Reserve a group professional development workshop for your team.

In addition to public educator workshops at the museum throughout the year, we also offer professional development workshop opportunities for groups of educators.

Professional development workshops are FREE to educators who live in or teach at schools in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb counties.  Private workshops are available for K-12 teachers of all subjects, curriculum specialists, school administrators, or groups of homeschool educators. For teachers at schools outside those counties, the base per-participant fee for workshops is $10 per hour.  Michigan State Continuing Education Clock Hour (SCECH) credits are provided by Marygrove College and may be offered for educator workshops of three or more hours with at least 6 weeks’ notice.

Contact Information
School Information
Group Participants Information
Please indicate subject areas for all educators participating in the workshop. If your group includes non-classroom teachers, please specify: Administrator/Principal, Resource Room Teacher, Instructional Coach/Specialist, Librarian, Other
Workshop Topics
Please review workshop topics

The Visual Thinking Strategies is a research-based method that uses art to facilitate open-ended discussions. 

VTS helps students make their thinking visible and:

  • Builds skills in deep looking and interpretation
  • Provides evidence for their observations
  • Promotes active listening
  • Supports student-to-student discourse

VTS helps teachers:

  • Provide a safe environment for classroom discourse and embrace differing points of view
  • Support student literacy in viewing, speaking, and listening
  • Build students’ academic vocabulary
  • Remain neutral when asking and responding to open-ended questions
  • Use art as a resource to stimulate student thinking in all subjects

The DIA has been working with VTS for over 10 years and offers three different workshops to educators:

  • What's Going On In This Picture?: Introduction to Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)
    • A half-day workshop that introduces educators to the basics of the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS).  Participants will leave having experienced VTS discussions from a student’s perspective and understanding a basic overview of the theory behind the process.  3 hours, 15 minutes.  3 SCECH credits available.

  • Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) Full Day Workshop

    • A full day (5-hour) workshop that gives educators a deeper dive into the Visual Thinking Strategies.  Ideal for smaller groups. Some participants will have the opportunity to try facilitating discussions and will receive coaching from DIA staff.

  • Higher Thinking Skills: Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) Multi-Day Workshop with Coaching

    • This workshop is recommended for schools or districts looking to train all participants as VTS facilitators.  Participants in this in-depth, two to three-day course will gain an understanding of the research and strategies that are the foundation of the VTS method and will come away from the workshop with the ability to use this technique to confidently facilitate discussions about art with their students. All educators who participate in the three-day workshop will be provided with age-appropriate images from the DIA’s collection to use for discussions in their classroom and will have access to continued support and coaching in VTS techniques from DIA staff.

    • 11-15 hours (5 hours of instructional time each day), includes lunch breaks.(14 SCECH credits available for three-day option only.) Note: this workshop can be spread over the course of the school year and does not need to be scheduled on consecutive days.

Collaborate with DIA educators to design self-guided materials and pre-and post-visit activities aligned with your curriculum and student outcomes.  The DIA’s collections include art and artifacts across time and place, helping students see how art reveals historical, cultural, political, material, national, and personal perspectives and identity.  Interpretive materials in the galleries like maps and gallery summary panels provide resources for students to connect with “big ideas” in curriculum.

Learn effective ways to organize and present art projects and materials that will facilitate classroom management, inspire students, and increase depth of engagement. This workshop will introduce two simple open-ended, hands-on art making projects using stimulating and easily accessible materials that can be implemented in the classroom. Teachers will learn ways to motivate creative ideas, encourage exploration, and sustain engagement in their students’ art-making experience.

Project Options: (choose one or two)

  • Open Ended Book-Making: Participants will choose from a wide variety of papers and other materials, and then use their own process to achieve an end result that is personal and meaningful. This project is open-ended and solicits a multitude of creative results.

  • Milk Painting: Participants will create a narrative-based painting using colored chalks and cloth that has been soaked in milk.  Oil pastels will also be offered to allow for additions and revisions.

  • Printmaking: Relief Prints: Participants will use water soluble inks & foam plates to create multiple prints that will be transferred onto paper.  This process will allow for revisions/additions.

  • Printmaking: Sandpaper Monoprints: Participants will use wax crayons and sandpaper to create unique one-of-a-kind prints that they will transfer onto fabric.

  • Palette Paper Painting: Participants will use acrylic paints and the workable surface of palette paper to plan, revise and re-work a painting motivated by their personal experience, exploring rich color mixing and layering in the process.

  • Clay Masks: Participants will be motivated by discussion of facial expressions and create a clay mask with simple tools and ceramic underglazes.  (Masks will be fired and picked up at a later date.)

Please note that due to the nature of the art-making projects presented, this workshop is recommended for teachers of Grade 3 and up.  3-5 SCECH credits available. 

We also offer custom workshops designed to meet your learning outcomes.Please call Jenny Angell at 313-833-9178 or e-mail for assistance designing a custom professional development workshop for your group.Please note custom workshops require at least 4 weeks’ lead time.

Designed to familiarize groups with the DIA’s offerings for students and teachers, this option allows educators to get firsthand knowledge of the tour types that are offered to students and make connections to how this can support the learning in their classroom or school on either a guided or self-guided experience.The experience includes an hour-long tour of the museum followed by a debrief discussion and overview of learning resources facilitated by DIA Education Programs staff.

The DIA can provide free meeting space for up to 50 educators from Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb counties in our Learning Center.  When scheduling a hosted meeting at the DIA, please include 90 minutes in the meeting agenda for DIA staff to provide an overview of current education programs.  This typically includes an hour-long tour of the museum followed by a debrief discussion, allowing educators to get firsthand knowledge of the tour types that are offered to students on guided field trip experiences and make connections to how this can support the learning in their classroom or school.  (At least 4 weeks’ notice is required and additional costs can be involved for catering.)

Preferred Date and Time
Please give three possible dates for your workshop request. We will do our best to fill your request as listed. You will be contacted as soon as possible upon receipt of application if we are not able to meet your stated request. Please note that workshops must be scheduled at least 4 weeks in advance. The DIA's regular hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Fridays, & 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. THE MUSEUM IS CLOSED MONDAYS.
Please indicate preferred start and end times based on the workshop selected and account for any breaks, if needed.
Additional Notes
Please call Jenny Angell at 313-833-9178 or e-mail