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Newsletter - March 6, 2012

Training Dates:



March 9-10, 2012

VTS Practicum

Washington, DC 


April 12-13, 2012

VTS Practicum

Portland, OR


April 20-21, 2012
VTS Practicum
Los Angeles, CA 


April 27-28, 2012

VTS Practicum

Worcester, MA


June 7-8, 2012

VTS Practicum

Eugene, OR

August 28-31, 2012

Advanced Practicum

Seattle, WA   


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VTS on TeacherTube       

by Jeff Williamson
Principal, Old Adobe School

"Kids can, from very early, decode, or find meaning-in, images that they could never understand if it were a text."  Philip Yenawine, co-founder of VTS gives us these words in a short video which introduces us to the world of VTS through the eyes of children, teachers, museum leaders, and superintendents.

What we see in this video is that all of these people gain an appreciation of visual art and develop strong critical thinking skills as they join in a facilitated dialog. 

Conversations as deep as those created within the VTS structure rarely happen in life, and VTS brings the gift of deep dialog combined with critical thinking to our students.

These conversations are a gift we give to our schools as teachers learn the power of listening to their students, and students are allowed to speak and actively listen to each other.  All of this leads to higher levels of understanding for everyone in the conversation.

Principal Rosemary Harmon tells us VTS helps children put into words, what their eyes see.  Using the incredible strength of visual perception, VTS lessons help us slow the world down and involve our students in putting their language and thinking skills to work using the sense they rely on the most: sight.

VTS also helps teachers rediscover why they became involved in education to begin with: To help students grow as they discover the world around them and learn to be part of a learning community.  Tracy McClure, a teacher at Old Adobe, tells us, "[VTS] has allowed me to go back to my heart in teaching, to what I believe in."

Video is a tool that can be used to improve the culture and learning in any school.  To make this short film, I used a JVS hard drive camcorder and Windows Movie Maker software -- just make sure you have at least 20GB of space.  Windows Movie Maker is included with any Windows computer, or use iMovie on your Mac.  There are tutorials on using the camcorder and Movie Maker on YouTube.  Anyone can make a movie like this with basic computer skills and a little patience.  Any teenager can help you.

In our school, video is used to share ideas for instruction, take tours of each others' classrooms, and to watch each other at work.  We watch and discuss video clips in staff meetings, as we learn specific teaching models, or work on programs such as our writing program. 

Most importantly, video is a way for us to share our successes.  This acknowledges the excellent work going on in our classrooms while motivating us to learn from each other.