Getting Creative in the Classroom

June 28th, 2007 by Adam

Not all teachers are on vacation in the summer. Many of them are at Plymouth State University working on master’s degree requirements or continuing education units, or participating in workshops like the annual Arts In Education Institute (AIE) presented by the Art Department July 9 – 13.

The AIE program, which has evolved over 14 years at Plymouth State University, is a national graduate-level model for the integration of the arts into inclusionary classrooms. “The program provides a learning laboratory where course participants have opportunities to experience the transformative power of creative confidence and the dynamic dialogue that is possible using the languages of the arts,” said Dr. Cynthia Vascek, chair of the PSU Art Department and coordinator of art education.

The AIE institute helps teachers and administrators redefine the role of the arts in the K-12 classroom and to establish stronger relationships between the arts and academic disciplines, engage children in critical thinking and build community.

Co-directors this summer are Wendy Oellers, 2003-04 Excellence in Environmental Education Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Carol Young, a nominee for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Outstanding Young Educator Award in 2003. Both are Integrated Instructional Model (IIM) curriculum leaders at Gilford Elementary School.

This year’s theme is “Building on Diversity: The Art of Teaching” and includes arts-infused, multidisciplinary activities with professional artists and educators that will enhance the learning experience. Workshops include Visual Arts and Writing, Nature Journaling, Creative Music, Movement and Drama Classroom, Differentiated Instruction and Papermaking.

Educators attending the Institute include K-12 classroom teachers, arts educators, special educators, curriculum coordinators and teacher education students.

“This is a week of inspiration, re-energizing, connecting, reflecting, relationships building and creating,” said Vascek.

For information, contact Dr. Cynthia Vascak at (603) 535-3001 or via e-mail to