Fall '16 P2P: Planning Begins on Arts-Integrated UnitsFriday, October 21, 2016



“Today, we begin Year 3 of the (C3)2 project,” Laura Reeder, curriculum coordinator (below), told Grade 4 and 5 classroom teachers, teachers in special areas and teaching artists at the Fall 2016 Peer-to-Peer (P2P) meeting in October. The teachers and artists had gathered to begin planning their next arts integration project. Ms. Reeder said Year 3 would be “A Year of Creativity.” Teachers and artists will be building on their arts integration experiences of the previous year, becoming more competent and confident as they create and implement two new arts-integrated projects in their classrooms.


Creative Classroom Collaboratives


Next, Ms. Reeder introduced Napoleon Revels-Bey (below), a professional jazz musician who gives instrumental lessons as well as teaches programs about music’s influence on American and world heritage and history. Mr. Revels-Bey engaged the group in several activities. “Music is an opportunity for students to learn about different cultures and history,” stressed the artist. “Every culture has music. We can use music to help students appreciate the similarities and differences among people." 




Music also helps us understand the past. “Music styles reflect a changing world,” explained Mr. Revels-Rey. For example, the influx of new populations to places like Cuba and America caused an infusion of African and European beats into indigenous beats in those countries. Mr. Revels-Bey played different beats on his snare drum and then invited several teachers to accompany him on other percussion instruments.


The artist also asked a few teachers to read poems to beats.



Finally, the artist got the entire group on its feet to dance the Cha-Cha.



Afterwards, Ms. Reeder, the educator and the artists brainstormed the different ways we “talk” about music versus the things we can “do” with music. “We use music as a reference to talk about culture, acceptance and history,” she noted. “We can also talk about instruments and the orchestra.” By contrast, what we do with music engages the whole brain. “We listen, react, communicate, dance, improvise, connect, express,” she said.


The teachers and teaching artists then broke into school teams to begin planning their fall arts integration project. Once again, the artists will engage students in art projects designed to support the unit themes and encourage a deeper understanding. In addition, this fall the students will see a staged performance—either “Sticks and Stones,” a Pint Size Production about bullying and character building, or “Rock the Presidents,” Childsplay's musical about some the country’s notable Presidentsl.




A few school teams had time to sketch out their initial planning ideas in a PowerPoint to share with the other participants as well as take back to their schools to share with their colleagues who weren’t able to attend the P2P meeting. For example, Patchogue-Medford Grade 4 teachers presented a PowerPoint of their unit plan entitled Symbols and Qualities of Leadership in Native American Culture. The students will learn about Iroquois culture and its leaders, some of whom were women, with their classroom teacher and teaching artist Beth Giacummo. Ms. Giacummo will guide students in the creation of clay objects symbolizing Native American leadership symbols.


Patchogue-Medford Grade 5 teachers shared their early planning ideas for a unit that will also explore leadership attributes. However, they will be looking at the leadership qualities of American Presidents. The teacher will guide students as they researched a President. At the same time, teaching artist Dafna Soltes-Stein will explore theater skills that focus on the creative use of body postures and gestures, as well as vocal qualities, to express emotions. The artist and students will consider how emotional expression can be evoked through dialogue, lyrics, music and dance performance.




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