Schools and Projects

Townline Elementary School, Chicago IL
Teacher & School Effectiveness
Collaborative Development & Teaching of Instructional Lessons (by Teachers....and by Students!)
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Collaborative Analysis of Student Work (by Teachers....and by Students!)
Advanced Arts Integration
Funding & Expenditures
Differentiated Instruction - for students lacking background knowledge or prerequisite skills
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Recent Developments

Fall 2014 - Hawthorn Schools are exploring a system/school-wide initiative involving an Instructional Unit - Concept = Connections....  Masterwork = The Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Unit - Teacher Guide

FEB 1, 2013

Arts Integration On-Line Meeting Notes 1/1/13

-Customizing and differentiating interests by grade level units
-Weaving in Character Ed and Artful Learning
-Incorporating Artful Learning into units we are currently creating that align to common core
-Currently working on ELA standards and would like to include artful learning in our school improvement goal
-Idea of incorporating other subjects into ELA/Writing
-Example of human paragraphs in writing meshed with math (fractions) so two subjects are able to be focused on at once
-What we are currently working on:
First Grade: Wants to expand units and put newness into the units. Wants to broaden the use of artful learning through ELA, Listening and Speaking, and Reading Informational Text. Also interested in older grades working with them (buddies) as happened in the past.
Second Grade: Many social studies and science units are already incorporated with Berstein. Would like to incorporate more artful learning in with reading (Helen Keller) as well as math (explaining your steps and your thinking).
Third Grade: Many social studies and science units are incorporated. We could use more artful learning in reading/novel studies. Storyboards for younger and older students. 6 panel storyboard for older grades using drawing, identifying the story structure with character, setting, conflicts, problems, resolution, reflection. Helps teach students to analyze the story.
Fourth Grade: Has good foundation for science/social studies but needs artful learning emphasis in reading and writing responses to what the students are reading. Need a sense of direction of where to go in terms on incorporating Bernstein into novel studies and reading responses. Suggestion of tableaus.
Fifth Grade: Difficulty getting a grasp on the basics of fifth grade. Have units in place for Bernstein, mainly science and social studies, trying to get the students working with more informational text. Learning about the importance of showing evidence when reading different texts. Critical analysis is a major emphasis in the common core and it is a complex task to teach. Using the arts to help memorize the multiplication facts, such as the song “Gagnam Style” song to help memorize skip counting and memorizing multiplication facts. Need to foundational mastery of these facts in order to move forward. Students are able to learn these facts in a short period of time if they are intrinsically motivated to learn dance moves along with these facts. The buddies between kindergarten and fifth grade has been very beneficial in the past. Also the idea of having the students teach the new teachers artful learning strategies.
Kindergarten: Would like more artful learning integration into ELA. Barb shared that she has experience with character counts, however not training with artful learning. The training can be differentiated professional development no matter how much background a teacher has with artful learning in the past. During the training, it would allow kindergarten to just focus on kindergarten. Training can be customized.
P.E.- With 5th grade, working on body systems unit. Would like to incorporate more artful learning with this unit. Adding in an anti-drug and character element into this unit. Suggestion of an across-grade-levels focus, such as systems, where each grade level would focus on a different system. This emphasis helps teach advanced concepts at a younger age and across many grade levels. Systems can also be tied into ELA, writing, and math at each grade level. Connecting systems across the curriculum so it can be used in each classroom. Students are excited by connecting topics from the classroom into P.E.
Music: Emphasizing listening and speaking. Working closely with fourth grade, and connecting conductors, speakers, etc. in music with branches of government in fourth grade. They are working on a project where students are studying fractions in relation to the value of music notes. This is also aligned to a fourth grade math unit. The audience, speakers, etc. also ties into common rules of listening to others and character.

Next Steps: Future webinar, pairing of 4th/5th to 1st grade for writing, discussion of correlation between reading and writing, establishing rubrics and using it to help first graders as they are learning the editing steps (older grades learned the rubric and younger grades received substantial help from the older grades), Dick is willing to step in with each grade level to individually support units and observe classrooms/do demonstrations.
Mimi Batson
1st Grade Teacher
Townline Elementary School


Jan 11, 2013
Mimi Batson phone conversation.
Other possible teacher leaders for participation - Brenda Blue 1st, Dawn Roth 5th, Alice Grub Music, and ??
Tentative priority #1 - Explore ways to support extension of lengthy involvement with Arts Integration (Bernstein Artful Learning) with a greater emphasis in Language Arts & Math.  Currently most teachers emphasize the 'lower fruit' of arts integration in Social Studies and Science, perhaps...
Tentative priority #2 - Also there is a school-wide priority on 'relationships' - especially respect.  They have initiated 'Bucket Filling' 
Recent past:  a few years ago Mimi did a brief, very successful, pilot of Academic Service Learning with 5th graders teaching 1st graders how to apply a writing rubric to their Thanksgiving writing.  This yielded some instructive video showing 100% engagement of both grades, in pairs.  Mimi, in thanking the 5th graders had a leadership Ah Ha as she pointed out that without the 5th grade partners many of her class would have had to wait with their hands up or at her desk to get past a small obstacle in order to continue their work.  Instead all kept moving ahead for the entire time.  5th graders learned the writing rubric to a more practical level.  It was a missed opportunity that we did not have both groups prepare and then reflect on how to 'forge and maintain high quality human relationships' through the conscious demonstration of RESPECT
NEXT:  Conference call with Principal - Dr. Victoria Kieffer, Principal  during the week of Jan 14 - Mimi will arrange specifics
Initial suggestions:  explore re-building a common language for both arts integration (ArtsNow )  and character development (Character Education Partnership ) and through   Perhaps consider arts integration (VISUAL ARTS / oragami / math fractions) and character development (Academic Service Learning / RESPECT) by inviting 4th grade reading buddies to teach 1st graders how to fold a pentagon from a square, and this time prep students about showing RESPECT and building good relationships and reflect on this after the class.   see:

UPDATE:  Include discussion of Beginning / Middle / End and 6 - panel storyboard with DRAWING

Planning for 2013-2014 School Year

We would like your services strictly for unit development.  Unit development is our top priority to extend our artful learning.  We have a plan in place for how this would look over three visits.
Increasing level of rigor which goes along with deeper understanding of depth of knowledge tasks and assessment.... Our teachers are working towards moving away from Level 1 tasks and questioning to increase Level 2 and 3.

Although teachers have ramped up the amount of writing, this needs to continue especially in the area of critical analysis/response and research.

Our LOP (special education self contained), IEP and ELL students are not making enough typical or even expected progress.   This is a huge area although our numbers of LOP, IEP  and ELL students are quite low compared to other schools but are still important. 

Making Units Work - Learning Focused Schools (Rubric p46)

Illinois 'Rising Star' School Improvement Plan

"Gain an understanding of research and evidence-based
school indicators of effective practices"

Considerations: Units:
1 - Trail of Tears w/ 2 paintings (Marzano #1 Compare & Contrast)
Parallel for Illinois might be the Great Chicago
2 - Also, from Hong Kong - Ecosystem using ESOL, Science & Character Education ' Opportunity for Moral Action' ASL

Townline School Website

Townline History with Bernstein Artful Learning, and listing of School-wide units

Mimi Batson School Phone 847-990-4928.
Cell 847 917 0580, H 847 918 1984 

Grade-Level Considerations:  (Perhaps Skype to discuss?)

What specific ELA standards for your grade-level are both very important and somewhat difficult to teach?

What sort of critical thinking skills do you see as particularly important for your grade-level - (Inductive/deductive, summarizing, framing questions,  systems thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration, moral reasoning,  communication, innovation, imagination, observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation.....other?

What character traits do you consider most important to develop in your students - for the traits themselves and/or as important to creating and maintaining a favorable learning environment?

In what ways do you activate students to teach other students or to serve as learning resources for other students?  Is this important to your students?

Are there existing Bernstein Units in SS or Science for your grade-level, which you would like to strengthen with ELA standards?

 What big concepts have you already used to guide instruction for your students?  What 'Essential' Questions have worked the best for you?

Considering the Bernstein Faculty Skill Survey, what areas could you teach, what areas would you like to learn more about?

Are there specific sub-populations for which you would like to develop arts-based accommodations or extensions (ELL, SWD, Gifted, other?)



Consider.... Advanced Arts Integration


GIST Strategy: 'Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area' from Read/Write/Think

GIST Template from: Read/Write/Think

Kennedy Center 'ArtsEdge' Sample Lesson

Kennedy Center - Arts Integration and Language Arts

Project Zero & Lincoln Center Institute (Aesthetic Education and The Development of Imagination)

Critical Thinking & Literacy

Good Questions to Stimulate several different types of 'Deeper Thinking'

Adapt Past Townline School-Wide Units (see end of this Webpage)

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