A national benchmark in
Educational excellence through integration of the arts

professional development

Professional Development in the Arts Offers Teachers New Skills

Professional Development in the Arts Offers Teachers New Skills

Each year ArtSpace Charter School schedules early release days as a part of the school calendar.  When the students go home the teachers stay to plan, meet with other teachers, and most often to attend professional development workshops to learn more about effective teaching.  In December teachers chose to attend one of two arts workshops offered by teaching peers at ArtSpace.  Teachers either attended a printmaking workshop or a music and dance language workshop.  


1st grade teacher Ms. Claire inks up a fish for a print.

The intention of these workshops was to give the general education teachers more tools to integrate the arts in their own classrooms, creating more opportunities for two-way integration.  Two-way integration means arts objectives and “academic” objectives from the NC Essential Standards and/or the Common Core, are taught in conjunction with each other. Two-way integration is a consistent goal at ArtSpace and other A+ Schools who seek to use arts integration as a philosophical approach to educating children.

Kindergarten teacher Andrea Giglitto and third grade teacher Melissa Redden were two of the printmaking workshop facilitators.  These teachers received a scholarship to attend a week long retreat hosted by the Nature Printing Society at Wild Acres in Little Switzerland, NC earlier this school year.  It is a common occurrence for teachers at ArtSpace to teach workshops after returning from a professional development opportunity off campus.  Teachers and administrators at the school are always seeking new and interesting arts integration trainings that can be shared with the entire community upon their return. Ms. Melissa and Ms. Andrea rotated staff through a fish printing class and a basic brayer class, while ArtSpace parent and Nature Printing Society Education Coordinator, Bridget Benton, taught staff how to use a pasta machine as a printing press with watercolors. In Bridget’s class, participants also were exposed to ecodying with a rice steamer over the course of the afternoon.

Music and Dance Specialists Meg Boerner and Rebecca Triplett shared samples of music and dance recordings to illustrate vocabulary important to dance and music creation and performance.  Teachers who attended this workshop can use this information when assessing students in projects using dance to demonstrate knowledge of a unit.  Middle school science teachers Nick


Kindergarten teacher Ms. Rebekah helps a student create a print.

Rogowski and Lyn VanOver are happy to have vocabulary to use with the kids as they create movement or dance pieces in their classroom. Middle school language arts teacher Leila Wheless is eager to use the terminology in conjunction with the writing process.

Kindergarten teacher Rebekah Walker was very excited to attend the printmaking workshop.  She employed some of the techniques she learned with her kindergartners just days later.  She is also looking forward to employing Gyotaku (fish) printing to compare and contrast characteristics of animals which is a large part of the kindergarten science curriculum.

Ms. Heather Travels to Lexington and Concord

Ms. Heather Travels to Lexington and Concord

Swannanoa, NC August 30, 2015 — After completing her first year as ArtSpace’s 5th grade language arts and social studies teacher Ms. Heather journeyed to Massachusetts for a workshop that focused on the beginning of the American Revolution.  Ms. Heather and I recently took some time to talk about this fantastic experience and how it came to happen.

Erin: What was the workshop you attended and who hosted it?

Heather: I attended a workshop in Concord, Massachusetts called “At the Crossroads of a Revolution”.  It was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of their Landmarks series, and hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Over 200 people applied, and I was honored to be one of about 60 that were chosen.  The workshop focused around April 19, 1775, the night Paul Revere made his famous ride from Boston to Lexington and Concord to warn the Minutemen and the Sons of Liberty that the Redcoats had left Boston by land to seize weapons and other provisions.

Paul Revere

Statue of Paul Revere

Erin: How did you find out about the workshop?
Heather: Well, Ms. Lori did a NEH workshop in the Summer of 2014 in Mesa Verde, studying Ancient Pueblo culture, and she brought back some of that rich knowledge she gained to my 5th graders last year.  She also informed the ArtSpace staff of the programs that the NEH offers each summer, and encouraged us to take a look at their offerings. I love learning, and welcome any opportunity to find quality professional development, so of course, I went to the website and made a list of all of the workshops that  interested me, were related to my curriculum, and worked for my family, time-wise.  I narrowed it down to the Crossroads workshop, and thankfully, was accepted!
Erin: What was the most exciting or intriguing aspect of the workshop?
Old North Bridge

The Old North Bridge

Heather: So many things!!  We spent the week at various places along the Old Battle Road, the road that runs from Boston to Concord.  Much of the road is preserved, so we were literally in places where soldiers marched and history was made.  I would say that my favorite place was the Old North Bridge, the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War, and “the shot heard ’round the world.”  I remember standing there during a moment of reflection, and just imagining what it must have been like, Minutemen on one side, Redcoats on the other, about to battle for a cause that meant so much, and changed the course of our country so greatly.  Aside from the bridge, we visited many other historical landmarks and museums that really enriched the experience.  I really tried to soak it all in, because it was just so interesting to me.  History is definitely the most exciting subject, in my opinion- everything is a story! Speaking of stories, another really exciting aspect of visiting Concord, Massachusetts, is it is where many famous transcendentalist authors resided, including Henry David Thorough, one of my favorites.  I visited Walden Pond, and the site where he lived in the woods and wrote Walden Pond! We also spent a day in Boston, which is one of my favorite cities, and I was treated to a real Italian cannoli from Mike’s Pastry Shop! Yum!!

Walden Pond

Erin: How will you use this experience to inform your teaching in 5th grade this year?
Heather: I’m really excited to teach the Revolutionary War this year, and every year going forward, thanks to this incredible experience.  Visiting landmarks gives you a new perspective and appreciation for events marked in history, and I hope to be able to share that enthusiasm and deeper knowledge and understanding with my 5th graders.  I took millions of pictures, and many videos, so that will help to inform my teaching, and collaborating with other 5th grade teachers from around the country definitely inspired me as well.  I look forward to relaying what I learned through arts-integration and collaboration with my teaching partner, as well as our Arts Integration Team!
ArtSpace Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school serving approximately 400 elementary and middle school students in the Asheville and Buncombe County areas of North Carolina.  The ArtSpace vision is to be “a national benchmark in educational excellence through integration of the arts.”