, and individuals. The KET Arts Toolkits are being aligned to the social studies standards. Learning history with art? What a great idea! Take a peek when you have a while. You will definitely want to linger in the fascinating world of art.

New Year’s Resolutions Become a Reality with KET’s Resources

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

It’s already 2010? What a frigid start! use2008 Jan-Feb0132009 was so busy and passed by with the speed of light. I find myself having a hard time remembering that it’s 2010 when writing the date. It seemed so far away just a few years ago. I had an exciting start to the New Year. I worked with some teachers in Knott Co. on Jan. 4th – the first day back from a rejuvenating break. It was an interesting drive down, but well worth the trip. Each time I venture out into the schools, I am reminded of how lucky I am to work with teachers and administrators whose fresh ideas and enthusiasm keep the education wheels turning. It’s going to be a powerfully productive year, I believe. KET’s wheels are also constantly turning with you. What a great partnership we have with our schools, communities, other educational institutions, and the Kentucky Department of Education. It’s rewarding to watch these partnerships develop and grow. This year is going to bring even more exciting new projects. I can just feel it.

Have you made a Professional New Year’s Resolution? Keep in mind that KET can help you keep that resolution. You might even extend your goals to include exploring one new KET Education Resource each month. This may include resources from: KET ED On Demand; KET’s Arts Toolkits and Kentucky Muse; KET Distance Learning; our Professional Development resources; your KET Education Consultant; Scale City; KET’s new Kentucky’s National Parks Teacher Resources; KET EncycloMedia; the Electronic Field Trips; and for President’s Day, our Abraham Lincoln interactive website. There have been so many new resources unveiled this year that it’s hard to keep up with it all.  One of my resolutions for 2010 is to journey deeper into our newest productions, websites, and projects. Let your consultant know if you have any questions about any of our resources. There may be some you have never even heard about. Check out our website to find out more.

In other news, Kentucky’s Highly Skilled Educators visited KET in December 2009 to explore our plethora of educational resources. KET Education Consultant, Missi Baker, produced a nice video that highlights the day with some participant comments. I think it is a terrific way to show how enthusiastic educators are about our resources. I enjoyed meeting our visitors. Missi has posted her video on her blog for all to see.  Check it out.

Happy New Year!  May it be the best for you and yours. Stay warm. Hope for an end to this deep freeze and no ice storms, please.

Heroes of the 2009 Ice Storm
Heroes of the 2009 Ice Storm

Got the Flu Blues?

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Some of the schools in my region have been closing due to illness, which has me very concerned. I recently read that officials are encouraging teachers to have both online and hard-copy versions of lesson plans prepared in case of long-term, widespread school closings. This has made me think hard about how to keep students actively engaged in learning in the event that schools do have to close for long periods of time.

KET can help teachers with this daunting task. With so many high-quality, online resources for teachers and students to access from home, KET can save a lot of time and paper. I have listed some suggestions below. (Of course, there will have to be alternate means of obtaining these lessons and resources for those who do not have Internet access from home, but KET can come in handy in those instances, too. For more information, look into our website, or contact your KET Education Consultant.)

Have you noticed that you can now create classrooms within KET EncycloMedia that students can access with their own accounts? This is one of the newest KET EncycloMedia features, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. KET EncycloMedia multimedia resources can be included in the assignments, writing prompts, and quizzes and then can easily be assigned from your KET EncycloMedia Classroom. You can even embed your HTML codes for any videos, powerpoints, images, etc., that you would like to include in your lessons/units. Student accounts can easily be generated by district administrators with an excel document (your CIO can contact us for more information). With this technology, teachers can easily follow student activities/progress with the click of a mouse.

Scale City can also be enjoyed by anyone with Internet access. Teachers can provide links to specific Scale City roadside attractions from their KET EncycloMedia Classrooms. This can be a fun, challenging, and rich experience for middle school math students.

Keep your students updated on current events with KET’s News Quiz that now has streaming and downloading capabilities. The KET Electronic Field Trips also have interactive student pages, lesson plans, activities, etc. Most of these videos are available on KET EncycloMedia, but some can even be streamed from the respective Electronic Field Trip sites. The Belle of Louisville is the newest Electronic Field Trip, and the website will soon be released. It is so cool, and will be especially useful for social studies, math, and science classes.

Students enrolled in the KET Distance Learning courses will not have to worry about missing classes as long as they have Internet access. Don’t forget about the Virtual Physics Labs that teachers can use for physics assignments at home.

The KET Arts Toolkit website also has some wonderful lesson plans, streamable video, and a student center that will be useful to arts, Language Arts, and social studies teachers. There is also some professional development material in this site that will positively impact your instruction. The KET Art to Heart website also provides ideas for activities for pre-school through primary teachers, as well as parents and caregivers of children from birth to age eight. Teachers and administrators can take the time to get even more professional development with KET’s wonderful Literacy PD’s.

Again, KET has much to offer administrators, teachers, and students both at school and at home.  As always, your KET Education Consultants are available to assist in using any of KET’s resources. In the meantime, stay well. I certainly hope that the flu season doesn’t come to this, but I wanted to send out some ideas to you in case you feel the need to begin preparing.


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