Educational CyberPlayGround ®



During the creation of the National Standards for the Arts (music, art, dance, and drama) in the US, the disciplines were at odds until introduction of a framework called the 3 Artistic Processes, which are processes used by artists in all four disciplines.

RETA - Reading Excellence Through the Arts

The three artistic processes are Creating, Performing, and Responding (CPR).

Each has fairly well defined sequential steps which usually occur in a predictable sequence, although not necessarily at the conscious level.
Note: There is a healthy, interesting, and often heated discussion over whether there is actually performing in visual art, or just creating and responding.

My friends and colleagues call me a Renaissance woman. Not one to be easily labeled, I have created my own framework to keep myself thinking "outside the box." I'm constantly learning new things about brain research, learning theory, creativity, the arts, early childhood education, literacy, and more. And, I've learned about creating and maintaining a website, running a business, and having good friends around me. You might contact me if you share any or all of the following interests:

Creative Music Education: With Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze training, I taught children for many years. When asked, "Why don't you write these ideas down?" I answer, "I did! Look at Share the Music!" It's in there! Then I started my own publishing company, and have since created ArtSmart, Sing Along, Sing Alone, Classical Moves, and Teaching Music in the Elementary School: A Guide for Classroom Teachers. (This one has three videos of me teaching kids – 18 different lessons in all – Use them as models to get you started.) There are new ones on the way! I'm always happy to share my perspectives or ideas with you.

Integrated Curriculum and/or Arts-Infused Curriculum:
My theory is outlined in Integrate With Integrity. This book outlines connection, correlation, and integration; and provides a step-by-step process for developing meaningful integrated learning. We might talk about what to integrate, how to integrate, or what to expect as you go through the process of learning to integrate.

HOT Schools Programs:
We have 28 HOT (Higher Order Thinking) Schools in Connecticut, sponsored by the CT Commission on the Arts. The big picture is that Higher Order Thinking is developed in a total school community through 1) strong arts programs, 2) arts infused curriculum, and 3) democracy in action.
HOT School are places where "the voice of the child is heard." There is a summer institute in Connecticut, or you might come to the Whole Schools Institute in Mississippi, organized and run by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Total Literacy: I'm SO excited about this new program for emergent readers! Literacy in music, movement, visual arts, and word language are integrated through broad literacy themes. There are instruments, songs, listening selections, great children's literature, and fine arts prints. But that's just the stuff. You should see the results! Kids perceive themselves as successful learners, readers, writers, musicians, dancers, and artists. Teachers are happy because the process is joyful and liberating. Test scores are up, and stress is down. Why not? It's all research-based, and brain compatible. We have three graduate level courses running in Connecticut, plus one in Dearborn, Michigan. Plans are in the works for 5 regional training centers across the United States within the next few years. Let me share this with you, your kids, your teachers, your schools!

Kaleidoscope: This district-based program is located in Michigan City, IN. Now in its fourth year, the program continues to be funded by an Indiana State Department of Education "Educate Indiana" Grant.
Through arts-infused curriculum, multiple intelligences, and multicultural training, Michigan City Area Schools are seeing increased test scores in language and math, as well as multiple other successes. A leadership cohort is beginning to re-energize the program from the inside out, so it eventually will become independently self-sustaining.

BEST: The BEST (Beginning Educators Support and Testing) program, run by the CT State Department of Education, is a two-year induction for all beginning teachers in the state. There are seminars and mentorships for support, and each beginning teacher must complete a portfolio task demonstrating ability to plan, implement instruction, assess student growth, and reflect on their own practice. Licensure is dependent on successful completion of the discipline-specific portfolio task. I'm just completing a two-year appointment as Scholar-in-Residence in Music at the SDE, developing the portfolio task and beginning teacher-training seminars. I also helped in developing and facilitating the scorer training, for the many professionals who score the portfolios.

Multicultural Education: My friend Margaret and I have finally decided that we must begin with the individual as a "culture of one," and build understanding and community from there. There are so many ideas and ways to go about breaking down barriers and celebrating similarities, we could talk and share for a LONG time! We have several powerful models to build on and adapt for or with you.

Music Memory: It ain't just a contest any more! Once just a contest run by the University Interscholastic League in Texas, and now spreading to South Dakota, New York City, and Georgia; Music Memory is a substantive listening program, designed to introduce Western art-music to children in Grades 3-6. There are lessons, CDs, resource materials, software. Every year there is a new version, with 20 selections covering a range of genres and periods. You'll love it!

Well, that's some of it. I have partners like Karen Ellis working in the areas of parenting, community/ business support, orchestra outreach programs, composing/song-writing, assessment – Just ask! If I don't have a source, I can find someone who does! Write to me or visit the website for articles and the store: See you there!


Educational CyberPlayGround

by Karen Ellis
March, 2000

USA Today recently described the Philadelphia-based Educational CyberPlayGround, as a Web portal that "provides teachers, parents, librarians, home schoolers and regular folks a webliography of links to educational resources in a wide range of subjects. With a cool choice of site maps to browse from."

"The primary purpose of the Educational CyberPlayGround is to assist educators and anyone else with little cyberspace experience in using the Internet and other on-line resources," said Karen Ellis, who created the education portal.

Available on the portal are step-by-step guidelines for using the Internet and using the World Wide Web and other on-line resources.

"We can offer a service that Internet travelers cannot get off-line -- better deals, greater convenience, greater ease of use, and personal guidance from Ring Leaders, all experts in their fields," Ellis said.

These areas of expertise include curriculum, technology in education, the arts and art education, linguistics, ethnomusicology, media and journalism, higher education, sports and recreation and social studies.

Among the ringleaders for the Educational CyberPlayground is Sue Snyder, developer of Inventive Designs for Education and the Arts.

"We support each other's vision and work," Ellis said.

Ellis noted that she and Snyder share an interest in Orff Shulwerk music education, literacy, technology in education and multicultural education.

The Educational CyberPlayground, for example, is providing "Black History Month All Year Long" resources that include materials about the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King, Jr., slavery, pioneers, folk tales, Armistad and African-American contributions to literature, music, art and film.

"Teachers should find enough materials to allow them to include Black History Month as part of their classes all year," Ellis said.

Ellis said "Black History Month All Year Long" is only one curricular resource that is available on the Educational CyberPlayGround, which already has received attention from national news organizations.

USA Today in January selected Educational CyberPlayGround as one of its "Best Bets for Educators." The Educational CyberPlayGround last year also was a USA Today "Hot Site," in both its on-line and print editions, and MSNBC News on-line last year named the portal as a "Web Pick."

"We know that the Internet sometimes can be overwhelming," Ellis said, "and we want to help those with limited Web experience, particularly those involved with education, to master Web tools and skills."

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