Friday, May 19, 2017

From School Days to Evenings: Engaging Parents in their Children’s Art Learning

by Marlena I., ARCK's Development & Marketing Assistant

ARCK’s Financial Literacy Through Art workshop, piloted on May 16th, marked the first of hopefully many workshops we will offer to the parents of our students this upcoming year who are English language learners. This component of our programming aims to engage parents in their children’s school lives and to extend the therapeutic benefits of art into their lives as well as their kids’.

ARCK has partnered with the Adult Education Program at Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA) in Allston, one of the Boston public schools in which we offer our core arts integration program for K-8 students. The Adult Education Program offers evening English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes along with childcare, free of charge to participants. To reach our students' parents in this wonderful program as well as other adult ESOL learners, we are planning a series of Literacy Through Art workshops. Since the Adult Education Program’s ESOL curriculum is theme-based, geared toward teaching students English skills and areas of knowledge relevant to their daily lives, each of ARCK’s Literacy Through Art workshops will align with some of these themes, including personal financial literacy.

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This past Tuesday evening, around 18 GPA parents from various levels of ESOL classes participated in a hands-on, arts-integrated lesson on using checks. We were fortunate enough to have the help of Rick and Spencer, representatives from Commerce Bank, who taught students how to properly write a check, record checks in a check register, and balance a checkbook.  

Photo May 16, 7 14 02 PM.jpg 

At the beginning, ARCK teaching artist Will asked, “Who here has a bank account?” Most students raised their hands.

“Who has written a check before?” Most students had not.

The second half of the workshop was an art activity; students designed their own checkbooks using an array of materials including tissue paper, feathers, colored pencils, and stencils.

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Students were given the opportunity to think about how they might incorporate their own identities into their artwork. A single father of four, originally from El Salvador, shared images of tecomates (gourds used for carrying drinking water) that he said could serve as a point of connection between immigrants from similar backgrounds.

The class also gave parents the opportunity to speak to us, ARCK staff, and ask questions about the program.

Overall, they were excited to exercise their creativity, de-stress, and learn about personal finance -- all through art!

Photo May 16, 8 08 13 PM.jpg         Photo May 16, 7 54 50 PM.jpg


We thank Commerce Bank for lending their expertise to the financial literacy lesson and for their generous sponsorship. We thank Michelle Duval from GPA’s Adult Education Program for helping coordinate our partnership.
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Project Idea: Light-Up T-Shirt for Bike Advocacy

 Are you a parent looking for a fun and educational project to do with your kids? Or are you an educator hoping to combine STEM and art into a creative STEAM activity? Look no further -- we’ve prepared a lesson demo on How to Make a Light-Up T-Shirt for Bike Advocacy.

In the video below, ARCK’s executive director Sara Demeter and curriculum developer Lisa Pastore walk through the project step-by-step. 



ARCK's video was included in Education Closet's Arts Integration and STEAM Conference in February.

With this lesson and ARCK's other STEAM projects, students can learn how to live more sustainably and develop advocacy skills. This fits in with our environmental justice-themed curriculum this year and our second curriculum module, Civic Engagement. By biking, we can improve our health and contribute to better, cleaner air. 


Lesson Objectives:
  1. Students will develop skills needed to be an active member of their community and to be an agent of change.
  2. Through research, students will analyze bike statistics to look at inequalities in biking culture.
  3. Students will enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills that they identify and devise a solution supporting their theory and problem-solving skills.
  4. Students will learn to incorporate a simple circuit of e-textile components using conductive thread, LEDs, batteries and battery holders into their design which is all using STEAM components.
  5. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques as they create their t-shirts.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Join us to Stand Up For Art!


In these times of budget cuts to arts and culture programming on both the federal and state levels, ARCK is taking a stand. We are committed to using art as a vehicle to engage children in learning, because we see firsthand in the classrooms that art empowers and heals students.

At our ArtWeek Boston event, #StandUpForArt, we will be amplifying the voices of those who, like us, believe the arts and arts education are worth fighting for.

Check out our Facebook event for more details, and we hope to see you at #StandUpForArt!

Why do the arts matter to you? Let us know in the comments!