Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The "Art of Conversation" Using the Arts to Promote Authentic Response to Literature in Struggling Readers

Presented by:
Neva V. Cramer, Ph.D.
Schreiner University

Angelle Stringer, Ph.D.
Louisiana Resource Center for Educators

Wow…that is all I can say is “wow”.

Angelle identified herself as a 13 year old trapped in an adult body. Her passion is working with struggling students. Her mission is to reach the students that fall behind, you know the ones, the reluctant ones, the ones who are trying not to be the “dumb” ones so they become the “bad” ones. These two women started off with a bang and never let up for 2 hrs. and 45 min. They empowered each one of us with strategies enabling our students to connect with themselves, each other and the outside world.

Sidenote: The whole time that Neva spoke, I thought to myself, “I know this person”. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. She has a star-like quality and I later found out that she has appeared and starred in movies. No wonder she wants to use the arts.

After experiencing the hands-on workshop they prepared for all attendees, I was convinced the arts can motivate reluctant readers and you don’t have to be the art teacher to achieve the goal of promoting the love of literature.
Objective: Making the reluctant readers' thinking visible.

The encouragement of capturing the inner conversation of the artist's creation really makes one think about restructuring the way we each present literature.
Think of the composer…it is in his/her head first…we have to help the reluctant students to transfer it to others using paper, conversation or through illustration.

One of our activities involved one of my favorite books: "Tuesday" by David Weisner
She showed this wordless book through the tool of a laptop using the software of power point where she had previously scanned the pictures. She then asked us to use the tool of the story pyramid and to break into small groups to fill in the blanks.

Story Pyramid
1. Main Character-
2. Describe Character-
3. Setting-
4. Problem-
5. 1st event-
6. 2nd event
7. Solution/Resolution
Each group had conversation about the book. This is an amazing example of "pictures telling a story". There is no right or wrong answer, soooooooo, try it in your own classroom and watch your reluctant readers soar.
They referenced Project Zero project at Harvard as just one example to support their work.
Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels. Take a look at the site it will provide some clarity about this initiative.

Some of the books they shared in this total interactive workshop were:
The Outsiders

Just Like Josh Gibson

Grandfather's Journey

They also shared music and proved using all of us as the guinea pigs the results of leaving reluctant readers wanting to know more. They shared Don McLean's "Vincent" making all of us want to research about the life of Vincent Van Gogh.

I can't wait to share all of the handouts and ideas they shared. Where's my scanner?

It’s time to put the arts back into the literature!


Anonymous said...

One thing that makes us special is how much we value the arts at our school. Resource teachers are held in high regard. It's a symbionic relationship (proof is in the cross disciplinary book studies we do). I may use Tuesday this afternoon (scrapping my math lesson) and using the document camera see how the kids respond to this book. I'll let you know what they come up with. -Karen Morris

Tammi said...

Over the years, I have noticed that so many of my learning disabled students have been the most gifted in art. It is important to help each child find their "gift" and use it to help them succeed in life. Thanks for sharing kk and I look forward to seeing your handouts from this one!

Suzanne said...

What a great idea for a lesson! Karen will have to let us know how it goes with her students.

I agree to that the arts are fostered at our school-look at the incredible week of Arts Extravaganza. However, I also know that we could always do more. It may be valuable to brainstorm a list of ways that teachers could support the arts in their classrooms.

dayle timmons said...

This reminds me so much of the conversation that kindergarten teachers, 5th grade Science/ Social Studies and Resource teachers had last week. The whole idea of looking at artistic expressions for Pow Wow projects is exactly what the authors of this session meant. There is such value in allowing children choices and using the arts for response. I LOVE this session!