The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Lupton Renaissance Fund Update

Scott Rosenow reads as teachers bring the story to life.

Leah Coop gets a reaction as she reads a story to her group .

S aterra Dixson (right) pantomimes with her partner.


SCEA Brings the Arts to Educators

To the delight of her colleagues, East Lake Elementary School teacher Saterra Dixson recently pantomimed the story If You Give a Pig a Pancake during an Arts Integration in the Elementary Classroom Workshop at Battle Elementary School. The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA), a nationally recognized professional development institute located at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, held the workshop.

“As a student, I was not taught in an arts integrated fashion; the arts were not brought into instruction at all. Since we all know everyone learns differently, this approach includes different learning styles. You read about integrating the arts in books, but to actually experience it in the classroom makes a tremendous difference,” Dixson said.

Since 1988, SCEA has been helping administrators, arts specialists, classroom teachers, artists, and parents understand the nature of art, dance, music and theatre as they discover exciting ways to integrate the arts throughout the curriculum. Innovative research and programs in comprehensive arts education and school reform have enabled elementary and secondary schools educators from across the nation to establish the arts as vital components in the basic education of all students. In recognition of this successful integrated approach to the arts, SCEA, under the direction of Kim Wheetley, Lyndhurst Chair of Excellence in Arts Education, was the recipient of the 2003 Tennessee Governor's Arts Leadership Award.

Current SCEA work is focused on exploring, assessing, and documenting ways in which ongoing professional development, multi-arts education, and arts integration can enhance learning and transform schools.

“We have 62 participants from nine Hamilton County schools including Battle Academy, Big Ridge Elementary, Boyd-Buchanan School, Chattanooga Christian, East Lake Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Ooltewah Elementary, Thrasher Elementary, White Oak Elementary. Other teams are from Louisiana, Georgia,and Covington, Tennessee,” Wheetley said.

As the teachers in the workshop used theatre techniques to tell a story, they were learning ways to incorporate the arts into social studies and language arts.

“Specifically, the teachers were demonstrating story sequence and how it is often based on cause and effect. Earlier they were presented with story objects, and they explored ways to create a story from the objects, using the objects as props. Later they used pantomime in teams, and then they investigated insertions to the story, or additions to the story,” Scott Rosenow, Theatre Director for SCEA, said.

Rosenow explained to the teachers that creativity is required when the group extended the story, and if members got stuck, they asked for help. Similarly, instead of helping each child individually, group problem-solving is a valuable tool for the teachers and students.

Teachers also created a string story, using bookmark-sized paper. With few words, they drew a series of events, fashioned after a cartooning story board. “These can be attached to a piece of yarn, and hung on the classroom wall or students can take them home to hang,” Rosenow said.

First grade teacher Leah Coop from Covington Integrated Art Academy in Covington, Tenn. enjoyed her learning experience.

“It’s awesome. I teach first grade, so as I learn new techniques, I am thinking of ways to incorporate these ideas. For instance, as I teach beginning and ending sounds of words we can use objects in a story, matching pictures with words. These ideas are exciting because they are hands-on learning techniques,” Coop said.

For more information about the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts and upcoming workshops, please email Kim Wheetley or call (423) 425-5204.