Closing the Gap in Literacy with Arts Integration at the CAM 11-10-18

“My colleagues and I thought the workshop was wonderful! This week, I’ve already taught my kids Squirrel, Nut, Tree (some are playing it during recess as I write this). We’ve written without using punctuation; we’ve used our five senses to write about a piece of art I photographed on Saturday; and they’ve free-written about the bird sculpture I made. They are ASKING to do more writing. The workshop inspired me and has energized my class in the best way.” –Kelly Regan, Teacher, Third Grade, Penderlea School
“The professional development was hands-on and allowed each of us to personalize the information according to the standards that we are responsible for teaching.  I plan to incorporate many of the strategies and ideas into the professional development experiences I will create for my teachers.  Looking at it from my perspective, as a district leader, I believe that it is important for us to think about how we might be able to bring visual literacy to multiple areas of our curriculum.  Your experiences helped me to look at visual art in new and personal ways.  Thank you for sharing your passions and helping me to ignite my own! ” Eboni Massey, K-5 ELA Curriculum SpecialistCumberland County Schools

The Southeast Center for Arts Integration led another “Closing the Gap with Arts Integration” professional development workshop at the Cameron Art Museum for teachers from two states and seven counties. Mimi Herman and KT Childress began the day by asking teachers to write down a challenging standard they teach, and what students say about it.

A challenge for an art teacher, and what students say when she introduces it.








Mimi and KT led entrancing workshops that integrated the amazing art in the galleries with English Language Arts standards. Teachers investigated art works as text–they looked (for two minutes without talking!), saw, questioned, analyzed, interpreted, and conversed with the art by writing narratives, 1,000 word sentences, and poetry.

They examined the works of Grainger McCoy.

Grainger McCoy





They made art in 2-and 3-D.

A sculpture of a bird made with paper, recycled paper and objects, chenille stems and hot glue.

“The Closing the Gap in Literacy with the Arts  workshops were amazing. It’s always fun to see what great opportunities the CAM holds for our students, and getting to experience the galleries in a hands-on way is great! We learned some games to play with students to make their experience with art more personal and we were able to create an underwater animal to contribute to the huge interactive art installation. I loved the writing workshop – writing has not always been easy for me, but using art to spark a writing assignment somehow made it fun, and I was totally surprised at what I was able to create. I feel like now I can take this back to the classroom and hopefully make writing fun for my students as well! I also loved the art making project using Grainger McKoy’s sculptures to inspire a story and sculpture of our own. Thank you for the continuing opportunities to better my craft as an artist and educator!” –Lisa Banester, Art Teacher, Southport Elementary

At the end of the day, they worked on lesson plans to take back to their students.

Teachers designing lesson plans based on their challenging standard.

“This PD was awesome! I always tried to tie Language Arts and writing into my Art class but always felt it was boring, forced, and not done well. I was grasping. This workshop gave me great ideas on how to build up to the writing and make it so I am providing guidelines and the students can take off in the direction they want. This was well worth my time and can’t wait until the next! Thank you CAM for prividing us with great information and resources and hands on fun and experience.” –Cassandra Kane


Luc Travers  of the CAM gave the teachers an effective way for them to help students find a personal and emotional relationship to art works–from there they will be eager to write or create.

Teachers using the Quick Reference Guide to find standards in art and literacy to integrate in a lesson plan.

It was inspiring to see the educators dig deep into the art and emerge so happy. Many thanks to Holly Tripman Fitzgerald, Georgia Mastroieni, Anne Brennan, Troy, Mike, Doris, Heather Wilson, and all the CAM staff.


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