Parents, Board Members, community members, business partners and more attended the January Colonial Community Coffee Hour to hear about how the Colonial School District is "Putting the 'A' in STEAM."
Colonial values the arts and encourages the study of art and music — but the arts are also a valuable creative tool as part of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) culture that can be found in all classrooms in the Colonial. The event included examples elementary, middle and high school.
PWHS Chamber Ensemble
The Chamber Ensemble from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) performed Yorkshire Ballad. Orchestra members spoke about how they enjoyed the challenge of playing music written specifically for that instrumentation, as well as how they're planning to enjoy playing with orchestras in the future after graduation.
PWHS Seniors Cole Walther and Sanya Kunicki spoke about the Film Appreciation class at the high school and presented an excerpt from a project-based lesson where teams of students created short horror films. The pair discussed how they analyze existing films in the class both from a narrative and technical standpoint and use what they learn to collaborate with their peers to create their own projects where every shot is meaningful.
CMS Science and Art Collaboration
Visitors who attended the Coffee Hour last year that focused on STEAM heard about a collaboration between Colonial Middle School (CMS) Art Teacher Traci Rovinsky and Science Teacher Kelly Wistreich to develop a lesson based on the art of Andy Goldsworthy. In his work, Goldsworthy used rocks and leaves and other things in nature to create patterns and then photograph them. The students went out to the wetlands behind Colonial Middle School to do a similar project and then returned to the area the next day make observations with a scientific lens.
The collaboration has continued. A second partnership brings the two teachers together in a project that touches on the work on regional artist Steve Tobin.
Close Reading using Music Lyrics
For the final part of the presentation, Whitemarsh Elementary School (WES) Teacher Jane Server brought six third grade students to help teach the attendees a lesson on close reading using the lyrics from Sara Bareilles's song Brave. The song was one of several that the children had analyzed during GAIN (Growth and Intervention Network) time, a half-hour time dedicated to remediation and enrichment at WES.
For the lesson, the parents and other adults watched an excerpt of the music video while using a visual organizer to make notes under "I Hear, I Think, I Wonder." Then they received a copy of the lyrics to read and analyze, where they were encouraged to make notes in the margins. In the end, the students also shared some of their favorite parts of the song and what their interpretations were.
Coffee with the Administration
After the presentation, attendees had time to chat over a cup of coffee and enjoy a slide show of work as a preview to the District Art Show that will open on April 5 at 7 p.m. on the first floor of the PWHS East Wing.