Goshen uses arts to teach Common Core standards (PHOTO GALLERY)Published 8:10pm Friday, April 11, 2014
Goshen Elementary was applauded for its efforts to actively use the arts as a means to engage students in their Common Core curriculum. The Alabama Arts Council also commended the school for its enthusiasm in bringing a new, comprehensive arts education program to students.
These accolades came with a $19,400 grant.
“This grant will benefit more than 500 kids,” said arts teacher Lisa Powell.
The funds will be used for the school’s blossoming arts program, which includes band, art and drama.
Goshen’s arts program is two years old. It was fueled with a small budget and donations and has grown with the help of Troy University’s arts department, community support and the enthusiasm of students and teachers.
Students buy their own recorders and learn music to advance in their “recorder karate.” Like karate, students advance from one belt color to the next as they master a new song. Instead of bulky old belts, students proudly display colorful tassels at the end of their recorders.
During morning announcements, Principal Wanda Corley encourages students by reading off the names of those who have earned a new belt.
“They are so proud when they hear their names,” she said. “They love being rewarded for what they learn in here. They don’t even know they’re learning. They’re having fun.”
Pride is one of the many benefits the staff has witnessed.
“What I’ve seen is if they struggle in the academic area, then they get a chance to express their feelings in here,” said Powell. “It helps these kids to shine.”
Powell alternates days for music lessons and days for art projects. This grant will afford her the opportunity to include drama in the mix.
Part of the program’s success has been its marriage to the required common core curriculum. Powell plans her lessons around what students are studying. When one grade is practicing multiplication, she teaches them a multiplication song they can sing to themselves when studying it.
Since this week’s math lessons were an introduction to simple geometry, one of Powell’s lessons involved creating art with nothing but squares and rectangles.
“They have most recently worked on Common Core vocabulary,” Corley said. “Their vocabulary words were verbs and they had to draw verbs, write sentences and define the vocabulary. So, she is helping teachers through art.”
The grant will cover supplies and training for teachers. Powell and four Goshen teachers will attend an arts workshop about how to incorporate more of the arts into school curriculum. One will study dance, another drama. By the end of the workshop, Goshen will have a visual arts expert and a band aficionado, too.
The teachers will come back and teach the rest of the school staff the same skills.
Powell and Corley said this grant came along at just the right time.
“We knew we needed this thing to make this program what she and I envisioned it to be,” said Corley.