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Project Zero Featured in Edutopia

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09/11/2012 11:13 AM
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Teachers at the Bates Middle School in Annapolis, Md., employed Artful Thinking techniques to great success in their classrooms.

Project Zero’s was recently featured in Edutopia’s Schools That Work series. Edutopia, the George Lucas Education Foundation, regularly publishes profiles on their website of K-12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn. Based on these evidence-based successes, Edutopia then creates free resources (such as videos and actionable tip lists) for use by teachers, administrators, and parents.

This installment of Schools That Work featured the Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Annapolis, MD. Bates began the arts integration process in 2007 — arts integration involves using teaching strategies that combine arts with core curricula subjects to build connections across the subjects — and became fully integrated in 2009. Since then, the percentage of Bates students achieving or surpassing state standards for reading has grown from 73 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012, and in math from 62 percent to 77 percent over the same period. In addition, disciplinary problems decreased by 23 percent. Bates teachers attribute much of that improvement to arts integration, and among the arts teaching strategies they have employed are the thinking routines produced by ’s Artful Thinking project.

Artful Thinking was an initiative to develop a research-based approach to developing learners’ thinking dispositions through looking at art. The program was created to help K-12 teachers integrate looking at art into subjects across the curriculum and it foregrounds the use of thinking routines, the documentation of student thinking, and reflective professional practice as part of a dispositional approach to the development of thinking. Though no longer an active Project Zero research strand, Artful Thinking’s frameworks are in wide use today by educators around the world, both in schools and museums.

The Artful Thinking program and Project Zero are mentioned several times throughout the Edutopia package:

The George Lucas Educational Foundation is dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process by documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives.

Project Zero is an educational research group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Project Zero’s mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels.

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