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Dec 7, 2012

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Do you PLC?

Are you the only art teacher in your district? Or do you teach with a few fellow art colleagues?  As you well know, art teachers often feel isolated or alone on our own little island when it comes to public education.  PLC has been my solution to putting an end to this feeling! No longer do I feel as if I’m the only one who is dealing with unclean paint brushes left in the sink, or looking for ideas on how to organize  & display students’ artwork.

What is a PLC?

Professional Learning Communities, also known as PLC, is something our school district switched to two years ago.  Our students get out on Wednesday’s at 2:09pm and my colleagues and I have a chance to meet with each other as professionals.  It has been an amazing experience as the elementary art teachers and I have a time to meet.  We are actually getting what happens in each other’s art room and as an added bonus we are getting to know each other!

This year we added another .2 time art teacher.  Yes, all of our 1st & 2nd graders are screaming for joy to have more art time.  I was previously meeting with just the elementary art teacher before, and we found many benefits of this, but now we have one more person to brainstorm ideas about art with.  As a united art department force we are starting to dig into re-aligning our benchmarks to the national art standards.

We PLC every other week and the opposite weeks we are learning about Project Based Learning, PBL.  So we PLC & PBL alternate each other, never too many acronyms in education, right?  Look for future articles as I talk about the wonderful PBL project we are working on!

So does your school PLC? Tell us about it in the comments below.

How do you spend your PLC time? 

PS. Want more PLC stuff? : Never Run out of PD Ideas Again

PPS. Looking for ways to get your art department on the same page? Check out AOE’s PD PAKS

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  • Jorena

    We have grade level PLCs at our school and all the encore teachers have their own PLC.  PLCs meet once a month and encore can meet together or with another grade level.  While the idea of meeting with another grade level is a great idea, it rarely happens because most grade levels have already decided what the PLC will cover and somehow encore doesn’t ever make the docket.   I have suggested to our principal that if our county schools would all have their PLCs on the same day, then all of the elementary art teachers, PE teachers, music teachers, and technology teachers could have their own PLC.  However nothing has come of it.  Right now, the elementary art teachers are meeting on their own time and we have one mother of five who understandably has scheduling issues and can’t make it.  I used the information about shared folders on google drive and we created one.  That has been helping some.  I still want to meet together though.  I look forward to your future PLC articles.  Perhaps I can reference them when I approach administration again.  

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Chelsie Meyer

      Thanks for sharing Jorena! Yes, meeting together is the best way to all get on the same page! Does your school have early outs?  We set a master calendar for the school year, which has been very helpful in knowing when we are meeting as a PLC or as a PBL, since I alternate two different groups.  Wishing you the best on your PLC journey!

  • Vicky Siegel

    We had PLC’s a few years ago- and all of the MAPEL staff got together and worked through how to use our new Mimio’s (like a cheap smart board).  It was great.  Just yesterday the specialists got to meet with each other for the afternoon- as the other elem. teachers had to learn some new testing operations.  It was so nice to meet- but it was just me and the new art teacher.  The other elem. art teacher is also at the high school- so she had to be there.  There was only so much we could think of to discuss- plus we have to document what we do and have “actions” to follow through, ect.  Our curriculum hasn’t been “officially written” in 17 years!  We follow a “concept-oriented” curriculum -that we have all come up with through the years.  It has been started and never finished with different curric. coordinators, but nothing we like- just what THEY like.  We both never see each other (or any art teacher) since we are all at different buildings and travel.  Any tips for the future of things to discuss????  We don’t want to give this up, as otherwise we have to sit at meetings that never apply to us!  Unfortunately, we printed off the Art of Ed PD Pack info. to see if we could use this for the future meetings- and when our principal came to our room and saw the price, she just laughed and walked away!!  I wish we could just then use the afternoon as a work day- b/c you all know art teachers have way too much to do, never have any down time (except at lunch when I eat and read this blog!!), etc.  Any suggestions would be great!!

    • http://www.theartofed.com/ Chelsie Meyer

      Hello Vicky,  I completely agree that us art teachers could easily just use this time as work time! With all of the organization that happens and the amount of students we see, this hour would fly by! The eBooks would be great to help guide your discussions! http://www.theartofed.com/ebooks/  They could get you talking about Assessment or Curriculum.  The curriculum eBook has helped guide our discussion as we realign our art benchmarks. 

  • http://www.theartofed.com/ Jessica Balsley

    We were able to meet as an art department once a week! It was a lot of time to meet, however, it really builds rapport and allows the team to move forward with more initiatives by working together more often. The hardest part was moving our focus to the STUDENTS during our PLC conversations, and away from our own gripes. We had a high functioning group and had a lot of fun, too! 

  • http://rainbowskiesanddragonflies.blogspot.com/ Mrs.C

    We have been PLC-ing in my district for three years now.  This year I am working with all of the other Specialists in the district K-8 on assessment. All our evaluations models have drastically changed this year and are presently a pilot of what is to come next year. Our evaluations next year will also include our assessments and students progress so we are spending this year trying to get a good handle on all of it!

  • http://twitter.com/jonathanmaki Jonathan Maki

    It’s super complicated getting together as an elementary art dept., but some still find the ability to do this.  Instead I latch on to a grade level PLC.  I’ve been rotating to different grade levels every year.  Then I make it a goal to integrate something from their PLC goal into my art classes.  While, I would love to meet with my art colleagues, I legitimize this because:
    1. I learn more about what is developmentally appropriate for each grade level.
    2. I find ways to embed math and reading strategies in art, because the stuff sinks in better for kids when it’s presented in many ways.
    3. I feel more a part of the staff and get to know them, rather than just be the weird art teacher down the hall. 
    4. On the same note, teachers have found that I’m not just making pretty stuff that decorates the hallways.  I feel they a higher regard for what is being taught in the art room, as well as what I do.
    5.  When meeting with teachers in my school, I can do this within the regular school day, rather than meeting late with art teachers.  (we all have kids to go home to)

    What’s more important:  art or kids?
    We are teaching kids first, right?  Art is just a super awesome fantastic tool that helps these kids amazing people, right? 

    I dunno.  I’m still learnin.

  • Lauren Wenk

    Jessica, it’s PLN via twitter of course! We need another reunion soon! Hopefully after all the holidays die down :)

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