Career REadiness at Murdock
Wearing scrubs and white lab coats, stethoscopes dangling from their necks, Murdock Elementary School third-graders welcomed their kindergarten patients into their classroom-turned medical clinic. The student doctors and nurses listened to their patients’ heartbeats, checked their vital signs, and evaluated the patients’ symptoms.
Based on their diagnosis, some patients required x-rays and a leg brace. Others were simply prescribed medicine.
The Murdock clinic is part of the Mustang Market, which is Murdock Elementary School’s way of transforming the traditional career day model into a complete career immersion experience.
Down the hall from the clinic, third-graders helped their kindergarten peers hammer nails in the Home Depot shop. In another area of the Market, first graders demonstrated their marketing skills as they pitched their donut creations to the kindergarten townspeople.
The smell of waffles wafting down the hall marketed the next place on the youngsters’ tour of the mock Murdock community. Wearing the easily-recognizable Waffle House hats, first graders took down the orders of their student patrons. Then the waiters bustled around the tables serving waffles and water to their hungry customers.
Whether they visited the medical clinic, Home Depot or Waffle House, the kindergarteners had to pay for the services and goods they received from their older peer “career professionals”. Just as they will do one day in the future, these young leaders had to submit resumes for the jobs they held in the Mustang Market.
Murdock teachers and parents are excited about the way the Mustang Market gets kids excited about future careers and their roles in the community, but they are not the only ones. Members of the Georgia Department of Education has also taken notice.
“Murdock Elementary School’s Mustang Market is a comprehensive career development event that actively teaches students job expectations, how to complete a job application, how to interview for a job, and how to execute job tasks. Once students are taught valuable work ethic skills they apply their knowledge by working various career stations at Mustang Market. Mustang Market elevates career development and aligns perfectly with the goals of whole child development and student readiness,” said Dawn Mann, the Project Director of Career Counseling and Guidance for the Georgia State of Education Department.
According to Mann, Murdock’s program supports GaDOE’s goal of providing quality career education for all students enrolled in Georgia public schools.
Murdock’s Market may be a glimpse of the future.
Social Emotional Learning at Murdock
Social Emotional learning is the process through which children acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. At Murdock, counselors use innovative approaches to support the students through individual support, small groups, and core curriculum. One strategy, arts integration, supports the social, emotional, and educational growth of students. Students use music, arts, dance, and drama to explore topics such as, cooperation, collaboration, empathy, friendships, social/emotional regulation, self control, and many other ASCA Mindset and Behaviors that students learn. Hers is a wonderful article that shows the insights our counseling team has gained from using arts integration with our students.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS THROUGH ARTS INTEGRATIONBy Sheila Garth|November 10th, 2016I started Arts Integration for about a year and a half ago. I quickly “got comfortable with being uncomfortable” as I stumbled through the details of dance, delighted in the excitement of music, inquired the compositions of visual art, and plunged headfirst into the elements of drama. When beginning this journey, I knew that students would love the process, love to create, love to explore. This was no surprise to me … as humans, we all have emotional connections to one type of art form or another. I also knew that I would love creating innovative, thought-provoking, and interactive lessons. I make sure that there are social and emotional connections.
From my educational background in School Counseling, I also knew that Arts Integration would be an outlet for students who did not want to communicate orally. Teaching as a special education teacher for nine years prior to becoming a school counselor, I knew that the arts were an effective resource for students with Learning Disabilities, Autism, and ADHD. I felt as though I had predicted all of the positive outcomes of using Arts Integration within the classroom…. I was wrong!
My Surprising Insights1. If you integrate academic standards along with art and counseling standards, classroom teachers may be more willing to give you more time in their classroom for your lessons. I began my negotiation for a more instructional class time by creating a social studies lesson that had fourth-grade content standards on the topic of the Revolutionary War. The assignment entailed analyzing three paintings depicting scenes from the Revolutionary War. Using Feldman’s Model, students discussed and analyzed the historical events and people depicted in the paintings (content standards), the way that color, lines, and symbols were used in the paintings (art standards) and considering multiple perspectives (counseling standards).
I presented my lesson to the fourth-grade teachers, asking for 15 more minutes of instruction for this specific lesson, and it worked. Since then, I have created more “Trifecta Lessons” for other grade content areas. Seeing that I am invested in their standards, as well as my own, has helped me build more collaborative and positive relationships with my educator colleagues at my school.
2. The students are excited to come to class!Each time they see me, they inquire about what activity we are going to do next. During my lessons prior to implementing Arts Integration, most of my activities included a social skills book, discussions, and a written reflection page or a group activity that was occasionally arts enhanced. Although they appreciated the break from “traditional instruction”, I do not think they were fully invested in my lessons until they became arts integrated.
3. I love seeing my vision come to fruition when the students work on the assignments.I especially love when students give me insights to connections they made, give me feedback on how to make a lesson better, or allow me to see a part of their lives they may not have otherwise shard. Creating arts integrated lessons is truly a growing process for me as a counselor. I am getting better at recognizing the possible social and emotional connections that can come out of the lessons that I create, which allows me to teach practical social and emotional coping strategies to my students.
4. The way social and emotional connections come to life.The social and emotional connections and passions that students have when doing an arts integration activity in a social setting (group project), will manifest itself into real life social situations that I will be privy to in the present moment. When students are working together, there is often a hierarchy of roles that manifest itself (who is a leader vs. follower). With arts integration, I see more opportunities to mediate social and emotional connections and conflicts more often than while teaching non-arts integrated group work. More students struggle to relinquish control of parts of the project, get upset if the product is not what they had anticipated or feel left out of activity decisions.
This gives me the opportunity to talk to them while the conflicts are happening, thus helping them problem solve at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, more often the outcome is a beautiful synergy of creating and exploring, and at the end, the students are so excited, so happy with what they have created… you can see the pride on their faces. These positive social situations create comradery and friendship better than any social skills story can. The reason for the positive and negative emotive reactions is simple to me: their arts-integrated experiences are on the Self Actualization level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Making ConnectionsMaslow- it’s a name that every school counselor is well versed in. His Hierarchy of Needs was presented to us in Psych 101 or intro to School Counseling, however, he has had more of a profound impact on my continued journey into Arts Integration than I ever could have imagined. He has allowed me to reflect on the application of my lessons in relation to the cognitive, psychological, and emotional needs of my students.
If we evaluate our roles as supporting emotional, and physical health in education (school counselors and social workers), social workers primarily focus on basic and safety needs of students, making sure that they are fed and in a safe environment.
School counselors focus primarily on social and esteem needs, helping students communicate and problem solve in a social and emotional connection context. But what about self-actualization? How often are we as counselors able to put students in positions to really practice the social skills we teach them? How often do we allow students to create and problem solve to the point that they are not only intellectually engaged but also emotionally engaged?
Prior to using arts integration in my own lessons: rarely. Now, I am an inspired teacher again. I love the fact that I myself can reach the top (self-actualization) on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by fulfilling my own need of being content, creative, and engaged when making innovative, fun, and interactive lessons that I get to share with my students.
The Products of the Process (Created Lessons)Third Grade Active ListeningStudents learned about Alexander Calder, a famous artist. His art consists of mainly primary colors and shapes. Students worked on active listening to recreate one of his works. Visual aids were provided for differentiation as needed.
Differentiated Visuals for Students that Might Struggle with Auditory Comprehension
Gluing part of the coloring, cutting, and gluing directions
Second Grade FeelingsStudents were given a list of fifteen feeling words at each table and they individually had to look at visual images(photographs, paintings, drawings, etc) and decide how the person/people/ animal in the images was feeling. They used clothespins to select the feelings they felt were being expressed in the image. Using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), we had discussions about why they thought the image projected a specific emotion.
Clothespins to identify feelings
An example of an image used for reflection
ConclusionArts integration can make an impact in so many ways, but one of the less-explored options is with social and emotional connections. It’s my hope that these examples will help to spark your own ideas for ways to connect with students at a deeper level. It is becoming more and more important to find ways to ensure that our students feel valued and safe to express their ideas. Arts integration can be a great pathway for this kind of learning!
Murdock Elementary's school counseling program focuses on academics of all students. By May 2019, 3rd grade students who performed Basic or Below Basic on the RI for Fall 2018 increased by 60 lexile points from the pre to post assessment as measured by the Reading Inventory by 20% from 302 points to 362 points. We did this through the use of Growth Mindset classroom core curriculum and small group intervention.
By May 2019, 2nd grade students who performed in the top 10% on the Fall 2018 RI increased 84 lexile points from the pre to post assessment as measured by the RI by 10% from 837 to 921 points. We used The Zones of Regulation small group curriculum. A special emphasis will be placed on students with a 504 for anxiety and ADHD.
Through a targeted intervention program we looked at struggling populations on the Georgia Milestone and we increased the amount of fourth and fifth grade students in the proficient category of mathematics based on the Georgia Milestone assessment results by 26% by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. (Moving 5 out of 19 students from developing to proficient)
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