The makeSPACE blog


Meet Denise

Committed to bringing out the best in all of her students, Denise uses both personal experience and accumulated knowledge to bring her classes to life.

Meet our teacher partners

Denise Velasco teaches typical middle school courses at Network Charter School, like math and health, as well as more unusual courses, such as a course on zombies. Denise is committed to bringing out the best in students.

Regardless of their perspectives, when students come into one of her classes, they all come out with a different perspective on life. Denise shares her past experiences to highlight what she teaches in each class.

Denise felt intimidated by art and creativity before she began arts integration training in the ArtCore project. During the ArtCore project, Denise took huge steps outside her comfort zone to reach her students in new ways. She modeled risk-taking as a priority in her teaching. She sought to establish conditions for creative engagement for all her students, especially those who felt unsure about engaging in creative risks. She engaged integration strategies with theater, music and visual arts. She brought the Math Anxiety Monster project to her students and learned a great deal about how to shape a classroom environment that was supportive to all her students and conducive to powerful learning (you can learn more about that work here).

Since that experience, Denise has continued to refine her approach using past integrated lessons and projects, taking risks with new ideas, and growing as an artist of pedagogy.

Denise sets conditions for creative engagement by:
• Using reflection on social and emotional experiences in learning (math anxiety)
• Emphasizing the process in creative engagement and learning
• Modeling how to take risks in learning
• Discovering new possibilities from mistakes
• Creating shared vulnerability through group discussion

Key Creative Resources:
• Growth mindset and risk-taking
• Adaptive to changing circumstances
• Open-minded to new experiences
• Integrative thinker
• Humorous

Denise Velasco

Contact Us

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the current grant opportunity or about the makeSPACE project.