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Professional Development Success Stories

Artful ThinkingCross-curricular learning happens with Artful Thinking

SHARP Literacy, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and MPS presented a two-day workshop for SHARP education staff, educators, teachers, and community partners on January 18 and 19. The workshop was presented by Jessica Ross from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Artful Thinking helps teachers use works of visual art and music in ways that strengthen student thinking and learning in the arts and beyond.

The goals of this workshop were to help teachers create connections between works of art and curriculum and to help teachers use art as a force for developing students’ thinking dispositions. SHARP Literacy offers program delivery to 15 schools at no cost to MPS or the schools. In addition to the regular programming, SHARP provided professional development to School Support Teachers in WIN sessions three times this year regarding arts integration techniques.

honey creekArt brings science concepts to life


Teachers at Honey Creek Elementary School hosted a professional development session in January that illustrated science concepts through painting techniques. Deb Jolitz, manager of the MPS fine arts office, and Tony Soyak, music curriculum specialist, led teachers through a lesson plan that demonstrated the four forces of flight--gravity, thrust, lift, and drag. Using paint, cardboard strips, and pencils, teachers created Jackson Pollock–inspired paintings to create visual interpretations of these concepts. The lesson, suitable for educators to use with second graders, is in line with Next Generation Science Standards and National Core Arts Standards, and will provide sensory and creative learning for young students.


tableauTableau strategy fosters fun learning

As part of Year of the Arts professional development, specific strategies, such as the tableau, were discussed. Zablocki Elementary School used this strategy to deliver new learning for staff.

Staff members read this article and created tableaux for each of the eight behaviors. Not only did they engage in new learning, they also had a lot of laughs, and they hope to see more tableaux happening across the school!



  Year of the Arts Goals

  • Promote and celebrate the arts.
  • Develop a pipeline to recruit and retain arts instructors.
  • Make connections between history and culture through the arts.
  • Encourage arts integration within and outside the classrooms.
  • Build support for MPS arts programs and schools to be sure that EVERY student is afforded quality arts opportunities.

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Phone: 414-475-8792

Year of the Arts

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What Are the Arts?

  • Culinary arts
  • Dance
  • Literary arts
  • Music
  • Media arts
  • Theater
  • Visual arts
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