During the summer of 2023, the Alaska Arts Education Consortium worked with the Fairbanks, Kenai and Lower Kuskokwim School District to present week-long trainings on arts and culture integration. Over 60 teachers from all over Alaska experienced creating and learning together. The teacher-leaders for the Institutes had a variety of arts and culture backgrounds, but in common they are: experts in their fields, experienced classroom teachers, cooperative and creative, and part of a team that planned the Institute together. The participants had a lot to say:
–“Arts Institutes are a wonderful way to see other parts of Alaska!”
–“I think the number one take-away skill I learned at this institute is that the act of “creating” can be very calming. I hadn’t realized that art could MAKE me relax. I have always considered myself “not an artist,” so I get anxious about having to produce an instructor-lead piece. However, this past week showed me that art can be enjoyable, taken in baby-steps, and it can be an enjoyable social activity. We laughed at ourselves and each other throughout the week together!”
–I loved having time to work with colleagues across the state related to ideas integrating art, movement, and culture. The instructors were very informative and gave applicable real classroom connections related to the arts. It was refreshing to have time to reflect and get reenergized before coming into the classroom. I feel ready to come back to work with students with fun activities to extend and enrich our learning environment.
–“What wasn’t a highlight for me this week?…I have nothing ready for school to begin, but my spirit feels ready after being a part of a wonderful group of educators. I liked the challenge to learn a new medium in art and I will share that learning experience with my students – learning isn’t comfortable. I loved the special evening of music and storytelling at a locals house. Being able to do activities and learn outside was wonderful. The opportunity to hear stories passed down from elders was memorable. Learning activities and native games to share with my students was exciting.”
–“I loved getting to know each other, socializing, learning together, listening to stories, and laughing together.”
–“This professional development has been the most useful PD I’ve ever participated in. The journal assignments aided in the usefulness as well as the annotated top 10 assignment. I am confident that I will be able to implement most if not all 10 of my new ideas in the classroom!”
If your district is interested in hosting an Arts Institute, please contact us.