Teachers Learn How To Integrate Arts Into the Classroom

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West Lauderdale Elementary School's gym was packed on Thursday, but not with students. Instead about 70 teachers from all grades and subjects from all over Mississippi came to learn how they can bring the four disciplines of art: visual, music, art, and dance into their classrooms no matter what they teach. Whole Schools Initiative Director for the Mississippi Arts Commission, Jodie Engle, says that Thursday's meeting focused on bringing two seemingly unrelated subjects together.

"There are over 70 teachers and principals here, and teaching artists learning how to integrate common core state standards in math using visual arts."

Audrey Thompson, a second grade inclusion teacher at West Lauderdale, helped create a lesson to bring visual arts into math classes that the teachers in attendance worked on with several West Lauderdale students. She believes that tying art and math together will help children learn better.

"It gives the children hands-on experience that they need to better understand, and do that digging deeper in the common core standards that we're teaching now in Mississippi."

One of the teachers in attendance, Shannon Thomas, an interventionist at Meridian's Northwest Middle School is new to the Whole School Initiative concept. She decided to learn more about these new standards since her students have different learning styles.

"It's great for the students because we have all different types of students, and they're different, so we're learning how to use different learning styles."

The next retreat is scheduled for July 15th through 18th at the MSU Riley Center.