Saturday, June 29, 2013

Reason 4 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item


What is STE(A)M?

Sir Ken Robinson at it again with a wonderful animation titled PAPER CLIP.  A wonderful piece distinguishing between divergent thinking and creativity.  Daniel Pink's A WHOLE NEW MIND and Robert Root-Bernstein's SPARKS OF GENIUS.  It is the ARTS that fosters both this creative and divergent thinking.

More than that, the video echoes an ASCD article that discuss an ISTE and Verizon study aimed at reversing the lack of engagement trend seen in the STEM disciplines.  THE JOURNAL reports that key findings of the research proves:

  • 40 percent of middle and high school students at participating VILS schools demonstrated increased engagement;
  • 52 percent of students demonstrated increased proficiency with mobile technologies in learning;
  • Students of VILS teachers were more inclined than their non-VILS peers to go to college, were more confident about being admitted, and were more inclined to major in a STEM field; and
  • Students of VILS teachers reported more positive views of math and science and more frequent use of technology, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, and digital media data and tools.

Friday, June 28, 2013





John Cleese on Creativity--Cultivating Creativing and Innovation is What's Behind the STE(A)M Initiative

As one would expect, this is funny coming from John Cleese. However, don't let the light bulb jokes fool you. It's full of substance about creativity in our culture and our need to cultivate it. This is hugely important and the drive behind our STE(A)M initiatives at this year's RA.  Please enjoy this but not on the RA floor as it requires too much bandwidth.

Amazing Union Brothers and Sisters Building an RA--Great Music to Boot

It's absolutely amazing to see this behind-the-scenes preparation that all have contributed to the RA's success. 

The NEA FAC is one of those players.  Watch for our NBI's on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics), and Costing of New Business Items.  We are likely to also have an STE(A)M Legislative Amendment.

Hats off to Jessica Fitzwater (MD), NEA FAC Vice-Chair; Oscar Forsman (IL), Treasurer; Rich Nicklay (IA), Secretary; Pamela Gibberman (CA), Music Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Joe Bartell (CA), Music Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Jack Rowe (ID), Visual Arts Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Carlos Meikel (CO), Visual Arts Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Carol Woodman (WA), Drama Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Ginger Fox (CA), Dance Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board; Michael Gary (), Dance Representative to the NEA FAC Executive Board.

Thanks to Carrie Lewis, NEA Governance liaison to the CCBR; Aaron Harris, NEA Governance liaison to the Legislative Program; and Jeffrey Goode, NEA Governance liaison to Caucuses. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Reason 5 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

“I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine. (12 May 1780)”
― John Adams

WE ARE BENEFICIARIES OF THAT VISION...  Our founders believed in the importance of the Arts...we should too.  Check out these "big players" at the table at Arts Advocacy Day 2013 sponsored by American for the Arts announcing a STE(A)M Initiative that will provide lots of important dollars to schools who invest in STE(A)M.  The reasoning that these folks gives should be reason enough for the NEA to stand behind STE(A)M.   

"You can't create that world changing algorithm without mathematics, science and engineering.  But you also can't create it without the creativity to imagine it and to solve the problem...and that creative and critical thinking is what the Arts deliver."
President's Committee for the Arts and the Humanities from our Honorary Chair, Michelle Obama, "We are very excited about this program.  We find ourselves in a moment--when we talk about STEAM--of great opportunities...but also great challenges..."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reason 6 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item



What is STE(A)M?

Take a look at the exciting work that's going on with Arts Integration in Minneapolis. Famous for its support of the ARTS, this is a SYSTEM that is already moving FULL STEAM AHEAD. video production services documented this educational arts video sponsored by Arts for Academic Achievement and AchieveMpls at Minneapolis Public Schools.

Arts for Academic Achievement and AchieveMpls team up to support learning in and through the arts. Production services provided by

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reason 7 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item


What is STE(A)M?

WHAT COLOR IS A BULLY'S BRAIN?  Integrating the Arts and Science at the Primary/Elementary and Intermediate/Middle School Level

 Neuro.RAPT, Community Contributor
10:38 a.m. CDT, June 22, 2013

NEA FAC BLOGGER'S NOTE:  This is a great example of STEAM's objectives.  These students are asked to deal with a relevant social issue, express their feelings, learn about the science of the brain, then express their learning using the arts.  The arts are a tool and not a stand-alone lesson.  This is worth a look.

A Bully's Brain--Part One

A Bully's Brain - Part One

We've examined bullying from all angles, except the one organ which is responsible for so many of our human functions. The Brain.

What does a bully's brain look like? How is it functioning in that moment?

In the first collaboration of its kind, Neuro.RAPT; a newly launched science collaborative and StudentsXpress; a magazine for students that promotes creativity, literacy and expression, examined the neural underpinnings of bullying from the perspective of students from Hamilton Elementary (Chicago, IL), in both kindergarten/first grade and middle school. Through interviews and art pieces, viewers will journey into a bully's brain.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Reason 9 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

STEaM resources for any classroom
posted by Susan Riley * November 1, 2012

Today, we’ll be focusing on the many resources that are out there for STEM: from explaining what it is, to sample lessons, to ways that it connects to the Arts. This is a living list, so please feel free to add any resources you have found in your travels in the comment section below!

STEM presentations:

Transforming Vision
into Reality: FREE
STEAM Lesson Plans
Creating a Global Focus on STEM education is a very well-done powerpoint that gives a “big picture” to STEM.

The STEM Education Coalition has a whole section of resource links to over 50 different presentations worldwide.
CLICK HERE for information on

The Journal highlights how teachers and administrators are looking for resources to support STEM.

What is STEM education is a prezi from Todd Ensign that was provided to West Virginia teachers.


How to Smile is a site that houses fantastic math and science activities, with a dose of creativity thrown in.

PBS STEM Resource is a phenomenal site with lessons for K-12 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as well as professional development for teachers.
The STEAM APP has arrived.

STEAM Education Lessons provide several high-quality STEAM lessons that you can browse through.

STEAM resources:

The STEAM Academy is a terrific site for advocating and sharing authentic STEAM projects and efforts.

Planting T’s is a website dedicated to promoting design thinking in K-12 education.

Working in Scratch: Putting STEAM into Cross-Curricular Collaboration is a prezi that gives practical applications for using the computer program SCRATCH in the arts classrooms.

Going from STEM to STEAM is a prezi about how creativity and self-expression give life to technology and science.

100+ STEM and STEAM Resources Livebinder has a variety of tools, videos and resources for you to browse.

Reason 10 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item


What is STE(A)M?

This is one of MANY Pinterest pages dedicated to show educators how to use arts integration and the arts to strengthen the STEM disciplines, student interest and shape America's students into innovative, creative, fun-loving leaders in a global economy.  CHECK THIS OUT.

From STEM to STEAM ( Leonardo DaVinci was famously an engineer, architect, scientist and, of course, a painter. “Why choose just one?” asked Shirley Malcolm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in addressing participants at a national workshop RISD hosted on January 20 and 21. “Why was this artificial bifurcation made [between art and science] and how can we reconnect it?” Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Bridging STEM to STEAM: Developing New Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy looked at ways educators and policymakers can begin to bridge this gap. In particular, the goal of this gathering of minds was to develop strategies to enhance STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] education by integrating art and design – transforming STEM into STEAM and promoting the intellectual and creative potentials in the process.

Check out this screenshot that shows HOW to put the A into STEM with real-life, teacher-tested, student approved projects.  If you think these are intriguing, there are even more.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reason 11 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Let’s hear it for STEAM – not just STEM – education

by Monica Olivera
10:42 am on 06/19/2013
Source Link:

There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about the importance of STEM education. Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics play a critical role in our country’s ability to compete in the global market. But there is an essential part of this acronym that is missing: ARTS. It is the spark that breathes life into STEM, and without it, innovation is dead. There would be no inventions, no discoveries, no advances in technology. Without creativity, Benjamin Franklin would not have considered flying a kite in a storm, Steve Jobs would have just been another computer sales guy, and Ellen Ochoa would have been some girl who likes stars.

More and more people are advocating for STEAM instruction instead of just STEM because they understand that creativity leads to inspiration and spurs innovation. Art helps students learn how to analyze and interpret, describe and communicate. It requires a person to work steadily and value the results. All these skills must be nurtured and developed through exposure to the arts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reason 12 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item


What is STE(A)M?

Report: Humanities, social science education needed for innovation along with STEM

A workforce lacking robust a humanities and social science education could be just as detrimental to the country’s future economic competitiveness as one deficient in science and technological expertise, according to an American Academy of Arts and Sciences report released Wednesday.

“The Heart of the Matter” aims to highlight the importance of humanities and social sciences to the country’s economic future and urges Americans to value a well-rounded education. The findings are the social science community’s answer to a 2007 report that pushed the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education into the national spotlight.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reason 13 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Can the U.S.'s Science Education Initiative Succeed Without the Arts? A Growing Chorus Says No
by Kyle Chayka * although originally published in May 2012
the article is still very relevant emphasizing our need to move

 Thomas Eakins, "The Agnew Clinic," 1889 Courtesy of Wiikpaintings
Though the buzz within the contemporary art world lately has been about rising auction prices and sales records, art has entered the national conversation in another, quieter form that might have escaped the eyes of gallerists and curators. The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and it has recently become a byword for education reform and the drive to improve America’s competitiveness in those global arenas. Now, some critics of the effort are arguing that STEM leaves out one of the most important areas of human achievement — the arts. STEM, they say, should be turned into STEAM.

In a post for Scientific American, science editor and blogger Steven Ross Pomeroy explores STEM, calling it an “unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor,” but also finding fault with its lack of consideration of the arts. Pomeroy cites Leonardo da Vinci, Carl Jung, and the 11th-century Chinese polymath Su Song as

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reason 14 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Turn STEM to STEAM: Why Science Needs the Arts

Last month my institution, California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, selected scientist Amory Lovins to deliver the commencement speech and to receive an honorary doctorate. I'm sure many people in the audience were wondering why CCA, a school of the arts, chose a scientist for this honor. What could a world-renowned physicist say that would resonate with a group of artists, architects, designers, curators, and writers? Plenty, as we all found out.

Artists and Scientists: A Cultural Divide?

On the face of it, physicists and artists don't seem to have much in common. The raw materials couldn't appear to be more different. Artists often deal in imagery, metaphor, illusions, shifting perceptions, and emotions. Scientists employ numbers, equations, and data.

Reason 15 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

The STEM to STEAM Initiative Receives a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award

Based on the studies of Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen and helmed by Tribeca’s Craig Hatkoff, The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA) celebrates those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact. Christensen’s original Disruptive Innovation Theory explained how simpler, cheaper technologies, products, and services could decimate industry leaders. TDIA showcases applications of disruptive innovation which has spread far beyond the original technological and industrial realms into the fields of healthcare, education, international development, politics and advocacy, media, the arts and entertainment.

Read more about 10 Lessons Learned from the Disrupting Innovation Awards

Monday, June 17, 2013

Reason 16 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Building up STEAM: Adding the arts into STEM education efforts


National, state and local leaders have long pushed for investments in STEM education, which stands for the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Yet a growing number of advocates believe these fields are missing a key component to truly ignite innovation – the arts. They argue that the arts nurture a creative ability to identify and view problems from different perspectives. For Ohio schools, turning STEM into STEAM poses significant challenges, starting with the breakdown of traditional barriers that delineate educational disciplines.

Students work in Columbus College of Arts & Design’s College Preview Program
"Scientists and artists are both trying to get a better understanding of the world around us, but they are doing it through different lenses," says Kate Cook, a life science teacher at the Dayton Regional STEM School. "Nothing exists in a vacuum in the real world or in a school. It makes sense when we try to approach problems from multiple perspectives."

The numbers tell an interesting story. According to Ohio's ACT test profile report, approximately 6,000 graduating 2012 seniors intended to pursue arts in college versus 6,500 for engineering. In 2010 and 2011, those leaning toward the arts outnumbered students intending to major in engineering.

Some might argue that this creates an imbalance between degree output and demand for high-growth, high-wage jobs. The point is not moot: leading economic forecasting firm Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl. projects more than 10,000 annual job openings in Ohio for STEM occupations with a median wage of approximately $32 per hour. But STEAM advocates see a huge talent pool capable of meeting the labor market demand in the context of their artistic talents.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

On being an artist and an arts educator...

by Sue Lemmo, a 22 year veteran visuals arts teacher
in Pennsylvania, a member of the PSEA Board of Directors,
the NEA Fine Arts Caucus Executive Board and a vibrant,
energetic and insightful  NEA leader for an arts education
for all of America's students.
Arts educators face many challenges the political climate we live in, just keeping our fine arts programs alive and funded can be a monumental task. In Pennsylvania, after three years of draconian budget cuts many school districts are once again cutting or completely eliminating fine arts programs. And those of us who still remain on the job find ourselves doing more and more with fewer resources. Throw in the demands of our day to day lives and being an arts educator can be just plain exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, I just finished my 22nd year as a visual arts teacher in a small rural Pennsylvania school district. And I love what I do. There is nothing like the feeling I get when one of my students accomplishes a challenging task, creates a stunningly beautiful piece of art, or just feels stronger about their place in the world because of the work we do together in my classroom. Did I mention that I still love what I do?

But maintaining a classroom environment with that kind of drive and energy can sometimes make me forget about my own creative self. Between my  advocacy as a local and region union president, my work with
It is appropriate that this original post
celebrates our 300th post on the NEA
Fine Arts Caucus blogsite.  WTG Sue!
other labor organizations through my position as treasurer of my Central Labor Council, raising two daughters (one in high school and one in college), taking care of two sets of elderly parents (the youngest being 87 years old) and making sure our house doesn't look like an episode of "Hoarders" (Did I mention that I don't love cleaning?) actually making art just seems to get pushed aside.

Over the years I have recognized that my art making energies seem to experience peaks and valleys. So I allow myself to have those times when I am not as actively engaged in creating in-depth time consuming pieces. I have learned that just because I am not in the studio cranking out art doesn't mean that I am letting my creative mind rust away. On the contrary, those times are often when I am generating ideas, doing research, or allowing myself time for creative play. If I don't allow myself those down times I am actually less productive in the studio.

That said, I have been in this valley too long! I have decided that over the next two months, I am going to do my warm ups. So every day, I plan to spend at least 15 minutes doing something that is entirely selfish and productively creative...either getting my hands a little messy in the studio or working on those rough drafts of the stories for books that sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night in the hopes that getting back in the habit will push towards a peak and out of this valley. This post, is Day 1.

Reason 17 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Children learn best when they use their imagination
Unleash the learning potential of imaginative inquiry in your classroom, says Tim Taylor

Boy Playing Superhero--Imaginative inquiry: it doesn't take a
dressing up box to tap into a child's imagination.
As a child I loved games. Playground games, skipping games, card games, board games like Risk and Colditz, obscure data games like Logacta and, most of all, role-play games, where I could imagine being someone else involved in dangerous and exciting adventures.

My love of games continued into adulthood and when I became a teacher I wanted to use them in my lessons to engage and excite my students. In this purpose I was incredibly lucky. As a first year teacher I met Luke Abbott, adviser and former student of drama and education specialist Dorothy Heathcote. Luke and Dorothy taught a demonstration lesson with my year 1 class using imaginative inquiry.

Within a few minutes of the lesson starting the children and Luke were involved in a full on mission to rescue the inhabitants of a village, which had been swallowed up by a giant hole. Children who I knew well (some of them reluctant learners) were working in active collaboration with each other, sharing ideas, talking animatedly, drawing, writing and making plans. My classroom no longer looked like a traditional classroom,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Reason 18 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Play in education: the role and importance of creative learning

Can learning through play really help teachers to achieve their formal lesson goals? Catch up on all the views and insights from our live chat on learning through play

by Matthew Jenkin, THE GUARDIAN

A pair of childrens hands with paint.  How can play help learning
and engagement? Photograph: Alamy
Here we've collated some highlights and links from our recent live chat exploring the benefits and challenges associated with learning through play. To read the discussion in full, click here.

Don Ledingham, education blogger and director of education and children's services for Midlothian Council

Over the years I've become a complete convert to the early years' approach, where children are encouraged to learn through play and active learning. It's been interesting to watch this approach percolate through the primary school, where play is now often used productively with older children.

Yet when I consider the secondary school curriculum, the notion of using play as an approach to promoting learning is rare and, in some subject areas, completely unknown.

The secondary school curriculum has evolved into a set of formal learning outcomes that often lead the teacher to adopt a methodology where they have complete control over the nature of the learning process, the criteria by which success will be measured and the duration of the learning experience. This is driven by a tacit expectation that 'good' teaching requires explicit goals and formalized learning steps.

Unveiling the Revised NEA FAC's STEAM Initiative Buttons

Delegates to the 2013 RA will have the opportunity to help us advocate for
great instructional practice by using Arts Integration as a tool in the STEM
fields along with other fields to enhance student learning.  These buttons will
be given to NEAFAC members and up to 1000 other supporters of our initiative.
Button design by Tom McLaughlin (IA), NEA FAC Chair.
Of course, these will be UNION MADE and will have the union bug at the bottom.
Thanks to NEA FAC Vice-Chair Jessica Fitzwater (MD--Music); Secretary Rich Nicklay (IA--Music); Treasurer Oscar Forsman (IL--Music) and Executive Board Members Ginger Fox (CA--Drama/Dance),  and Sue Lemmo (PA--Visual Arts) for their suggestions and feedback in our revision process.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reason 19 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Learning through play: pedagogy, challenges and ideas
The importance of play in learning, its relevance in schools and ideas on how to use imaginative inquiry in the classroom--a live chat held recently in England.

Do children learn best when they're having fun? Photograph: Alamy

Play's vital role in fostering young children's healthy social and psychological development is nowadays a no brainer. Research by Play England, outlined in its Play for a Change report, found that play not only aids children's mental and physical health, it teaches them risk taking and problem solving skills, promoting imagination, independence and creativity.

Play's use in education beyond early years, however, is a much more contentious issue.

In a blog about using imaginative inquiry in the classroom, advanced skills teacher and lecturer Tim Taylor argued that children learn best when they're playing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reason 20 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Arts integration: Putting the (A) Into STE(A)M Curriculum: Melanie Skankey--a Drama/Arts Generalist Elementary Teacher at TEDxSUU--Really Cool Stuff

A really energetic teacher who shows "HOW" we should best prepare our students for the future in the information age.  Be patient with this video.  Even though an energetic teacher, she starts showing some demonstrations at a little before four minutes and some really cool case studies at about 12 minutes.  Some nice examples of students putting science learning in their bodies and how we need to focus on larger ideas and concepts like systems, monlogues to explore the Trail of Tears, acting out math problems, drawings to demonstrate "push and pull", and more...