Posts Tagged 'Dallas ISD'

Celebrating Five Years of 4th Grade Visits

Today marks the first day of student tours for the 2011-2012 school year.  And with the new school year comes a new year of partnerships with schools and school districts from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  I am especially excited because it also marks the fifth year of our partnership with the Dallas Independent School District.  As a result of this relationship, every 4th grade student in Dallas ISD visits the museum for a docent-guided A Looking Journey tour.

DISD students wait to enter the DMA

It’s always gratifying to receive notes from teachers about their visits to the Museum.  Below are just a couple of quotes from DISD art teachers who visited the DMA last year with their students.

  • Please pass my appreciation on to your entire team and let them know that we are ever thankful for what you do so our students can experience art. I just really can’t fully express how grateful I am.  Going to the DMA is one of the biggest highlights of my students’ year!
  • I want to thank you for a very successful, enjoyable, and educational visit to the DMA for our 4th grade yearly visit this year.  It was the best visit and one in which all of the docents were well-informed, very well-prepared, and there for the groups.  My students couldn’t stop talking about the trip, and they want to return to the DMA.

Students explore the Lokapala in the Museum's Asian galleries

Since September 2007, we have welcomed over 45,000 DISD 4th graders to the Museum for docent-guided tours.  It’s crazy to think that the 4th graders who visited us in 2007 are in 8th grade this year!  I often wonder what sort of impact their DMA visit has had on them.  Have they visited the Museum again?  Do they still think about their favorite work of art from the DMA?

Docent Kelly Breazeale with students from Stonewall Jackson Elementary

All of us at the Dallas Museum of Art value our partnership with Dallas ISD, but it’s really the docents who benefit most from this relationship.  They’re the ones who get to spend each day in the galleries, experiencing works of art with these students.  And in a time when budget cuts and questions about the importance of the arts in education are in the headlines, all of the docents are thrilled that Dallas ISD values our partnership enough to ensure that these visits continue to happen.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Back to School: Student and Teacher Programs By the Numbers

Even though it’s still warm outside, it seems like fall now that school has started. Those of us in the Teaching Programs and Partnerships department spent our summer vacation getting ready for the 2011-2012 school year. We were busy planning for tours, Go van Gogh outreach programs, and teacher workshops that relate to the DMA’s collection, as well as our upcoming special exhibitions. We thought it might be fun to share with you a “by-the-numbers” look at the different programs we offer for students and teachers.

66,661—Number of K-12 students from the DFW Metroplex who had a DMA experience (museum visit, Go van Gogh program, or special partnership) during the 2010-2011 school year

51,166Number of views accumulated thus far since launching the DMA Educator Blog in September 2009

Museum Visits

48,327—Number of K-12 students who received a docent-guided or self-guided tour of the DMA in 2010-2011

3,917—Number of higher education students who visited the DMA for a tour during the 2010-2011 school year

12,568—Number of Dallas ISD 4th graders who will visit the DMA this year for docent-guided tours

34—Weeks available to schedule a tour for your students

119—Number of docents who will give tours during the 2011-2012 school year

24—Number of Teen Docents who volunteered at the DMA this past summer

Go van Gogh Classroom Outreach

8,236 – Number of students in Dallas who experienced a Go van Gogh program in 2010-2011

32 – Go van Gogh visits to Dallas Public Libraries during summer 2011

128 – Days available to schedule Go van Gogh visits during 2011-2012

10Satellite and Site-Specific Go van Gogh programs in 2011-2012, including schools in Richardson, McKinney, and Waxahachie

40 – Number of Go van Gogh volunteers in 2011-2012

14,779 – Miles on the Go van Gogh van

Programs for Teachers

34Number of online teaching material units available FREE on the DMA website

578 – Number of teachers who participated in professional development sessions at the DMA during summer 2011

3.5Number of CPE credit hours teachers will receive for attending one of seven teacher workshops this year

$5Price of admission (half off) for teachers attending the September 16 Late Night

1 – Number of nights each week that teachers receive free admission. Show your school ID between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday nights and gaze at art free!

$40Price of a teacher membership, which provides free admission and parking for you as well as discounts on shopping, dining, and attending teacher workshops!

All of our programs will officially begin the week of September 19, and we are currently accepting reservations for the 2011-2012 school year.  We look forward to welcoming you and your students to the Museum soon!

Shannon Karol is the Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching.

Community Connection: The Best of Both Worlds

It is just me, or is anyone else shocked that we are already in the second week of August?  As we look forward to the 2010-2011 school year, it only makes sense to feature a classroom teacher in our monthly Community Connection blog post.  Meet Michelle Alcala, who begins her fifth year as art teacher at Salazar Elementary School in Dallas ISD.

Michelle and her children

What are some ways you’ve worked with the DMA?

I began by bringing my students here for visits.  My 4th-graders come every year and really enjoy the experience.  Another teacher and I started Saturday programs with our students, and we bring a group of fifteen to twenty students from all grade levels and their families to the Museum once a month. 

Last year, I was invited to create artwork with students for the Art Ball, the DMA’s annual black-tie fundraiser event.  My students were so excited to see their work in a real museum setting, which is unbelievable for an elementary school student.  They brought their families to see their work and dressed up; the pride they had was great.

I’m also a part of the teacher panel and am hoping my insights help with the new online resources for teachers.  Before, I did not use the DMA online teaching materials very often, and I’m hoping my contribution will help art teachers and other teachers.  [Michelle is part of a select group of teachers collaborating with Museum education staff on an IMLS grant focused on redesigning the DMA’s online teaching materials.]

How has your work with the DMA affected your approach to teaching?

I’m always trying to find things that I can tell my students about that will help them make connections to the Museum and encourage them to visit with their families.

Do you consider yourself an artist?  What are your creative outlets?

Initially, I intended to go to art school.  I ended up having children and realized they were more my passion than becoming an artist.  I tried to find the best of both worlds, and that’s when I came up with teaching art.  I still sketch and paint sometimes, but not in the volume that I used to before I started teaching.  I also love to read.

How do you spend your summer months?

I spend my summers with my children at my home in Oak Cliff.  We play and read and go to the zoo and go to museums and as many different free things as we can find.  We just got back from a trip to Florida and Disney World.  I also went to Chicago with my mother.  It was wonderful.  I visited the Art Institute and went on a tour of the new wing.  It was just incredible, seeing so many pieces of art. 

What do you most look forward to in the 2010-2011 school year?

To my new art lessons, both my own that I’ve created and ideas from the DMA.  I also look forward to seeing the kids again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen all of their little faces, and I’m ready to get back into it.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Found It!

Back in November, I shared some photos from a project inspired by Dorothea Tanning’s Pincushion to Serve as Fetish.  This project is part of a new afterschool program we are developing in partnership with Thriving Minds at Dallas ISD schools.  At the time, I was testing the program with 4th-5th graders at Conner Elementary School.  I am currently working with Shawna Bateman at Twain Elementary School and Daniel Hall at Long Middle School, who are leading the program with their students.  In the process, I have learned a great deal from their experiences, insights, and feedback regarding the program.
Below are images of projects inspired by Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake.  Through these projects, students learn about artists who use found objects as materials for their art.  Found objects are natural or man-made objects found (or sometimes bought) by an artist that are treated as a work of art just the way they are, used for inspiration, and/or used as materials for works of art.
First, the students chose several items from the collection of found objects provided by the instructor.

An array of found objects to choose from

Next, students selected materials that helped them connect their objects.

Materials for connecting found objects

One student created a time machine with cardboard, plastic beads, an old tv antenna, and other assorted items.

Time Machine

 Another student created a sculpture park with a lint roller handle, cell phone, bubble wrap, and paper towel roll.

The Sculpture Park

Saline solution bottles, foam tubing, a belt, and a pipe cleaner were combined to make binoculars.


 Students will see Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake firsthand when they visit the DMA at the end of their program.

Dallas Snake by Mark Handforth

The Fourth Graders are Coming!

Three years ago, we embarked on a partnership with the Dallas Independent School District  and Dallas ArtsPartners to provide every 4th grader in the district with a docent-guided visit to the Dallas Museum of Art.  Over the past two years, we have welcomed over 22,000 DISD 4th graders to the DMA for “A Looking Journey” tours.  This week marks the start of these visits for the 2009-2010 school year.

I had the chance to tour with a group of fifteen 4th graders from John Reagan Elementary on Tuesday.  They were bright, observant, and enthusiastic—and I think every person in my group participated in our dialogue in the galleries.  I always set up the idea of taking a journey at the beginning of my tour, and these students really got into it.  As we moved from one work of art to the next, they imagined we were on an airplane flying from New York to Africa and Egypt and then on to Europe.  At one point, I even heard train noises coming from behind me!    


4th Grade Students in the Galleries

I have been looking forward to the start of these visits since July (when I first scheduled these tours), and I was downstairs on Tuesday when the first DISD students arrived at the Museum.  It was such fun to hear their wonder and amazement as they walked through the doors and saw our Barrel Vault for the first time.  Some of my favorite gallery experiences have happened with DISD 4th graders, and I can’t wait to see what adventures the next year holds.

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator


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