Pandemic talk: How Arts Teachers Can Promote a Sense of Community

Arts teachers have challenges, even in normal times. Sometimes we have ample technology and resources; sometimes we don’t. We also have curricular standards and goals that matter, and sometimes they shouldn’t—at least initially.

With remote classrooms, the foundation of learning engagement is student investment, which grows out of caring and connection, and arts teachers have specific skill sets that can help grow a schoolwide environment that fosters connection if administration allows us to do so.

On a classroom level, I foster academic buy-in by creating lessons that link directly to an activity that we’ll complete when we return to in-person learning. For example, fourth-grade online activities include using a video tutorial called “Create a Rock Beat on Your Body.” I’ve set up a “rock band” with electric guitar, bass, and drums in my music room at school, so that when we return, students will arrive ready to take turns on my real drum kit using rhythms that they’ve already created online. Little Kids Rock has terrific activities like this to peruse.

Connecting on the classroom level is vital, but arts teachers can do even more. Connection is essential to developing a lifelong learner/creator, and music and art teachers are good at facilitating group connections. It’s in our DNA. We can sustain the larger learning community by fostering a sense of belonging. Unlike most classroom teachers, many of us have known every student for multiple years. This gives us opportunities to feed the heart and soul of our school—to sing songs and create projects, routines, and ceremonies that amplify our school culture for years on end…… To read my full blog post, go to Edutopia:

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