Peer Partner Days
Peer Partner Days were originally designed at the request of arts specialists. The purpose of these daylong sessions is to develop standards-based curricular units or fields of study integrating a specific art form. Peer Days provide HOT Schools educators with opportunities to meet with their peers in order to create a statewide network for discussing issues and sharing ideas. This network helps to reduce isolation that arts specialists often feel.
Peer Days bring together each of the specialists in music, arts and physical education with their classroom teacher partners. Each pair of teachers in encouraged to invite one parent to participate. Peer Days are highly valued because they provide arts specialists and classroom teachers time to plan and work together.
Peer Days are typically held in an arts facility. This allows the partner teams to explore the cultural resources of the facility and develop effective ways to use them.
In addition to music, art, and PE we use the Peer Day Model to convene other specialists: library/media, paraprofessionals, school psychologists/social workers, and principals with their district curriculum specialists, and educators interested in Dance/movement or Theatre to plan with partners.
An Example of a Peer Partner Day
CT Master Teaching artists Leslie Johnson and Thomasina Levy led approximately 50 teachers, parents, and museum educators through a writing and music making process using the New Britain Museum of American Art exhibit as the anchor of study.
The artists introduced the concept of using fine arts to inspire writing and music making. Leslie modeled poetry techniques including “Journey Through a Painting,” “Imaginary Monologues,” “Hunting and Gathering,” and poetic forms such as the haiku, lune, and cinquain. Thomasina modeled using orff instruments to develop musical interpretations. Museum docents guided participants on a tour of the museum. Participants worked in small groups creating musical and written responses to masterpiece paintings. Facilitated collaborative planning time followed.
The purpose of this workshop was for participants to discover how the synthesis of visual art, music, and language can invigorate the learning process.
Skills required include risk taking, observation, active listening, creative thinking, and group cooperation.
This process is appropriate for K-12 and is easily replicated in the classroom. This process encourages collaboration among teachers and museum educators.