BSU COLLABORATIVE- Central Collaborative School for Arts Integration

The Collaborative Project began with the desire on the part of the Central Staff to improve instruction and student motivation at Central Elementary School. They wrote and received a significant Grant from the Getty Institute that gave the school money to train teachers to integrate art into their academic curriculum. The program is entitled Different Ways of Knowing (DWOK). In the process of learning about arts integration, they realized the need for a smaller student – teacher ratio. One of the ways to achieve this goal was to set up collaboration with Bemidji State University’s Profession Education Department. The Collaborative effort began in the winter of 2004. The methods classes at BSU integrated their courses to meet in a block format that freed up the time for students to experience a half-day practicum twice a week for an entire semester. Each classroom teacher welcomes 2 to 3 practicum students into their classroom for assistance and modeling every Semester.

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The experience has been invaluable for the students at Bemidji State in addition to the wonderful support that the teachers are experiencing in the classroom when they can depend on the extra hands in training. The BSU faculty along with the Central Staff work together to orient the students, provide special events and assess the program. The Math Methods course prepares an even called the Math Extravaganza which takes place on the Bemidji State Campus. Every student has the opportunity to participate in math activities planned by the BSU students. The Language Arts III course is currently preparing a farm day to celebrate curriculum integration around the theme of Food Land and People. Every Central Student will be invited to the “farm” set up on their playground. They will see newly born animals and participate in activities around where food and materials comes from. The exchanges of resources both human and monetary have worked toward enriching both the lives of the Central students, staff as well as the Bemidji State students, and staff. We believe this model useful for other schools and we welcome anyone who is interested in more information to contact us.mcarlson@bemidjistate.edu