August 2013

Curriculum 2.0

2013 – 2014 is the year we start our new curriculum cycle. Can you believe it is time to start looking at curriculum again? In the past it always seemed like the district would get to the Fine Arts classes eventually. It was 2008 – 2009 when I started working on curriculums in the Visual Arts as the district Content Leader and it is time to cycle back around to do some updates. This time around however, I was allowed some latitude and tried to look at the Fine Arts as a whole to see what would be best in terms of work load for the teachers in each area as well as what I could accomplish as a single person overseeing each Fine Arts area K – 12.

The process for revising curriculum will be different than before. Instead of handling everything for a course in a year or two, each course will be part of a 6-stage cycle that will be spread out over approximately 6 years. At the bottom of this newsletter, you will find a schedule outlining the plan for this year and a preview for next year. We will be transitioning from Cycle 1.0 to Cycle 2.0 so it is going to be a bit messy at first. You can also see on the attachment what is involved for teachers in each step of the cycle. The biggest change is that teachers will be working during release time and will no longer be expected to work on the bulk of curriculum outside of the school day. Teams will work in collaboration instead of in isolation. Each course will be somewhere in the cycle at all times.

DC’s - Please communicate this change to the Fine Arts teachers in your department so they know what to expect. I will be in touch soon to organize teams and schedule days to work.

PD Days 2013 - 2014

The remaining PD half days are 8/30, 9/20, 11/1, 1/3, 2/14 from 8am to noon. The PD day on August 30th will be to receive training in Mastery Connect. Your building principal should be telling you more about this day (such as location and anything you need to bring.) After this day, the district will take over the plan for PD.

Elementary teachers in the areas of Music and Art will be spending their PD days with me as we prepare for Common Core and the transition into 21st century learning with our new Fine Arts standards. We will meet in the cafeteria at FHC HS, starting promptly at 8am. Please bring your laptop and power cords.

Secondary Fine Arts teachers will be going through Common Core training with the district CALs (Content Area Literacy Leaders) on the half days starting in September. Each area in Fine Arts will have a CAL or CALs that knows the content in that area and that has been trained in literacy strategies to help integrate Common Core standards in an authentic and meaningful way. The Arts are poised in a very advantageous position with Common Core. Students will benefit greatly from being enrolled in the Fine Arts during this new phase of learning. Teachers will meet at FHC HS with each area (MS/HS Art, MS/HS Music, & MS/HS Theatre) meeting as a group to review, learn, and collaborate. MS/HS Art will meet in room 242. MS/HS Music will meet in room 132 . MS/HS Theatre will meet in room 22. Please be in these rooms and ready to start at 8am with your laptops.

If you have any questions, let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Book Group

Anyone that is interested, I am organizing an informal book group around the fantastic read “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel Pink. We will meet casually off-campus to eat, drink and discuss the concepts presented in the book. It is a quick read and great fuel to the inspiration fire. I am also organizing what I’m calling ‘sense experiences’ to go along with the chapters in the book that allow us to experience what Pink is talking about first hand. If you are interested, grab a copy of the book and sign up here. Our first meeting is planned for the afternoon of August 30th after the PD day. We will grab lunch and talk about Part One (that includes chapters 1, 2, & 3). Hopefully it is still nice weather and we can sit outside.

Website & Events

If you hadn’t yet had a chance, please check out my website Artizens Unite! at ridlen.webs.com. I will put information here that you will find useful and maybe even sometimes entertaining. You can also check out the calendar with some fun social outings planned. Although not the first event on the calendar, one of the most popular is a concert with Ben Folds and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I will be purchasing the first group of tickets on MONDAY AUGUST 12th when they go on sale. Anyone who knows they would like to go, please sign up here so I can include you on the head count. If more people are interested, we can make a second purchase if tickets are still available. I will organize a way to make payments soon. We need a group of 20 to get the discount. Tickets will be between $45 - $55. You can find other planned events that will need an RSVP here. Or check out the calendar on the Artizens Unite website. If you have other ideas that you would like to share, I would love to hear them.

Michelle Ridlen, K - 12 Fine Arts Content Leader

I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. If you have any questions or need any curriculum support, I’m here for you. Please email me or give me a call.