Art collaboration between Northwestern, Washington Elementary proves to be successful

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Art collaboration between Northwestern, Washington Elementary proves to be successful

May 2, 2012

 Early Bird Program
Teacher candidates from Northwestern Oklahoma State University worked with Roxann Clark, instructor of education, and Tracie Leeper, principal, at Washington Elementary School to incorporate an art program.  Northwestern students provided art projects to kindergarten and first grade students on topics of color, line, texture, form and shape.

The Early Bird Art Program, a collaboration between Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Division of Education and Washington Early Childhood Center (WECC), began this semester with the intention to give teacher candidates authentic field experience while providing an art program, not otherwise available, to students at WECC.

Kindergarten students attended Early Bird Art classes Mondays and Tuesdays; while first grade students attended art classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The program began for students each morning at 7:50 a.m. and ended at 8:20 a.m. when the class bell rang. Students choose to attend and chose which art station they wished to work.

An elementary art show is scheduled for Friday, May 4, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Graceful Arts Center in downtown Alva. The community is invited.

Roxann Clark, instructor of education, has been working with WECC to complete her educational leadership internship for a principal certification. While working with Tracie Leeper, Washington Elementary School principal, they discussed the possibility of a joint effort to give teacher candidates authentic field experience while providing an art program.

Because of this conversation, the Early Bird Program was born.

“I appreciate Mrs. Leeper and Alva Public Schools with their willingness to collaborate, which benefits our teacher candidates and Alva’s students,” Dr. Bo Hannaford, Division of Education chair, said.

Clark teaches Early Childhood Assessment and Evaluation, which has a field experience component. Candidates create a unit of instruction with assessments and then teach and assess their unit in an early childhood classroom to develop an understanding of how assessments drive instruction. Typically, candidates make arrangements with area schools to complete this field experience, teaching whichever subject unit the cooperating teacher requests the candidate to teach. Candidates create and teach lessons; design appropriate assessments; collect data; and then analyze the data and their experience. This is often the first classroom teaching experience early childhood majors have before they student teach.

Due to the collaboration with WECC, candidates now create developmentally appropriate art lessons and design corresponding assessments using Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards. Over the course of five weeks candidates presented their lessons, conducted assessments and collected data for their final report.

Each lesson topic (color, line, texture, form and shape) is presented for one week. Teacher candidates collect materials, set up tables, arrange materials and guide students at five different art stations. Following class they clean up, put away materials and prepare for the next day’s lessons.

“Many positive elements are derived from this collaboration,” Clark said. “Teacher candidates engaged in authentic, teaching experiences under the supervision of the instructor; WECC is able to offer an art program with minimal expense; WECC students have an opportunity to learn the basics of art while having fun creating original works of art; and Northwestern is able to give back to a school district that has been so supportive of our teacher candidates through the years.”

Currently considered a pilot program, the Early Bird Art Program is being evaluated for possible long-term implementation.

“We are very excited about the collaboration among our faculty, teacher candidates and Washington Elementary School,” Hannaford said. “This opportunity for the art program allows our teacher candidates to get hands on clinical experience earlier in the process and, in addition, establishes an art program for the children of Alva.”