How to Grow Engagement and Empowerment Through Learning That Matters

Session 1 – September 30, 2023

Presenters:  Jason Blair and Fred Burton

Why do we go to school? How might school impact the world we all want to live in?   This workshop is designed to dig into these questions and provide practical ways to create the conditions for deep, meaningful learning in any classroom setting.  It will show teachers, principals, and support staff how to create a culture of thinking in their classrooms and schools.

Learning Targets:

  • Effective ways teachers can deepen student learning through reexamining the nature of student and teacher talk
  • An introduction to “thinking routines” that can be immediately used in the classroom with students (and staff)
  • How to make learning that “sticks” through experiences with depth and imagination
  • Weave these outcomes together to develop the creative and civic capacities that empower student agency.

Resources for September 30th Session:

About the Session Presenters:

Jason Blair
Elementary Art Teacher & Creativity Specialist, Abraham Depp Elementary School; teacher-in-residence, Columbus Museum of Art

Jason Blair believes the creativity of our children will change the world. A 19-year veteran arts educator, every day he steps into his arts studio, he learns from the creative geniuses he teaches. He believes to empower students to tap into their creative capacities, educators must nurture their own growth as creative change agents. To empower creativity in his students, Blair believes the educator must be the classroom creativity whisperer, building a community in which creativity is valued and being different is not just safe, but celebrated. Jason received his MA in art education from The Ohio State University. Currently, he teaches elementary art at Abraham Depp Elementary School in Dublin, Ohio. He is also a teacher-in-residence with the Columbus Museum of Art and an Assistant Director on the Cultivating Creative and Civic Capacities project in collaboration with the Columbus Museum of Art and Project Zero.

Fred Burton
Associate professor of education at Ashland University; former principal of Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School in Upper Arlington, Ohio

The core of Dr. Fred Burton’s 44 years as an educator has been progressive education. For 13 years he was the principal of Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School, a public school in Upper Arlington, Ohio. He is currently an associate professor of education at Ashland University and a long time faculty member at Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom summer institute. His favorite educational experiences include: studying at the Mountain View Center with the late physicist and progressive educator David Hawkins; studying at the Reggio Emilia Institute in Italy; and co-editing a book and producing a DVD on Making Learning Visible with Harvard Project Zero faculty. He is especially proud to have been a Visiting Education Scholar for the Center of Creativity at the Columbus Museum of Art for several years. He works with various school districts (e.g. Dublin, Olentangy, Upper Arlington, and Bexley) on how teachers and schools can take what they are already doing well and promote a “culture of thinking” to help students and staff to think more deeply. Although he has published various articles and given talks on what he has learned about the integrated curriculum and school culture, he believes his experience as a guitarist in a “classic rock” jam band has taught him a great deal about the value of group learning and improvisation in education. It’s also gotten him a lot of free food and drinks.



Questions? Contact:
Debra FitzGibbons
Kristi North
2023 Jennings Educators Institute Program-Coordinators
Otterbein University
1 South Grove St.
Westerville, OH 43081