Three Arts Nights, featuring performances by local teachers and young students, were held recently by Arts Integration Menomonie to complete the inaugural year of the Co-Teaching In and Through the Arts program.
The Arts Nights, held at the Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts, showcased examples of arts-integrated lessons taught this spring as part of the Menomonie school district’s curriculum.
CITA pairs early childhood educators with professional teaching artists to deliver standards-based curricula through art-infused lessons. CITA included birth through third-grade students in five Menomonie schools, 15 teachers and eight UW-Stout education majors.
AIM is a grant-funded collaborative program with UW-Stout, the Menomonie school district and the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.
The first Arts Night featured UW-Stout Child and Family Center students, who worked with storyteller Kris Winter beginning in January. Highlighting some of their favorite lessons, students in Marcia Wolf’s class re-created “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” and Rachel Stuart’s version of “Dog’s Colorful Day.” Winter and UW-Stout’s Allison Feller portrayed the characters Mama Earth and Sister Sunshine.
Students learned about types of weather through storytelling and songs.
Winter, a CITA teaching artist, also worked with the River Heights kindergarten team at the second Arts Night. With teachers Det Bossany, Deana Gorecki and Tanya Staatz each playing leading roles, kindergartners re-enacted the classic children’s story “Caps for Sale.”
“Integrating the arts brings student engagement to a whole new level. I feel the opportunities are endless,” Staatz said.
Also featured was the 4-K classroom from Little Sprouts Academy led by Rochelle Kroening. Performing songs about numbers and spelling as well as African chants, Kroening drummed and sang with her students alongside teaching artists Babatunde Lea, percussionist, and Yata Peinovich, guitarist.
The final Arts Night featured the Wakanda kindergarten team, which spent the year working with circus arts teaching artist Kobi Shaw. Mary Begley’s class presented their original version of “The Gingerbread Man in the North Pole”; Jeanne Styczinski’s class used circus spinning plates to show how the Earth orbits the sun; and Niki King’s class wrote and performed a play about the life cycle of a plant.
Oaklawn third-grade teachers Lisa Mayer, Cindy Paulson and Elizabeth Schuster spent the year working with theatre arts teaching artist Melissa Kneeland. Their students wrote and performed their own fractured fairy tales, which they researched to create appropriate scenery, costumes and sound effects.
Begley said that “being part of AIM has deepened my conviction to using the arts while teaching. Thank you for a fantastic year.”
CITA, as well as other arts integration programs, will continue next year through AIM.
Top: River Heights kindergarten teachers and students present “Caps for Sale” with teacher Det Bossany as Mama Monkey, UW-Stout student Chelsea Kuchinski as Abraham Lincoln and teacher Tanya Staatz as the Peddler. Recent UW-Stout graduate Beau Janke plays the banjo.
Middle: Teacher Marcia Wolf, of the UW-Stout Child and Family Study Center, plays the guitar as Old McDonald while teaching artist Kris Winter uses a sheep puppet to act out “Old MacDonald had a Farm.”
Bottom: Jeanne Styczinski’s Wakanda kindergarten class uses circus spinning plates to show how the Earth orbits the sun during an AIM Arts Night at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.