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A Call to Action: The Challenges of Creative Teaching and Learning

Sawyer, 2011 Teachers College Record (link to actual article!!)
An article that summarizes views of creativity and creative problem-solving. I found this article after listening to Bronwyn's presentation on Creativity and Creative Thinking at the Summer, 2012 MAAI Institute. R. Keith Sawyer presents a number of dilemmas confronting teachers want to develop creativity and creative problem-solving in their classrooms. One dilemma is that creativity is content- and context-specific, that is, a creative person in writing is not necessarily a creative person in dance or music.


The Arts and the Creation of Mind

Elliot Eisner

A Classic in Art ed. that many  Arts Teachers may have had to read this during their teacher preparation courses.  Lays out his arguments for what the arts teach and discusses tensions and dilemmas in arts education.  Good to re-read for inspiration and philosophical reflection and clarity.


Assessment in Art Education

Donna Kay Beattie

A useful book written specifically for visual arts educators.  There are many, many, useful examples of assessments inside-both formative and summative. Addresses validity and reliability. Contains numerous sample strategies and rubrics that can be adapted and/or used immediately in the classroom.



Classroom Assessment for Student Learning

Stiggins et al., Chapter 1 , 2, & 8

There are two overarching themes for this classic book on classroom assessment: 1) standards of quality for classroom assessment should be in the hands of teachers, and 2) a strong argument with lots of examples promoting student involvement in the assessment process. Any of the versions of this book from 2004 on to present day are excellent. These three chapters are Ch 1 (Standards of Quality), Ch 2 (Balance Formative and Summative Assessment), and Ch 8 (Assessment with Personal Communications).


Delivering on the Promise


The model described in this book is used by the Reinventing Schools Coalition originating in Alaska that is being used by some schools in Maine. A key concept is voice and choice for students while having students learn at their levels. When they have shown mastery of a standard then they move on to the next standards.


Developing Teacher Leaders

Frank Crowther Jones
focused on how teacher leadership enhances school success. “Within every school there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership, which can be a strong catalyst for making change.  By using the energy of teacher leaders as agents of school change, the reform of public education will stand a better chance of building momentum” (Crowther2009).  This is such a powerful statement and so true in many different aspects of our teaching.  Crowther goes on and talks about parallel leadership, and turning over leadership to staff.                             


Educational Leadership

Dec 2007/Jan 2008. Vol 65 no.4

This is the magazine/Journal put out by ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).  Articles are written by and for administrators, researchers and practicing teachers.  This particular issue is dedicated to Assessment. The whole magazine is worth reading (it may take an hour). Two articles in particular seem relevant to the August work: "Self-Assessment with rubrics" and "The View from Somewhere."  This useful Magazine can be accessed online by title through the MARVEL! system available through almost all libraries, including school libraries in Maine. See 


Engaging Learners Through Artmaking: choice based art education in the classroom

Katherine M. Douglas and Diane B Jacquith

This dynamic resource details the philosophy, rationale, and implementation of choice-based authentic art education in elementary and middle schools. To do the work of artists, children need opportunities to behave, think, and perform as artists. The heart of this curriculum is to facilitate independent learning in studio centers designed to support student choices in subject matter and media. The authors address theory, instruction, assessment, and advocacy in a user-friendly format that includes color photos of classroom set-ups and student work, sample demonstrations, and reflections on activities.


Great Performances: creating classroom-Based Assessment Tasks

Larry Lewin and Betty Jean Shoemaker (ASCD)

The authors lead readers on their own personal journey, sharing what they’ve learned about developing and effectively assessing powerful performance tasks—ranging from short and specific to lengthy and substantive. Their focus is on the practical, the doable. You can learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. They discuss a four-step approach for teaching students how to acquire content knowledge and examine four modes through which students can make their content understanding explicit for evaluation purposed. Great Performances is filled with highly motivating examples of student projects as well as effective assessment tools that teachers can adapt for their own classrooms. Note: Examples in the book are for ELA (written, oral and presentation modes), Science, and Social Studies.

How To Grade For Learning; Linking Grades to Standards

Ken O'Connor 

I like this book because:

  • it talks about the importance of brain based research

  • it honors the multiple intelligences and provides assessment ideas for each

  • it educates the reader about standards - benefits and the criticism

  • One chapter, "Communicating Student Achievement to Others" shows several examples of report cards  and checklists for communication in all content areas and grade levels

  • it contrasts standards-based to traditional methods of grading



Bea McGarvey and Chuck Schwahn

Mass Customization Learning. Bea's website called Inevitable:


Learning by Doing; A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work

Richard and Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker and Thomas Many 

I like this book because I have seen past conversations about being a PLC.  We all want to work collaboratively for a common goal of students learning in the arts.  This book answers many questions we may have about our TL purpose and how to use what we already know and put it into action!  There are worksheets and charts that ask questions that will help us in our teams, schools and districts.  I have a CD that contains reproducibles that I will bring to the conference to share. This is a link to free info to PLC's.


Making Classroom Assessment Work

Ann Davies

In this book, Anne Davies presents a clear and easy-to-read description of assessment for learning that can serve as a practical guide for classroom teachers. She explains an assessment process where teachers and students establish learning targets, collect evidence of learning, and use criteria to give feedback. She also discusses how teachers can use this ongoing assessment to adjust their instruction and various ways to report student progress. 


Multiple Intelligence Approaches to Assessment; Solving the Assessment Conundrum

David Lazear 

I like this book because it gives assessment ideas for each of the 8 ways of knowing.  It also provides assorted assessment instruments that is easy see/adapt in order to link different content areas to the arts.  Although the copyright is dated 1999, I find this book incredibly useful when I create assessments for students.  It demonstrates benchmarks of authenticity and provides guidelines of designing intelligence based tests. 


The Music and Literacy Connection

Dee Hansen, Elaine Bernstorf and Gayle M. Stuber

An MENC publication, the focus of this book in on music education for preschool and early elementary students. There is a chapter that covers music assessment and includes sample tools for teachers to use.


Scale Your Way to Music Assessment: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Quality Music Program for K-12 Instrumental, Vocal and General Music

Paul Kimpton, Delwyn Harnisch

This book and CD-ROM describe in detail how to teach students to become not only accurate and consistent assessors of musical performance, but how to meaningfully self- and peer-assess and set goals for practicing and improving the performance of a group. 


Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom 
Judy Arter

This book offers a practical approach to assessing challenging but necessary performance tasks like creative writing, "real-world" research projects, and cooperative group activities.


Seven Strategies of Assessment 4 Learning


A brief, well-illustrated reference to seven strategies that weave in different combinations throughout the classroom assessment tapestry. I'd like to build the connections with arts and assessment based on these seven strategies which are embedded in these questions: Where am I going? Where am I now? What do I need to get there? 

Studio Thinking: the Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education

Lois Hetland, et al.

Thank you Project Zero researchers.  When I read this book two years ago I thought: at last someone has finally described what I do as an art educator and what really happens in visual arts classrooms!  This book offers a model that can be used to design curriculum and assessment in the arts called the "Studio thinking" model. The model  includes categories like: “develop craft” see  The book is not too long and really written for and about studio art teachers.  The last chapter, however, does describe ways the model might be adapted to work in all arts disciplines.  Since the book describes and categorizes what happens in Visual arts classes, it is a useful guide to start thinking about what we should even be assessing in the arts. Different forms of critiques are described that can be used for ongoing formative assessment.

The authors strongly advocate for the importance of arts education: see their op-ed which summarizes parts of the book, too:


Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12)

Doug Lemov and Norman Atkins

Teach Like a Champion offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.


Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56

Rafe Esquith

From the man whom The New York Times calls a genius and a saint comes a revelatory program for educating today s youth. In Teach Like Your Hair s on Fire!, Rafe Esquith reveals the techniques that have made him one of the most acclaimed educators of our time. The two mottoes in Esquith s classroom are Be Nice, Work Hard, and There Are No Shortcuts. His students voluntarily come to school at 6:30 in the morning and work until 5:00 in the afternoon. They learn to handle money responsibly, tackle algebra, and travel the country to study history. They pair Hamlet with rock and roll, and read the American classics. Teach Like Your Hair s on Fire! is a brilliant and inspiring road map for parents, teachers, and anyone who cares about the future success of our nation s children. 


Test Better, Teach Better: The Instructional Role of Assessment

W. James Popham (ASCD)
Assessment expert W. James Popham explores the links between assessment and instruction and provides a jargon-free look at classroom and large-scale test construction, interpretation, and application. This “crash course” in instructionally focused assessment includes:

  • The four types of instructional decisions that testing will illuminate

  • What you really need to know about measurement concepts like validity, reliability, and bias

  • The advantages and disadvantages of various test formats and experience-based rules for creating great items in each

  • The benefits of assessing student affect and guidelines for doing it in your classroom


Understanding By Design

Wiggins and McTighe

This is the backward design, essential question, unpacking standards, curriculum and lesson planning book.   It is required reading in many education courses both undergrad and grad.  The audience for the book is all teachers, admin’s, and curriculum coordinators. If you crave a “system” for teaching, learning, and assessment--this is a good one. If you ever wondered how to design curriculum, lessons, and assessment based around essential questions this book is for you.  The whole book is worth reading but it is long.  Start with the Introduction. For assessment specifics read chapter 7: Thinking like an Assessor  and Chapter 8 Criteria and Validity.  Other chapters like chapter 5 about essential questions  are also informative. Weakness: it is not geared specifically to the arts.Test Better, Teach Better: The Instructional Role of Assessment, W. James Popham (ASCD)Assessment expert W. James Popham explores the links between assessment and instruction and provides a jargon-free look at classroom and large-scale test construction, interpretation, and application. This “crash course” in instructionally focused assessment includes:

  • The four types of instructional decisions that testing will illuminate

  • What you really need to know about measurement concepts like validity, reliability, and bias

  • The advantages and disadvantages of various test formats and experience-based rules for creating great items in each

  • The benefits of assessing student affect and guidelines for doing it in your classroom


Whatever it Takes

Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, Karhanek

The main concept of this book is that the school is responsible for doing whatever It Takes to meet students needs.  The authors feel that professional learning communities are the key to enhance student success.  They also feel that the school should tap the resources that they have available from their staff, and that everyone should undertake the valuable job of teaching students.  They use a data research plan and focus on the challenges to systematic interventions for students.