Ring Elementary School Benefits From Kennedy Center Connection

Ring Elementary School third grader, Alexis Morales DeJesus, tries out his recycled materials musical instrument with Kennedy Center Visiting Artist, John Bertles.

“Good evening my name is Kate Kathman, and my name is Annie Johnson, and we are members of the Broadcasting Communications Club at C.C. Ring Elementary School. Tonight we bring you a special news report! This year, the third grade teachers at Ring School had an opportunity to participate in a wonderful partnership!”

Ring Elementary School fourth grader, Katie, and second grader, Annie, presented their “newscast” about the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education workshops at a recent Board of Education Meeting. The after school Broadcasting Communications Club became reporters and anchors to interview Ring teachers and students involved in the partnership, which includes Chautauqua Institution, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts and Chautauqua Lake Central School. The three-part professional development opportunity focused on integrating arts into the third through fifth grade curriculum.

Ring School was lucky to host three Kennedy Center artists in third grade classrooms for demonstration teaching on arts integration. Each artist met with Ring and Chautauqua Lake Central School teachers in a three-hour workshop in the evening, with each site hosting one workshop. The following day, the artists visited both schools to present an arts-related lesson to students in the classrooms. Teachers had an opportunity to also ask questions and talk about instruction after the classroom visit.

Randy Barron presented “Scientific Thought in Motion,” demonstrating how to teach scientific concepts using dance. At the teacher workshop, they created dances for the water cycle and for various vocabulary words dealing with the water cycle. With the students, Mr. Barron talked about the life cycle of a frog through dance, which fits in with the third grade curriculum. The third grade teachers are using his techniques when teaching vocabulary in ELA and science. The students love the opportunity to be creative, move around, and it helps them to remember the concepts.

The second artist, Kassie Misiewicz, presented “Developing Concentration and Cooperation Skills Through Drama.” She focused on three drama-based strategies to build students’ skills of concentration and cooperation. Ring teachers are incorporating her techniques into their morning meetings and students really liking the challenge of focusing on their partner and making them look good. Teachers have found that it works well to build relationships, instill calm, and has everyone actively involved.

“The future success of the children in our country is depends on their ability to be able to concentrate, collaborate and creatively problem-solve,” said Ms. Misiewicz. “Arts integration is the super food of strategies that meets students where they are, teaches to all modalities and engages the students in a deeper way than any other strategy that I have ever found.”

John Bertles showcased “Building Musical Instruments from Recycled Materials.” Ring third graders have a science sound unit making this presentation very relevant. Teachers explored how to guide their students in creating inexpensive musical instruments from recycled materials and used the instruments to make connections to literacy. Students built instruments from items such as straw, tin cans and fishing lines, all while learning the science behind how they work. They wrote and composed musical stories performed with the instruments. Students learned all about sound, how it is made and the various types of musical instruments along with how they create sound.

“It is thrilling to partner with Ring and Chautauqua Lake Elementary Schools to explore arts integration as a new approach to teaching and learning,” says Chautauqua Institution Vice President and Director of Programming Deborah Sunya Moore. “I am inspired by the positive response from teachers and their enthusiasm to offer new entry points to learning for students. The Institution is honored to be an arts education resource for area schools and I see this partnership as an essential part to nurturing learning through the arts.”

Ring Elementary School is very lucky to have had this incredible arts experience through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts Partners in Education Program, which has greatly benefited both students and their teachers. Ring is working with the partnership team to add two artists and workshops next school year that would offer something for teachers Grades K-2 and teachers Grades 6-8.