Our goal is to support students as they develop the flexible skills needed to be active, engaged citizens in the future. Understanding and affirming creativity in its many forms is a cornerstone of our learning to teach through the arts.
Teaching Through the Arts
As a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts, we want to use the power of art to develop our students’ thinking dispositions. In order to turn our beliefs into actions, staff identified five key artistic habits of mind that are developed within and through the arts and can be utilized across the curriculum to deepen thinking and learning.
Risk-taking: Learning through the arts invites students to take risks, and experiment with new techniques and approaches as they learn to express their unique identities.
Communication: Students learn to decode the artist’s meaning and to encode original ideas in their own work.
Embracing a range of perspectives: Our diversity is our strength and a common theme in all of our learning.
Building creative and collaborative communities: Our teachers use artful learning processes and artful ways to represent understanding.
Critical thinking and analysis: Through a combination of explicit and inductive approaches to learning, we encourage students to focus on the process not the product as they construct meaning from their experiences.
Learning Through the Arts
Teachers work collaboratively with students. Instruction is a combination of explicit and inductive approaches. Inquiry oriented instruction with a focus on process not product often requires the teacher to work as a facilitator alongside students as they construct meaning from their experiences.
Explicit instruction of strategies and skills needed to explore topics, and flexible scaffolding as students work toward clearly identified outcomes, are keys to student success. Formative assessment, including clearly outlined criteria and specific feedback, guide student learning. Using an Understanding by Design (UBD) format, teachers consciously plan cross-curricular units that utilize artful learning processes and artful ways to represent understanding.
A model collection of UBD units has been designed to ensure new staff are able to study examples of teaching and learning through the arts.
The student is at the heart of teaching and learning. Teachers work hard to engage their students and connect learning to students’ needs, interests and cultures. Student voice and choice is valued and encouraged. Students are supported as they develop confidence in their abilities to think and express themselves through the arts.
Leadership Through the Arts
The attributes of a successful leader can be identified, learned and refined. This locally developed course was designed to give students the opportunity to explore ways in which they can become successful leaders in their school and community through a blend of classroom instruction, group discussion, activity-based learning, project work and volunteerism. Our grades 5 to 8 students spend 100 minutes a week in the Leadership Through the Arts course.
Artist in Residence
In 2016, North Park Wilson was granted its first Artist in Residence position through the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Working alongside a professional artist, teachers develop and enact a UBD unit that intentionally integrates artful thinking and representations with other curricular areas.
Working through our School Community Council and Parent Council, parents participate in the decisions that guide the direction of our work as a Centre of Excellence Through the Arts.
Community members are part of the planning committees for major events. These events include curriculum evenings, our annual arts festival and the actualization of grants from the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Partnerships with The Children’s Discovery Museum and SaskTel Pioneers are valuable connections to the wider community.