Arts NewsK-12 News

Kentucky Teachers attend Arts Academy at KET

Teachers from across Kentucky are at KET Network Center in Lexington June 24-28 for this year’s Academy for Arts Assessment and Technology.

A total of 27 teachers from the arts and other disciplines are taking part. The academy is sponsored by the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in partnership with KET.

One day is devoted to each art form:

  • Drama with Louisville-based theater artist Talleri McRae
  • Music with musician and instrument builder Gregory Acker
  • Dance with Lauren Case, a Fayette County schools dance educator
  • Visual Arts with Robert Duncan, a Jessamine County schools visual arts teacher
  • Media Arts with KET Education Consultant Cynthia Warner and other KET staff

It’s a week filled with creativity as the teachers learn not only how to assess student work, but how to create and perform in all art forms. The goal is to build a foundation for assessing student artworks and performances.

On Tuesday, musician Acker had teachers try their hands at a bamboo instrument from Indonesia called the angklung. He encouraged teachers to relax as they tried something new.

“Don’t worry about being wrong,” he said. “Worry about not being interesting.”

Acker had the teachers to play the instruments and add movement with a parade around the room. They also experimented with harmony and tempo in small groups.

When they were done, he asked them to reflect on how it felt. One teacher confessed that she had no sense of rhythm.

Acker disagreed. “Call 911,” he joked. “Everyone has rhythm. Not everyone has practice.” Making mistakes, he reminded the teachers, is the way we learn new things.

Teachers talked about creating a sense of play and exploration in the classroom. Acker encouraged them to use whatever they have on hand for instruments, “whether it’s pencils tapping together or hands clapping.”

The week culminates with teachers producing videos incorporating drama, dance, visual arts, and music they create to explore poetry from the book Water Dance by Thomas Locker.

Theater artist Talleri McRae interacts with an educator on the first morning of the Academy for Arts Assessment and Technology at KET in Lexington.