In celebration of teachers, Arts Impact is starting a new series featuring the amazing educators leading arts-infused learning in their classrooms through participation in our programs.
Sarah Lane, Franklin Elementary (Tacoma Public Schools), 2nd grade
“One of my favorite experiences so far this year has been the class receiving the generously donated art supplies. The children were so excited for their very own art materials to take home. They were amazed that these were for them– that they are valued and deserve their own sketchbook, paints… These art materials have become their prized possessions at home, and they are not only being used for our integrated arts lessons (which the kids love, look forward to, and are fully engaged with!), but they are using them to support their own self-initiated arts experiences at home that may not otherwise have been accessible to them.”
How/When did you get started teaching or become interested in becoming an educator?
I was in my second year of college when I officially started my path in education. I had grown up with a family of educators and had seen firsthand the impact of educators and the implications of a high-quality education. I wanted to especially work with populations in high-demand for teachers, having seen the impact of a lack of qualified teachers in rural Appalachia. I had seen my family pour all they had into the children of Ohio, West Virginia, and I wanted to do that, too. I have worked with students in rural areas, working in Ohio, and then Oklahoma, and then life events brought my husband & I out to Washington, and I have now immersed myself in working within the urban community of Tacoma since the beginning of 2018. I care deeply for the families and children of my neighborhood and the city.
What made you decide to work with Arts Impact, and how has it gone so far?
I was still a bit new to Tacoma when my principal shared the Arts Impact opportunity with our staff. I was amazed at the opportunity to have a full week of arts learning for teachers and an immersive mentorship, benefiting both teachers and students. I had been worried about arts integration in education, and the continuing support of art in schools, and so I was excited to jump in the program to learn how I could personally make a difference. It has gone very well, as I am in my 2nd year of the program. I have gained even more confidence and motivation to support art in school, both as a teacher teaching with arts-integration and as an advocate for all children to have these experiences.
Do you have a background in the arts?
Nothing professional, but all I have are fond memories of growing up in an arts-supporting home. I grew up playing piano and later, clarinet & guitar. I had been involved in school-based vocal, instrumental, and performing arts, and know firsthand how that made a positive impact on me as a student and my life. And some of my favorite memories growing up were painting and fabric arts with my grandma, who had dreamed of being an art teacher, but got swept into the needs of World War 2 and raising a family post-war. I continue arts as a hobby in my free time.
What do you think arts-infused learning brings to your classroom or your teaching?
Children are masterful at play and creativity, and arts-infusion deepens learning as they tap into ways of expression that bring joy and confidence. As a teacher, I know the children will be engaged and have deeper connections to learning and cross-disciplinary understandings.
How have you integrated the arts during remote learning?
It is incredible how much can be done even remotely. Our Arts Impact learning over the summer modeled ways to integrate- using cameras to show arts processes and still build an arts-based class community. My class has been involved in music, expression through movement, dance, and theater, in live online Teams meetings, and also, with the wonderful mentorship of Carol Gould, integrated visual arts. My 2nd graders have enjoyed the integration of geometry with visual arts, learning how to use art materials like watercolors and use texts and artist examples for inspiration. In January my students will be working on a cityscape that integrates their geometry and visual arts knowledge.
What’s something you think our community should know (but maybe doesn’t) about your students, your community, your teaching.
These children are willing and motivated arts learners, and so are teachers! I feel that so often supply limitations and lack of confidence inhibits these experiences. Through Arts Impact, my students received personal materials that helped make our arts-infused remote learning possible. But also, the learning and confidence I have gained as an educator has been great. It is one thing to tell teachers to integrate art; it is another to provide the learning and resources to make it really possible!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I am deeply appreciative of those who give and support the Arts Impact mission and its teachers. The impact multiplies as these young minds foster a love and appreciation for the arts.
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