The 2011 Joan Oates Institute
Seventy teachers participate in the first Joan Oates Institute
July 25, 2011
On June 27, Partners in the Arts, a UR Downtown-based program of the School of Continuing Studies, launched its 17th annual Summer Institute under a new name. The course that empowers K-12 teachers to use the arts to teach all subjects is now the Joan Oates Summer Institute.
“For 17 years, Joan Oates has been the driving force behind the Institute,” said Dr. James Narduzzi, dean of the School of Continuing Studies. “Now she has provided the financial support that will allow the Institute to serve area teachers in perpetuity.”
A former teacher and lifelong supporter of the arts, Joan Oates has attended every Institute in person.
“Joan Oates’ contributions have impacted the Institute in a myriad of ways,” said Dr. Liz Sheehan, Partners in the Arts director. “She has always been a cheerleader and a role model for the teachers who have attended, and the teachers recognize that Partners in the Arts – her vision – serves their goals of becoming better educators and providing new sources of inspiration to their students.”
This summer, 70 teachers from public and private schools in the city of Richmond and Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Powhatan, and Goochland counties engaged with fine and performing artists and fellow educators at the Modlin Center for the Arts.
“The JOI experience was a totally educational immersion experience in all the arts,” said Elly Dozier of J.B. Watkins Elementary School. “The opportunity to collaborate with wonderful, creative area teachers and top-notch presenters has generated an enthusiasm to try new ideas in my classes and share them with other teachers in my building.”
New workshops for this year’s Institute included Google Docs and Digital Storytelling, Drawing from New Media, Impresario Training: Jazzing up STEM, Virginia Folklife: Music, and Mail Art. Participants also enjoyed a presentation by the University’s Digital Scholarship Lab and a field trip to the Martin Agency, a leading advertising firm, to learn about collaboration, lateral thinking, and creative problem solving.
The addition of several workshops that focused on new media was intentional.
“Using the arts across the curriculum is a pedagogical approach that can be enhanced by using the tools of technology and new media,” said Rob McAdams, Partners in the Arts program coordinator.
During the weeklong Institute, participants also worked with teachers from their school to develop unit plans that incorporate the arts into core subjects such as geometry, biology, and U.S. history. Each group presented their ideas on stage on the last day.
“I am always amazed by the energy and creativity our teachers bring to the presentations, despite having gone through a week of rigorous work and new experiences,” said Sheehan.
For participating in the program and submitting a cross-curricular unit plan, teachers gain three undergraduate or graduate credits through the School of Continuing Studies. Google Apps is the Institute’s new platform for submitting unit plans and exchanging ideas.
“The sites we asked participants to create serve as an electronic portfolio that can house almost unlimited images, videos, podcasts, and all forms of media, along with the capacity to generate and embed new documents in real-time collaboration with other account holders,” said McAdams.
Partners in the Arts will provide feedback on final unit plans this summer and continue to support teachers during the school year through grant awards to fund and facilitate outstanding projects in arts integration.