Arts Integration Update @ Wildwood

We wanted to let you know about the work we are doing at Wildwood around the Arts Integration Initiative, specifically the arts block for 5th and 6th graders. Vince, Jake and I are collaborating with one another and with all fifth and sixth graders to create a Lunar New Year Celebration for all of Wildwood. Students elected to be either in the art studio to help build the dragon, in the music room to build and learn how to play Taiko drums, or in the PE program to learn umbrella/flamingo and dragon dancing and how to move the giant dragon puppet through the school.

Sculptor BZ Reily and I wrote a grant which we were awarded through Mass Cultural Council, for BZ to come in to the studio and help us build the dragon, which by the way will be about 25 feet long when it is done. Her techniques come directly out of Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont.

A big thank you goes out to the parent volunteers who have been in to help with sewing and construction.

The parade will take place at Wildwood on Friday, February 27th. All students throughout the school are learning about and exploring East Asian arts in the studio, and are building noisemakers for the parade, to shake and rattle when the dragon goes by, in order to scare away evil spirits and invite good luck. Our kindergarteners will lead the parade as the Lion Dancers.

One of our big goals is to promote leadership and community building through the arts, as well as cross-cultural appreciation. It has been a wonderful experience so far. We are thrilled to see our older students have a choice as to where to put their creative energy, and the opportunity to mix classes and work collaboratively. New friendships have formed, and creative energy and excitement are palpable.

We on the arts team are delighted to have the opportunity to create a collaborative integrated arts experience for and with our students.

Julie Rivera, art teacher
Jake Brownell, music teacher
Vince Barnes, physical education teacher

Article first published on the Learning In ARPS Blog

Learning in ARPS is a district blog that features important news and events, and answers questions posed by the community about the Amherst, Pelham and Regional Public Schools. Visit the blog at:

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