Studio to School

E-Journal Reflection #7

“River Celebration: Connection” Video

The entire community of Sisters Elementary School, all students and staff, stand as one for the “River Celebration, Connection” to honor the work done on Whychus Creek and their newly installed, fish art installation. -Photo by Todd Moen

The entire community of Sisters Elementary School stand as one for the “River Celebration, Connection” to honor the work done on Whychus Creek and their newly installed, fish art installation.
-Photo by Todd Moen

E-Journal Assignment #7
The Studio to School initiative continues to be a comprehensive effort in changing the culture of the schools in arts education, k-8 in Sisters. Programming is growing throughout the schools and professional development opportunities and buy-in from teachers is expanding. Curriculum is being infused into core content areas where appropriate, and we learn of new developments each time our core team meets. We have received progress reports throughout the year and end of year summaries, and amidst seemingly constant change, we are planning with administration and teachers for year 3 and beyond. We will include a few highlights below.

SES Visual Arts:
For visual art classes at Sisters Elementary School, we have had a banner year. Karen Williams, our teaching artist has fully assimilated into the culture of the school and every student k-4 has learned fundamentals of art. From elements and principles, (including: texture, balance, color, mixing, space, line, shape, symmetry, value, balance, depth, etc…) to studying artists (Paul Klee, Chuck Close, Todd Parr, Jean Michele Basquait, Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Giacometti, and many others…) and culture, students have experienced real-life expression and had many opportunities with various mediums.


Students at SES working on the "River Celebration: Connection artist residency with Laura Campbell.

Students at SES working on the “River Celebration: Connection” artist residency with Laura Campbell.

Students walk along the fish art installation on the Sisters Elementary School fence.

Students walk along the fish art installation on the Sisters Elementary School fence.

The most public of our programming was the artist residency “River Celebration: Connection” with local artist, Laura Campbell. The community-wide “River Celebration” art installation included over 1000 pieces, and over 600 people contributing to a scene of the Three Sisters Mountains, with fish, smolt, eggs, boulders, and water shapes along the elementary school fence that lines Hwy. 20, and is adjacent to the school playground. It honors the Deschutes Watershed and helps students recognize the importance of the river and the critical impact it has on the ecology, geology, habitat and bio-diversity of Sisters Country. The residency culminated in a community event with our partners showcasing the great work being done in the Deschutes River Watershed and on Whychus Creek. We tied the residency in with our My Own Two Hands community fundraiser and hosted a parade in part to celebrate the installation.

General Music and Keyboard lab at SMS

Students working in the General Music and Keyboard Lab at SMS

General Music and Keyboard Lab:
In the keyboard lab at Sisters Middle School, 5th grade students experience piano keyboard skills, learn to read music, and study music history and appreciation to build passion in furthering their own musical expression. Students studied different styles of music, including jazz, blues, rock and roll, and classical, as well as composers and different time periods. By having opportunities to develop a musical language and vocabulary, as well as to better understand music history and theory, we believe all kids will prosper in their artistic and academic pursuits. Instructor Julie Cash also uses storyboard drawing and the visual arts to explore emotion within the music, and teaches students with the intent of providing academic connections to math, language arts, composition and self-expression.

Year-End Reflection written by Julie Cash
The school district partnership with the Sisters Folk Festival and their facilitation of the OCF grant is positively impacting music programming in our schools. The opportunity to implement 5th Grade General Music with a Keyboard Lab will show benefits as the students move forward in their music education. Students now have the opportunity to begin to understand the language of music prior to being placed in a performing class (Band or Choir). This knowledge better prepares them to make the choice when the time comes. The use of the Keyboard Lab to help teach music basics gives the students a hands on tool to explore that knowledge more fully than would use of recorders or other such methods at it opens their eyes to the full spectrum of the grand staff­ treble and bass clef­ and demonstrates pitch relation and intervals in a very visual manner.

Additionally, exposure to the timeline of music history and listening to and discussing music from specific periods shows students how music reflects and influences cultural timbres and shifts. At the same time it opens ears to the possibilities of different musical styles than they may otherwise experience in day to day life. The language and study of music provides a platform for individuals to work with one another in the team setting of an ensemble. It helps develop lifelong skills of individual growth through practice and shows how individual growth, perseverance and cooperation benefit the larger whole of the ensemble.
Meetings through the grant with a group of creative, determined individuals has sparked vision of the possibilities for arts education in our district. We have opened the door to greater communication K­8 which spreads to the high school as well.

Daily classes are assembled from the following menu:
I saw students on a three-day rotation wheel. This being the first year of the General Music/Keyboard Lab I implemented quite a deal of curriculum adaptation and flexibility due to the schedule. Plans for more involved projects were simplified and I chose to go further in depth on more basic material.

Key Components:
Keyboard practice
Solfege singing
Listening/Music History
Basic music language skills
Rhythmic Fluency/Awareness

Project/Unit Highlights:
Basic music language skills:
Beginning Composition: Using a pre­defined rhythm, students constructed a melody in the
Key of “C”.
Chord Progressions: Using Duplo style “manipulatives” to explore chord structure and inversions
Musical Math: Addition and Subtraction problems using note and rest values
Bass & Treble Clef Sentences: Creating and reading sentences including words comprised of the musical alphabet (A B C D E F G) The bird in the cage

Rhythmic Fluency/Awareness and Expression:
Blues Improvisation: Students drew a topic from a cup and improvised a sung or rapped song over a basic blues chord progression. Topics included­ cheese, celery, snow, football, dogs, the beach, etc.

Listening/Music History: Romantic Period
Nutcracker Arts Integration, Listen and Draw: Students created a character and assembles a storyboard in real time while listening to movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Classical through Modern Periods
“Music Workshop” Video Series: We used the “Genre Series” series this year which was useful in conjunction with broader study of the music history timeline. It was a series that gave the students a brief taste of many styles and artists in multiple music genres. Videos include a brief origin of genre piece, significant artists, reflective listening examples and sections on instruments most common to genre. This has been a valuable opportunity and partnership.

Teachers receive professional development training in istopmotion for digital storytelling and animation.

Teachers receive professional development training in istopmotion for digital storytelling and animation.

iPad Technology Lab: (see “media” for links)
The ipad lab for digital storytelling continues to be a successful step into integrating technology. Students’ projects are being wrapped up as we speak and they have enjoyed the tech side of digital animation, and the long-awaited art of storytelling.

By using Garage Band, students have written songs to teach multiplication facts and turned nursery rhymes into poetic rap songs. Through the i-stop motion app, students wrote original, animated short stories and summarized novels they read.

Year-End Reflection written by Wes Estvold
Our school has been solely a PC/Chromebook school, so we had some early issues with getting the iPads set up. The learning curve was very steep, however. I was able to develop various ways of getting content off the iPad. This was very challenging as not all iPad apps employ the same system to enable them to be shared on Google Drive. When the fifth graders entered the middle school in the Fall, they knew how to open apps and play games. However, I quickly realized that they were missing many key technological skills: creating original content on the iPads; logging in; organizing files; creating documents or presentations. The fifth graders definitely did not know how to put any content they created on the iPads into an area where it could be shared with classmates, teachers or their families.

Examples of student curriculum projects:
Presentation App: Adobe Slate
Garage Band Projects: Nursery Rhyme Rap and Times Table Rap
istopmotion app
See examples and links on additional information provided in “media”, including ways ipad lab was used for integration in Core Subject Areas.

Students work with teacher Kit Stafford in Arts Integration

Students work with teacher Kit Stafford in Arts Integration

Arts Integration:
In arts integration, Kit Stafford has worked with numerous classrooms, groups of students, and teachers throughout the year. She has collaborated with 5th and 6th grade teachers to create art projects to connect with their social studies curriculum.
Another example of arts integration in core academics is Karen Heigel’s 8th grade Algebra class, making parabolic curves in a number of different patterns with needle and thread. Kit introduced the concept through examples from the Greek Olympics, fireworks in China and cannonball fire during the Civil War, tying cultural and historical elements into artistic expression. Students learned sewing vocabulary and practiced techniques to aid their progress for a clean composition. The finished work was displayed in the school library showcases. Ms. Heigel followed up with algebraic formulas and worksheets, as well as a reflection piece about the process.

Ms. Stafford also worked with the 8th grade Environmental Expedition class “ECOS”, creating Mandalas tied to cartography and topographical maps for personal perspective through art. Each student drew silhouettes of the Cascades while observing from Dee Wright Memorial on the Santiam Pass. Next they drew individual mandalas following a series of prompts and information about mandalas from various cultures around the world. Formation of ice cream cones to represent particular mountains in the Cascade Range topped off this study.

Kit has also created opportunities for students to go on field trips to the Edward Curtis photo exhibition on Native Americans, and “Whale song, Environmental Impact on Whales” to witness a detailed presentation about how noise pollution through off-shore drilling and ocean freight routes is harming humpback whales. She then incorporated a printmaking workshop for both of these experiences at the Bend art studio, Atelier 6000.
See examples on additional information provided in “media” about projects conducted by Kit Stafford in Arts Integration.

The continued evaluation work being done will provide greater insight and a deeper understanding of student reflection and achievement. As we get these results compiled, we will have them for better understanding of student’ learning and understanding and our effectiveness in programming, and tying those to our goals and outcomes.

Teachers at SES in a Theater Arts professional development workshop

Teachers at SES in a Theater Arts professional development workshop

The S2S grant has also provided opportunities for guest artists, artist residencies, and professional development. We are conducting a “Storyline Workshop” in Sisters in July 2016 for up to 25 teachers to begin to implement the Scottish teaching methodology and incorporating arts integration into curriculum being planned year 3 at SES and SMS.  We have also successfully offered after-school guitar and ukulele clubs for middle school students, and are planning to offer an Americana-based strings program in year 3.

SFF Guest artists perform as part of S2S for SMS students... a highlight was "Kingfish" Ingram playing electric guitar with his teeth.

SFF Guest artists perform as part of S2S for SMS students… a highlight was “Kingfish” Ingram playing electric guitar with his teeth.

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