Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an evidence-based discussion facilitation method beloved by educators across the globe. Classroom teachers use VTS to build every student’s critical thinking, evidentiary reasoning, and literacy skills through student-driven discussion of visual art. VTS enhances any existing curriculum and gets students curious, motivated, and confident in their own voices and abilities. Many multi-year studies of the impact of VTS have been gathered over the last two decades. Some have focused primarily on aesthetic development, visual literacy, and critical thinking skills (supported observations, elaboration, speculation, flexible thinking, etc.), while others have looked more closely at effects on academic skills. Studies continually find that both short-term and year-after-year participation in VTS discussions results in dramatic increases in literacy and thinking skills, and the studies that have explored the connection between VTS and academics have found significant positive impacts on academic skills and standardized test scores.
Participants who fully participate in workshop will receive 2-day, hands-on training with two VTS trainers, online access to “VTS Basics with Philip Yenawine” and personal copy of “Visual Thinking Strategies – Using Art to Deepen Learning Across School Disciplines” by Philip Yenawine.

Creating Winter Stories in Pictures and Words

This workshop is a continuation of the Time of Day and Weather. Prior participation in Time of Day and Weather is required.
This two-day, remote workshop series will introduce the Picturing Writing Winter Story Unit of Study. Using quality picture books as mentor texts and simple crayon resist-based art techniques, this unit of study teaches narrative writing in a way that is concrete and engaging. Participants will learn a variety of simple art techniques for creating snow and ice. They will also learn how to use quality literature and storyboards to help students develop a solid storyline that addresses all the key elements of a good story in both pictures and words, how to frontload key vocabulary, and how to use the accordion folder as an instructional tool. Participants will experience how to make their pictures come alive through the use of “silver dollar words.” Facilitated using an Artists/Writers Workshop model, this narrative unit can be easily integrated across the curriculum. Participants will meet virtually from 8:00am – 12:00pm, June 17-18.
Taking the introductory Picturing Writing workshop is recommended prior to taking this workshop.

Introduction to Picturing Writing – Time of Day and Weather

Through experiential learning, this remote workshop will introduce Picturing Writing: Fostering Literacy Through Art, an innovative, evidence-based approach to literacy learning that uses quality picture books and simple crayon resist-based art techniques to teach the art of writing. This unique multimodal approach has demonstrated its ability to engage a wide range of learners. Facilitated using an Artists/Writers Workshop model, Picturing Writing can be easily integrated across the curriculum and aligned with grade-level English Language Arts and Science Standards. While this introductory workshop will focus on patterns and cycles in the sky, changing seasons, and weather, these art-based writing methods can be applied to many areas of the curriculum. During this hands-on workshop, participants will experience this innovative process for themselves as they learn how to transform their diverse learners into strong writers and enthusiastic readers. The writing genres addressed in this workshop series will include descriptive writing, poetry, reflective/opinion writing, and new to this introductory workshop: informational text. Teachers will also be shown examples of a variety of integrated curriculum units of study created using the Artists/Writers Workshop model. This three day (June 14-16), virtual workshop will start each day at 8:00am ending at 12:00pm. First time participants receive a box of instructional materials valued at $220. Past
participants may take this workshop as a “refresher” at the reduced rate of $20.
Teacher Reflections: