ArtCore in Action!

What have you learned about the resources (both monetary and non-monetary) needed to be successful in implementing your project?

ArtCore is rooted in Harvard Project Zero’s eight Studio Habits of Mind. Linked to each habit of mind, lies an essential ArtCore question.

 Envision – When do you feel most alive—when do you lose track of time?

 Observe – What kinds of questions do you ask when you are most curious?

Develop Craft – To share your imagination and ideas, what medium or tools do you use best?

 Express – How do you give back to the world?

 Engage and Persist – What has been one of your best mistakes in life or work?

 Reflect – How do you know you’re satisfied with your work—what do you think about, look, listen, smell, or feel for?

 Stretch and Explore – What motivates you to try something new?

 Understands Art Worlds – What is your own ArtCore?

 While implementing our project, each of us is living from our ArtCore. Our team of teachers, administrators, artists, and project coordinators utilize these habits of mind to thoughtfully develop the project while building awareness about ourselves.

We worked collectively to envision the project to be transformative for the school and have a long-lasting impact.

Project coordinators and artists observe the school, teachers and classrooms. How does the school function? How do the teachers work together? What do they need?

We developed the craft with the leadership of our teaching artist, Betsy Wolfston. Instead of complicated projects, we focus on projects that are doable for teachers to implement.

Students are so beautifully expressive while working in the art studio. The room is buzzing with excitement and creative energy.

Betsy and the teachers engage and persist while they implement the integrated lessons.

The school team and the leadership team reflect weekly upon what worked and what didn’t work.

After the first class when Betsy notices that something didn’t work, she stretches and explores by changing the lesson on the spot.

Betsy and the Oaklea team have led students in understanding art worlds such as ancient Egypt and Greece through projects that align with common core standards and link to student learning in math, science, social studies, and language arts.


What were the most impactful ways that you used your OCF grant funding in year 1?

Comments from the teachers:

Having a great artist is invaluable.  Working with Betsy has been such a great experience.  The students and I both have learned so much from her. I have been really impressed with how much our artist has been able to use very old materials.  She has made really good use of what we already have and has planned lessons around those materials. The main resource we’ve been using is TIME.  It has been a commitment for all 6th grade teachers and Betsy to meet each Thursday to review Monday’s lesson and to plan future lessons.

All of the art lessons are connected to what we are doing in the classroom.  The students are really seeing the connections.  We are also trying to use the same language that they are getting from the artist. The students are constantly looking forward to Art Core Mondays and it has given them something creative and fun to look forward to each week. 

From the principal:

I can’t thank our 6th grade team enough for their openness to the positive changes that have taken place with their scheduling this school year.  In our case, the art “weaver” is such a valuable resource.  It’s really a combination of the people who are facilitating the work and the external resources coming into the building.

The after-school ArtCore program for our 5th – 8th grade students was a tremendous addition to the arts integration focus. Professional development has been important for the teachers.  Teaching artists continue to be an important part of the day and after school programs.  Obviously, having an outstanding art “weaver” in Betsy has been a huge component. 
How might you apply what you’ve learned in using your funding resources in year 2?

  • We will work as a team to further develop the modules used this year as well as create additional modules for next year.
  • We will develop mini-modules for other grades to prepare them for ArtCore in future years.
  • We will develop school-wide engagement opportunities, including a mural in which the entire school can contribute to.
  • We may need to invest additional funding to the after-school program.
  • Teachers and teaching artists are requesting additional professional development.
  • Teachers are also interested in visiting an art-based school and learning how to co-teach the arts.

What are some non-monetary resources that were crucial to program implementation?

  • The 6th grade team has been incredible. They collaborate, share ideas, show flexibility, and work extremely well with the artists and project coordinators at Lane Arts Council.
  • The Lane Arts team showed willingness to become familiar with Common Core standards and implement arts integration in a way that compliments the work we are already doing.
  • Oaklea was fortunate to have an existing art room with ample (although some outdated) supplies.