January 2021 Arts Newsletter

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The Arts News & Notes | January 2021

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Amanda Gorman

The Freedom of Expression as stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution is one of the bedrock rights that allows artists to create in this country.  Self-expression allows each of us to realize our full potential as human beings, and it is central to the attainment and advancement of knowledge. It is the hallmark of our democracy. It is not about disrespect, violence, or harming others.  As we experience incredible challenges that threaten our democracy, let us as educators remind students to share their feelings and to ask questions about what they are witnessing. Here are some resources from my colleague, Jerry Price, Program Supervisor for Social Studies, to support your conversations:

How did the people who attacked the U.S. Capitol differ from peaceful protestors? How did the racial makeup of the group affect the response to their actions?

The mob of rioters who stormed past Capitol police barricades and into the U.S. Capitol on January 6th consisted of the largely white supporters of Donald Trump. Civil rights leaders blasted law enforcement agencies for their slow and initially passive response to rioters at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, noting the massive show of police force in place for Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year over police killings of unarmed Black men and women.

Sources: Jan. 6th Insurrection Lesson (Mikva Challenge), 'Double standard': Black lawmakers and activists decry police response to attack on US Capitol (USA Today), Police gave more leeway to Trump supporters than to BLM protesters in Capitol insurrection (the Grio)  Note: The Grio source has inappropriate language in the second embedded Tweet.

How should I talk to students about the violence at the Capitol?

Consider the age of your students and allow students space to express their feelings. Clarify key facts about the events for yourself, but be prepared to acknowledge that we do not currently have all the information about what happened yesterday. See the sources below for additional and more specific guidance.

Sources: Guidance for Discussing Events with Students (DCPS Student Supports Team), How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol (National Geographic), Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers (National Association of School Psychologists), An age-by-age guide on how to talk about difficult topics with your children (Motherly and Common Sense Media)

In the midst of all of this distress, remember to also provide students reasons to be hopeful. For inspiration, listen to Amanda Gorman recite her uplifting poem, “The Miracle of Morning.”  Amanda is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. For the full text of her poem click here.

Please take time for self-care.

Thank you for all that you do in service of the arts in education,

Janet Hayakawa, Program Supervisor
The Arts - Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Cell/Text: 360-764-6157

Photo – Amanda Gorman, CBS News


The White Cane of Independence

WA Student a Winner in International Contest  

Alaina Gott was selected as a winner in the Global Oneness Project contest, “The Artifacts of Our Lives.”  Students worldwide were invited to photograph an artifact and tell its story.  Alaina’s photo features her grandfather’s white cane. She explains that, “A white cane is not just a mobility device; it is so much more than that. It is freedom. It represents confidence and independence. It is a window to the world explored without help.” To learn more about Alaina’s work and the other winners in this contest, click here.

Photo – “The White Cane of Independence” by Alaina Gott (14)

Hands playing piano

Puyallup Student's Musical Talents Featured

Leland Mills is featured as one of Eric’s Heroes on KOMO-TV. At eight-years old, he has a remarkable ability to compose piano music. He says, “Well, I think of it in my brain, I make it up in my brain and I start playing it and I add chords to it and it may not sound the exact same as making it up in my mind, but it may sound even better.” Find the entire story here.

Artwork of apples called Far from the Tree

Kittatas Secondary School Student is the Grand Prize Winner    

Kristin Johnson, a junior at Kittatas Secondary School, is the Grand Prize winner of the Washington Apple Education Foundation Year of the Apple Art Contest sponsored by Corteva Agriscience. Kristin’s piece was done in colored pencil. She was awarded $1,000, and her artwork will be published in a 2021 calendar poster. Meredith Sconce from Almira-Coulee-Hartline High School won second place, and Margot Massey from Kamiakin High School was awarded third place. Click here to learn more. See how to enter this year’s contest in the Opportunities section, below.

Art  - “Far from the Tree” by Kristin Johnson

Screening for Biased Content in Instructional Materials

New Tool!  Screening Instructional Materials for Bias

As schools work towards equity, culturally responsive educational communities, and increasing success for all students, it is critical to recognize the impact of bias in instructional materials and teaching strategies on student identity development, pride, sense of community, belonging, and empowerment. To address the issue of bias, OSPI is releasing a model tool for districts to use in the review and adoption process of instructional materials. OSPI gives thanks to the many Washington educators, administrators, and community members who provided invaluable input into this work. Click here to access the tool and to see a video overview.

Resources for Learning & Teaching...

PBS Partners banner

Free Standards Aligned Resources from PBS

PBS LearningMedia has an amazing collection of free resources for educators  – here’s how to learn more in five easy steps:

1. Review this printable flyer that highlights the features of PBS LearningMedia to support teaching & learning.
2. Watch this 30-second video that provides an overview of the educational benefits of PBS LearningMedia.
3. Create a PBS LearningMedia account for access to free content, tools to build quizzes, puzzles, storyboards and to connect content with Google Classroom, Schoology, and other learning management systems.
4. View video tutorials (under 5-minutes each) to learn how to get the most from PBS LearningMedia resources.
5. Browse the current Teacher Planning Kit (for preK-12) for ready resources on PBS LearningMedia tied to themes and content relevant to what you’re teaching in your classroom. The full collection of kits can be found here.

Learn more, interact with other teachers, and build lesson plans during monthly “Learn & Plan with PBS” sessions with staff from Washington PBS member stations. Earn up to three clock hours for each session you attend. Sessions are held the 4th Monday of each month from 4-5 pm starting January 25th.  Register HERE.

Word bubble collage

Words You Can Teach By

Matt Brown, instrumental and choir director in the Manson School District wrote this article that was published by the National Association of Music Education. Matt says, “It is quick read and may provide a voice of positivity for those who need it during this time.”

Photo – iStockphoto.com/scyther5

Video still of Erik Smith

What is a Round?

Vancouver School District teacher, Erik Smith produced two videos to explain and demonstrate the concept of a round in music. Learn about what a round is here. Listen to a five part round here.

Museum of Northwest Art self portraits

Museum of Northwest Art Provides Resources for Educators  

The Museum of Northwest Art supports educations through its Lesson Plan Database of 100 free visual art lesson plans.  To explore and download, click here. The museum also has an Art Box Lending Library – 25 mobile boxes that educators in the local community can borrow free of charge for three weeks. Each Art Box has a focus – collage, printmaking, drawing, calligraphy, etc. and includes quality art supplies for a classroom of 25-30 students and a lesson plan with a sample art project. To check out an Art Box, click here.

Video still of Understanding Poverty

Video: ‘Understanding Poverty’ Exhibit  

Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto explains his ‘Understanding Poverty’ exhibit in this 3-minute video by the Artery Media Project produced in 2009. A transcript of DeSoto’s comments are included. Content is appropriate for grades 6–12.

Seattle Theatre Group

Art Sessions from Seattle Theatre Group    

Check out a library of free arts video sessions, curriculum, and content for educators, students, families, and community members which includes a variety of genres such as dance/movement, meditation, music, musical theatre, acting, improv, coloring books, visual arts, performance videos. Content is presented in English and Spanish, by teaching artists from Seattle Theatre Group’s Education and Community Engagement Department as well as from other arts organizations.

Photo of Patrick Stewart

A Shakespearean Sonnet a Day

Although most known for his role as Jean-Luc Picard in the science-fiction television series, StarTrek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart spent the first 25 years of his career as primarily a stage actor. He began acting at age 12 and joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1966 season. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2010. Enjoy listening to Sir Patrick Stewart read a sonnet a day.

Illustration of four students in online meeting

What do Middle School Art Students Want? 

Based on a student survey, this article explores how to connect with students remotely.  Although focused on the visual arts, the tips and strategies for effective online teaching can be applied to all of the art forms.

Blanton Museum of Art banner

Art Museum Offers Digital Resources   

The Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas at Austin is offering PK-12 digital resources to support teachers-focusing on home studio projects, Social Emotional Learning, and social justice. Each lesson features works of art from the museum’s permanent collection. Lessons are designed for asynchronous learning and to spark classroom conversation. Many lessons can be broken down into smaller units for greater flexibility.

Photo of young student with teacher of color

Arts Education Policy Trends for 2021

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) at the Education Commission of the States outlines what’s ahead in 2021 for arts education policy and practice. Topics include: Racial Equity and Justice, Uniting and Healing Through the Arts, and Funding Opportunities. Links to presentations from the recent virtual conference offer insight and ideas. Look for the session, ‘Can Hip Hop Save Us’ featuring our colleagues at Arts Corps.

Screenshot of Washington educators

Share and Learn from Others

Are there resources that have been helpful to you that would benefit others? Want to give your students another platform to exhibit their art? Learn from others and be inspired from student performances. View and contribute to a collection of arts resources for Washington educators!

TEDTalk screenshot of Titus Kaphar

Can Art Amend History?  

Artist Titus Kaphar discusses how he got into art and how he makes paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. Watch this TEDTalk and challenge students to use their art to amend history.

Scene of 'The Queen's Gambit'

Composition Techniques in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

The popular Netflix series, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is analyzed by photographer Martin Kaninsky to reveal seven composition techniques. Watch this video or read the article to learn more. This can inform the work of any visual or media artist, set and lighting designers, and choreographers.


Artwork by Zoe Stinebaugh

Superintendent’s 48th Annual High School Student Art Show

If students want to participate in the 2021 Superintendent’s Art Show, now is the time to reach out to your local Educational Service District to learn about their Regional Art Show application process and deadline. To qualify for the Superintendent’s Art Show, students must be nominated by a Regional Art Show.

Art – “Eyes of Art” digital photography by Zoe Stinebaugh, 2020 Superintendent’s Art Show