Over the past few months, students throughout St. Louis have been participating in COCAedu’s Interchange program that combines learning in the arts with learning in other subject areas. This is arts integration at its best! Students and teachers alike are reaping the benefits of arts integration and working from a STEAM framework in their classrooms. Here are highlights from some of our in-school residencies this past semester:
STEAM Residencies Take Field Trip to Sheldon
In January, students from seven elementary schools attended a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall and were immersed in musical excerpts reminiscent of what Lewis and Clark might have been hearing during their journey. Once the students returned to the classroom, they listened to a story chronicling the Lewis and Clark Expedition and drew out their path on maps. Then, they imagined they were in the past and seeing buffalo for the very first time. Students wrote journal entries describing this “unknown animal” they observed.
Continuing the Legacy Residency with Students at Barbara Jordan
Meanwhile, the 5th graders at Barbara Jordan were getting a history lesson on the African-American experience in the United States during their Continuing the Legacy residency. Teaching artist Peggy Neely-Harris led students in discussions about events spanning slavery, the Civil War, the Harlem Renaissance, and Jim Crow laws to present day issues like police brutality. Students attended the performance of Continuing the Legacy at COCA and reflected on their experience.
More STEAM Exploration in University City Elementary Schools
Fourth graders at Flynn Park and Pershing Elementary broke down the anatomy of a flower to learn about the pollination process and the insects and animals that pollinate different types of flowers. Roxane McWilliams, COCAedu teaching artist, had students use their bodies to create a physical representation of a flower for a given pollinator (bee, beetle, humming bird or butterfly). She then introduced a language arts component into the science-focused lesson. Students used figurative language to collaboratively compose journal entries describing their flowers.
Poetry Writing with Students at Old Bonhomme Elementary
At Old Bonhomme Elementary, COCAedu Teaching Artist Susan Grigsby inspired high-quality poems from students by walking them through a line-by-line poem building assignment. The students wrote poems based on a chosen piece of artwork and the results were impressive. Check out one of the students reading her poem aloud in the video below.
World Geography and Culture with Students at Mason Elementary
COCA partnered with Metro Theater Company to take 2nd grade students at Mason Elementary on the hunt to find out…Where in the World is Arya Arabella? Arya is the world’s worst thief. She steals everything: the Amazon River, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, even the Lucara Diamond (the 2nd largest diamond in the world)! Students “traveled” to countries all over the world to recover the stolen items and find the thief. Along the way, they learned about world geography and explored the culture and traditions of nations, including China, Australia, India, Brazil, Iraq, Albania, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, Jamaica, Burundi and Somalia.
Boeing Volunteers Participate in Arts Integration Residencies
Boeing volunteers have played an integral role in helping COCA carry out STEAM programming in 17 classrooms at seven elementary schools throughout St. Louis. Stay tuned for our next COCAedu blog post to hear about these arts integration residencies with Boeing volunteers. Students will focus their attention on space exploration and Mars, and even take a field trip to the Challenger Learning Center!
COCAedu Summer Institute
Are you an educator wanting to further explore how to you can integrate the arts in your classroom? The COCAedu Summer Institute (July 18–21) provides an excellent opportunity for educators to dive into arts integration. Click here to learn more!