Year after year, our expert staff present their work at arts-in-education conferences throughout the country. Attendees walk away with tools and strategies to improve their interactions with the young people in their classrooms, driving better outcomes and enriching the educational experiences of countless students (and teachers).  

Erin Loughran, Senior Manager of Professional Development and Evaluation, and Erin Orr, Artist Mentor and Curriculum Specialist, presented their workshop “Collaboratively Exploring, Embodying and Visualizing Emotion Vocabulary” at the 2023 Assistance for Arts Education Project Directors’ Conference. In an interactive session, they explored tools and protocols for making emotion vocabulary concrete through physical and visual engagement. They shared the discoveries made through years of research supporting the use of a range of expressive languages (not just verbal) to engage children, give them more tools for self-expression, and build a deeper understanding of social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts. They also shared ArtsConnection’s process for collaboration with teaching partners, and teachers’ responses to these protocols. Participants tried out the tools and activities and received access to the (soon to be launched) Creating Bridges’ web-based resources for implementation funded by the Assistance for Arts Education Development and Dissemination Grant Program provided by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Erin Orr, Maggie Fishman, Director of Practitioner Research and Digital Documentation, and Kyla McKoll, Director of Professional Learning, presented “Exploratory Lessons: Inviting and Supporting Students’ Artistic Choices” at the 2023 NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Face to Face Conference 

Erin and Maggie helped workshop participants recognize students’ inherent artistry by sharing simple, effective planning tools for identifying and describing the range of students’ artistic choices so they can help them discover their own voice, while building their language and observation skills. Workshop participants had time to try out these tools and adapt the lesson, while learning how to support student agency when introducing an art form. 

Through exploratory arts lessons, students discover the artistic choices to be made in any medium through guided and independent exploration — while teachers get time to observe how students explore, and what engages them. 

We will be launching our Professional Learning Educators Resource website in June 2023.