Art Education Students Attend Wisconsin Art Education Association Conference

MARCH 10TH 2017

In October AIM sponsored 15 UW-Stout Art Education students to attend the Wisconsin Art Education Association (WAEA) conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  The theme of the two day conference was “Bold and Bright,” with many hands-on workshops and presentations.  As UW-Stout Art Education student Matt Massimo explains, the conference “brings together Art Educators from across Wisconsin to share their knowledge and their love for teaching art with each other.”  

 Photo: UW-Stout Art Education students Aidan Manley, Emery Kuehn, and Ellen Scharfenberg with Keynote speaker, Cassie Stevens.

 Photo: UW-Stout Art Education students Aidan Manley, Emery Kuehn, and Ellen Scharfenberg with Keynote speaker, Cassie Stevens.

Each of the 15 UW Stout Art Education students attended approximately 10 different sessions as well as a keynote presentation by art teacher Cassie Stevens.  In reflecting on the conference, Matt Massimo said, “These sessions greatly expanded my art teaching knowledge, giving me lesson plans I could use in the future and an idea of how I will want to teach my students. I now have ideas for my own classroom that I probably would never have discovered without going to this conference. I know I have a long way to go before I am ready to teach my own class but I feel so much more prepared for the journey to become an art teacher and once I am one.“

According to Art Education student Ellen Scharfenberg, a portion of the WAEA Conference sessions focused on integrating technology into the classroom, including using QR codes, Google drive, and the cloud.  Such technologies are examples of how to “support teaching and cater to the 21st century learners that I will have someday,” said Schartenberg.  Having a concentration in a graphic design, technology is “very important to me because I believe it is going to, and already has, impacted the students that I will have. They will need to know how it works, how to use it and how to make art and create with it.”

Art Education student Megan Becker said she came away from the conference “incredibly inspired”.  She attended sessions on subjects such arts advocacy, arts integration, mural making and mindfulness.  Many of her sessions included literacy and the exploration of cultural differences.  Becker described the conference as having “a great sense of community.  Every presenter was so willing to give information and help in any way possible. I walked away with so many ideas of practical things I can actually do as an educator, and I’m so excited to start teaching.”

One session Abigail Henderson attended dealt with literacy, and the presenter shared how books can be used as teaching resources.  She spoke about illustrations and compositions in book covers and how they relate to the story in the book. Text and expression in children's books were offered as tools for lessons as well. “It was really eye opening to see all of the possibilities to integrate literacy into your classroom. She even gave ideas to collaborate with classroom teachers or the English department at your school with lessons, which I thought was such an awesome idea,” said Henderson.

There were opportunities to learn about art products useful in the classroom as well how to host a school art show. Many UW Stout attendees also learned about the art education website Artsonia, where student art work can be uploaded (with an artist's statement) for an online art show. “As a beginning educator, the first couple years are tough, and I thought this conference brought a lot of great ideas to mind,” said Molly Brion. “ I look forward to going next year when I am an art teacher and bringing back more ideas.“

Karryn Boche shared, “Attending the WAEA conference opened my eyes to many different styles of teaching that I had either never thought of, or those that I had never heard of before.  Through each session I was able to find something I knew that I would be able to apply to my teaching methods in the future.  I was delighted at the fact that I was able to ask questions and get the answers that I was looking for, though I am still early in my studies.”

Emery Kuehn was particularly affected by a session about maintaining a stable Art Studio class.  Kuehn said the presenter shared how he allowed students to cope with their life happenings while in studio art, even when he had set certain objectives for the project. “I really liked that because the students were able to complete the criteria, while soothing the ache in their soul.”  In reflecting the overall conference experience, Kuehn also shared, “I’ve gained an understanding of what it’s like to teach students who are going through hard times, students of different cultures, ethnicity, and disability.”

UW-Stout alumnus Nic Hahn was also in attendance at the conference, presenting a session on the benefits of a “flipped” classroom.  This is a technique where teachers record videos to organize lessons digitally, to double oneself as a teacher, to provide sub plans, and to easily share lessons with peers, administrators, and parents.  “Nic did a fabulous job presenting this concept. I'd love to experiment with this in my own classroom someday,” commented UW-Stout Art Education student Samantha Plasch.

Plasch also remarked that she and her colleagues from UW-Stout were the only pre-service teachers in attendance.  Student Jennah Kaiser was told by others that the UW-Stout team was “so smart for coming to the conference before teaching.” During lunch and the hands on sessions Kaiser was able to hear a lot of stories about other teachers’ past experiences. ”Knowing that every teacher struggles at first to find their personal teaching style and confidence gave so much assurance that it’s okay to be making mistakes right now. Knowing that I am learning how to be a teacher reinforced that I am ready for student teaching and to take that next step. A professor once told me that teaching is all about having enough tricks in your bag. Attending this conference gave me tons of new tricks that I will be able to implement in my own classroom and with my own students.”

The WAEA conference also had sessions such as “Art of Evaluation – Standards Based Rubrics”  and “Playing the Assessment Game; Make Assessment Fun and Easy”   UW-Stout student Rachel Tschumperlin attended the assessment session where she learned to play Kahoot, a game “so easy to make pre-assessment and assessment fun for my students. I loved that we could see the results of the game at the end and see what exactly needs to taught again or not. This was a fun easy tool that I can definitely see myself using in my classroom someday. “  Freshman Lindsey Jones also attended this session and commented,  “It was interesting because I was learning and being assessed for the 12-point scale my junior and senior year of high school. And now, I am being taught how to teach to those standards.”

As for Olivia Revolinski, she found the importance of edTPA session particularly helpful. “The presenters of the session gave an overview of edTPA and what to expect for future teachers. As an emerging student teacher, I needed to know what the process of this part of my certification.”

Aiden Manley described his experience at the WAEA conference as “very beneficial”.  “Not many other majors allow students to have experiences like this.  Knowing that there is this huge network of art teachers across the state made me more excited for when I get my own classroom and get to be part of this network.”  

“I was overwhelmed by the openness, generosity, and support offered by my soon-to-be colleagues,” remarked Sam Plasch.  “Their excitement was infectious, and if there is one thing I learned while I was there, it is that our greatest resource is each other - and we should take advantage of that.”

“These educators showed me that being an art educator is more than writing lesson plan and teaching children how to use scissors, “ shared Olivia Revolinski.  “There is more to art educators than the stereotypes that we live under. We work hard, we have a passion for both students and art, we teach students how to use their minds in a different way than most other subjects.”

Rachel Tschumperlin said, “Going to this conference was probably the best decision I have ever made.  It was a great motivational place to be and find all these new and creative ideas to bring into my classroom one day. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I would do it again in a heartbeat. This experience made me extremely excited for what is to come in my teacher career. “


Fall “Arts Night” Presentations at the Mabel Tainter

MARCH 10TH 2017

Two Arts Night events were held in December to celebrate the first semester of the 2016-2017 CITA program.  Families gathered at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts to applaud participating CITA students, teachers, and teaching artists at Wakanda, Downsville, Knapp, and River Heights who shared their favorite arts integrated lessons.  

The first Arts Night featured CITA classrooms from Downsville, Knapp and Wakanda Elementary schools.  The Wakanda Kindergarten team, led by teachers Megan Abel, Tina Buchholtz and Megan Steinmeyer, started the evening with “Long Ago” activities featuring both writing and math lessons.  With storytelling teaching artist Kris Winter, Wakanda’s “pioneer children” performed their “How To” writing lessons and mathematical story problems.  The students shared “How To” complete typical pioneer childhood chores by reciting and acting out activities such as how to milk a cow or how to pump water.  “Pioneer” teacher Megan Abel acted out mathematical story problems which students worked out on slates.  The audience was also treated to a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Downsville Elementary teacher Sara Holcomb and her 2nd-grade class, along with UW-Stout student teacher Amanda Blough and teaching artist Beau Janke, presented their “Greatest Hits” arts integration showcase. The students sang ten original songs around classroom learning that included mindfulness, community, math, science and more.  Holcomb and Blough acted as radio DJs, while Janke accompanied the songs on the banjo (and harmonica).

The final presentation of the night came from Callie Harmston’s 3rd-grade class from Knapp Elementary.  Having worked with storytelling teaching artist Kris Winter, the students wrote original stories and performed them in small groups.  The stories ranged from train robberies to princesses, to magical crystal balls.

The second Arts Night featured River Heights’ CITA classrooms.  The evening began with the Kindergarten team’s “Alphabet Circus.”  Teachers Det Bossany, Deana Gorecki and Tanya Staatz, along with circus arts teaching artist Kobi Shaw, led their students through 26 circus-themed activities to represent each letter of the alphabet.  The students formed acrobatic pyramids, donned clown noses, performed magic and much, much more.

Musician Beau Janke returned for this second Arts Night to perform with Avery Weber’s 1st-grade class. In addition to singing about what the students want to be when they “get bigger”, the class also shared their environmental “Singing Tree Project” which involved both a song and a large scale mural painting created by the entire class.  The class also demonstrated their classroom “Peace Corner” activity, helping students solve interpersonal problems on their own.

To close out the evening, River Heights teachers Kelly Gunderson and Rachel Kelm, and their 2nd-grade classes (with circus artist Shaw), shared their circus-themed science and writing lessons.  Kelm’s class performed juggling and balancing skills, followed by clown gags, to teach how stories have a beginning, middle and end.  Next, Gunderson’s class used spinning plates to depict the rotation and revolution of planets in the solar system.  They also acted out phases of the moon both physically and through song.


Fall 2016 Arts Night Reflections

“A.I.M. has been such an exciting and unique adventure, and performing at the Mabel Tainter is an experience that my students will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives. The smiles, laughs, and excitement that beamed from their faces were priceless, and I feel such joy that my participation in this program could bring that feeling.”
-Kelly Gunderson, 2nd grade River Heights CITA Teacher

“Powerful! /Arts Night/ helps build a sense of community in our classroom”
-Mrs. Sara Holcomb, 2nd grade Downsville CITA Teacher

“I had such a blast presenting with the students using various props and posters to show what we learned. Adding music into the classroom has been such an inspiring experience and I know that it will be a part of my future classroom after graduation… I am so grateful to be a part of A.I.M. in my student teaching placement. It has been a wonderful experience and I am so excited to see what we can accomplish with our next teaching artist residency after break!”
-Miss Amanda Blough (UW-Stout student teacher at Downsville with 2nd grade)

"The families of my class were surprised and thankful their child was able to have this opportunity at the historic Mabel Tainter Theatre. Personally, am grateful to be given time and resources to try bold and intricate lessons, layered with creativity and expressiveness. Working in collaboration with Beau was fantastic; together, we created and taught dynamic and enriching lessons based on our first-grade curriculum.  Sharing our learning with families was invigorating and gratifying."
-Avery Weber, River Heights 1st grade teacher

“Performing at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts emphasizes the importance of art of all forms in students' lives.  Parents and students are able to make the connection with what they do in school and how it translates to outside of school. “
-Susan Mommsen, Wakanda Elementary School Principal

“During the show a Grandma stopped me on the stairs. She opened her eyes so wide and said, " Oh my gosh, that was so remarkable!" As an usher in the back I watched proud daddies waving at their kids onstage.  They were beaming.  I loved the way each child was the center of attention onstage so many times rather than in a group.  Each was able to shine and boy did they.  Well done, teachers and artists.”
-Pat Avery, AIM Board member

Copy of _MG_6314.JPG


Arts Night Reflections from a couple of Avery Weber’s 1st grade River Heights students

Blossom- "I felt really shy at first, but after we got to sing The Big Song, I felt calm."
James- " I loved being on stage and when we were done singing, everyone clapped."


Arts Night Reflections from Sara Holcomb’s 2nd Downsville grade class with Beau Janke

Case-“It makes me feel happy to sing”
Matthew-“He helped us learn new songs”
Shauna-“Cool, I got to sing with Mr. Beau”
Hazel-“Awesome time, using my voice to sing”
Andrew-“When we do different songs, it makes me feel happy. It makes us all feel happy”
Isabella-“The Mabel Tainter is awesome!”
Ethan F.-“It was exciting, when he came… it was fun for us”
Ethan N.-“He was funny when he said he ripped his pants on stage one time”
Kasidy-“It was fun being on stage and I had fun with my classmates”
Brady- “It makes me feel happy when I see Mr. Beau because he is nice”
Emma- “I like doing projects with him.  The banjo creation was my favorite, made from an Oreo, pretzels, and frosting”
Kaitlyn-“I felt stage fright at the Mabel Tainter.  It was fun when we got to sing and didn’t have to watch other people”
Lucie-“my lemonade went all over me, from Mr. Beau, when he was giving me a high five goodbye.  I felt embarrassed.  He is nice and fun with his banjo”
Colton-“Awesome, because he sings awesome songs”
Madison-“He likes to play his banjo and he likes to sing”
Lilly-“He is the best singer in the world.  He’s amazing, awesome, exciting, and a favorite teacher”
Mason- “He is great, because he sings songs and he is in a band.”

New P.A.I.N.T. Interns Announced

MARCH 10TH 2017

UW-Stout’s spring 2017 PAINT (Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers) interns have been announced.  A total of 17 interns have been selected, including 12 interns new to the program and 5 returning interns.  All interns are current UW Stout Art Education or Early Childhood Education students.  New classes to the program will include fiber arts and “Makin’ Music.”  As part of the PAINT program, interns receive a paid stipend of $500 for 40 hours of teaching at an AIM community partner site.


Spring 2017 PAINT Internships

Boys and Girls Club
Class:          Fiber Arts                    
Teachers:    Megan Sykora (Art Education)

Class:          Art Around the World
Teachers:    Rachel McKay (Art Education)
                   Mariyah Miller (Early Childhood Education)

Rocky’s K-2

Class:          Makin’ Music!    
Teachers:    Abigail Ceaglske (Early Childhood Education)
                    Brianna Mora (Early Childhood Education)

Dunn County Jail

Class:          Painting                    
Teachers:    Coral Calhoon (Art Education)    
                    Sierra Thomforhda (Art Education)

Jumpstart After School Program, MenomonieParks and Recreation

Class:          Arts and Crafts                
Teachers:    Elizabeth Rosendahl (Art Education)
                    Sidney Dombrowski  (Art Education)

Thursday Thrill Seekers, MenomonieParks and Recreation    

Class:          Arts and Crafts                
Teachers:    Nicole Seidler (Art Education)
                    Hannah Saphner (Art Education)
                    Karryn Boche (Art Education)

PAINT International at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts

Class:          K-5 Visual Arts - local and international students (via Skype technology)
Teachers:    Marko Pechnik (Art Education)
                    Anna Koehne (Art Education)
                    Lindsey Jones (Art Education)

Featuring A.I.M.’s Programs and Partnerships

MARCH 10TH 2017

In December 2016, Arts Integration Menomonie completed its second year of implementation.  A day in November was set aside to showcase AIM’s programs and partnerships, whereby key stakeholders toured the various places that AIM is being implemented. The day showcased UW-Stout’s pre-service teachers in art education and early childhood education; teachers in the Menomonie school district; and community teaching artists who represent AIM’s PAINT, CITA, and mindfulness programs.  The team visited UW-Stout’s School of Education, the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts (MTCA), and the School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA) elementary schools of Downsville, River Heights, and Wakanda.  

A showcase of AIM’s programs and partnerships took place in November 2016 with members of AIM’s Board of Directors, AIM’s Teaching Artists; UW-Stout’s College of Education leadership and faculty; UW-Stout’s student teachers and interns; the School District of the Menomonie Area’s administration and teachers; the Mabel Tainter’s Executive Director; UW-Stout’s Applied Research Center; and UW Stout’s financial specialists.  A tremendous THANK YOU to all of these AIM representatives who took part in the showcase:  

UW-STOUT: Bob Salt, Carol Johnson, Kim Martinez, Tami Rae Weiss, Jill Klefstad, Melody Brennan, Tracy DeRusha, Ann Brand, Sapna Thapa, Sue Tkachuk, Leigh May, and Denise Evjen

UW-STOUT APPLIED RESEARCH CENTER: Brenda Kruger, Libby Smith, and Gina Lawton

UW-STOUT STUDENT TEACHERS: Grace Rogers, Abby Henderson, Amanda Blough, Olivia Revolinski, and Marko Pechnik

SDMA: Brian Seguin, Peg Kolden, Lori Smith, Tim Lutz, Jeanne Styczinski, Megan Steinkraus, Sara Holcomb, Kelly Gunderson, Avery Weber, Susan Mommsen, Stephanie Steinmeyer, Tina Buchholtz, and Megan Abel  

MABEL TAINTER: Steven Renfree and Pat Avery

COMMUNITY TEACHING ARTISTS: Kris Winter, Kobi Shaw, and Beau Janke


AIM in Early Childhood Education classes at UW-Stout
The day began at UW-Stout, observing  AIM’s CITA Coordinator and Teaching Artist Kris Winter in professor Sapna Thapa's Early Childhood Education class for Expressive Curriculum.  Encouraging the future teachers to find their storytelling voices, Winter demonstrated how to transform oneself into characters through the use of simple props.  Winter inspired the university pre-service teachers to use storytelling to connect with all kinds of subject area learning as a means of achieving a deeper level of understanding in children.  

AIM’s “Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers” (PAINT)
A visit to Downsville Elementary School highlighted the large-scale mural created last spring by PAINT interns from UW-Stout’s Art Education program, Grace Rogers and Abby Henderson.  Rogers and Henderson met with the  AIM team and spoke about their teaching experiences with the students at Downsville Elementary to create an upcycled mural made of thousands of bottle caps.



AIM’s Mindfulness Program
While at Downsville Elementary, 2nd grade teacher Sara Holcomb and Student Teacher Amanda Blough engaged their students in a mindfulness activity and then sang a song that they had created with AIM teaching artist Beau Janke about the parts of the brain.  As part of the MindUP curriculum and training supported by AIM and the school district, teachers and students learn how parts the brain function to help control their attention and emotions.  AIM’s Mindfulness Specialist Ann Brand shared her experiences with teachers and pre-service teachers in establishing personal mindfulness practices as a means of supporting their own health and well-being.

AIM’s community arts partner, the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts (MTCA)
MTCA’s Executive Director Steven Renfree provided a tour of the historic Mabel Tainter theater; and AIM Board member Pat Avery described the shared activities among AIM and the community arts center.  PAINT Coordinator Megan Steinkraus spoke about the partnership’s PAINT program, which provides paid arts teaching internships to pre-service teachers in UW-Stout’s Art Education and Early Childhood Education programs.

AIM’s Co-teaching In and Through the Arts (CITA) Program
In the afternoon, AIM stakeholders traveled to River Heights and observed first-year teacher Kelly Gunderson working with AIM’s teaching artist Kobi Shaw to co-teach narrative writing to 1st graders through clowning. Gunderson and Shaw performed their own clown gag to engage students in identifying setting and character, and to describe a narrative's beginning, middle, and end.  A short walk across the hallway is Avery Weber’s 1st grade classroom with teaching artist Beau Janke.  Through AIM’s CITA program, Weber is learning to integrate music and visual art into literacy and literature learning; science and environmental issues, and life skills of responsibility and empathy.  


AIM’s Art Installations
The last stop of the day was Wakanda Elementary School to see UW-Stout Art Education interns Marko Pechnik and Olivia Revolinski teaching students and teachers how to make a mosaic mural in their school.  Pechnik and Revolinski spoke about their experiences in the creative making and teaching process; and they described the impact of the PAINT internships on their teaching development and confidence. Revolinski stated,  “I love being able to provide opportunities for these students to experiment and make projects that stretch their creative minds; to create relationships with the youth of Menomonie who could possibly be my students in my student teaching in a couple years; and to learn how I can make myself a better educator.”



AIM participants reflect
While at Wakanda, the 1st grade team of Stephanie Steinmeyer, Tina Buchholtz, and Megan Abel articulated their experiences as first year participants in the CITA program, speaking about the value of the team approach to integrate the arts through co-planning and co-teaching.

UW-Stout Students Paired with Community Organizations


14 new UW-Stout PAINT (Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers) interns have been named by Arts Integration Menomonie (AIM) for the fall 2016 Semester. While studying to become teachers, these UW-Stout students are paired with local community organizations to provide real-life teaching experiences through paid internships.

UW-Stout Art Education student Sidney Dombrowski says this PAINT internship “is the best thing that could’ve happened to me my freshman year.  The significance of this experience is not only does it help with my schooling for this job, but I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this experience.   Also, as a future teacher this internship means that I will be ahead of the game, and that I’ll feel more comfortable in the classroom because it will feel natural by the time I’m certified.”

Interns for the program are selected through an application process.  Upon their completion of 40 hours of teaching, interns will be rewarded with a $500 stipend.

Community organizations also benefit from these PAINT partnerships, as they receive free class instruction and supplies for additional student programming. This is the second year of AIM’s PAINT program.

PAINT interns are UW Stout students in either Art Education or Early Childhood Education who will teach classes such as Arts and Crafts, Watercolor Painting, Creative Movement and Art Around the World.  Interns have been placed at community organizations including the Jump Start After School Program at the Leisure/Senior Center, Rocky’s K-2 After School Program at River Heights, PAINT for grades 3-5 at River Heights, the Dunn County Jail, and Thursday Thrillseekers for adults with disabilities.  

“The collaborations involved in our PAINT program make the experiences of teaching and learning so meaningful, “ explains AIM Executive Director Tami Weiss.  “Art Education students are collaborating with Early Childhood Education students and learning from each other as they use different approaches to teach many art forms including music, dance, and visual art.”

New this year will be a PAINT International class.  The class, held at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, allows Menomonie students and students from Botswana, Africa to create art projects simultaneously through Skype technology.  According to PAINT Coordinator Megan Shervy, “It’s a very big step for the PAINT Program and a really exciting opportunity for our UW-Stout students as well as our children in the area.”  

PAINT International will involve both current UW Stout student teachers and UW-Stout alumni as mentors.  AIM Executive Director Weiss also notes that through this new program, “the collaboration between UW-Stout and the Mabel Tainter has evolved into a formal partnership, whereby we both are filling needs and sharing unique opportunities in and through the arts.”


Fall 2016 PAINT Interns and their placements:

Jump Start After School Program

Class:           Arts and Crafts
Teachers:     Sidney Dombrowski (Art Education)
                     Brittney Hanson (Early Childhood Education)

River Heights Elementary

Classes:       Art Around the World
                     Creative Movement
Teachers:     Miranda Torres (Early Childhood Education)
                     Samantha Cromer (Early Childhood Education)

Rocky's K-2

Class:         Arts and Crafts
Teacher:     Brooke Wadzinski  (Art Education)

Dunn County Jail

Classes:       Creative Movement Dance
                     Watercolor Painting
Teachers:     Megan Becker (Art Education)
                     Paige McDowell (Early Childhood Education)
                     Sierra Thomfohrda (Art Education)

Thursday Thrill Seekers

Class:           Arts and Crafts
Teachers:     Kylee Blumer (Art Education)
                     Hannah Saphner  (Art Education)

PAINT International

Class:           Arts and Crafts
Teachers:     Gabrielle Conway (Art Education)
                     Molly Brion (Art Education)

Ms. Johnson’s Wakanda Wall-stars

Class:           Wakanda Mosaic Murals
Teachers:     Marko Pechnik (Art Education)
                     Olivia Revolinski (Art Education)

UW-Stout interns Brittney Hanson and Sidney Dombrowski with students from their Jump Start “Arts and Crafts” class.

UW-Stout interns Brittney Hanson and Sidney Dombrowski with students from their Jump Start “Arts and Crafts” class.

UW Stout Early Childhood Education student Brittney Hanson says,  " This internship has a lot of significance for me becoming a future teacher. It gives me a head start of what it'll look like when I'm on my own."

UW Stout Early Childhood Education student Brittney Hanson says, "This internship has a lot of significance for me becoming a future teacher. It gives me a head start of what it'll look like when I'm on my own."

A.I.M. Summer Academy 2016


To prepare teachers and teaching artists for the upcoming year, showcases were presented by the current crop of teaching artists and featured storytelling, theatre arts, music, visual arts and circus arts.  Co-teaching teams of teachers and teaching artists from CITA’s inaugural year spoke about last year’s classroom experiences and the delicate balance of co-teaching.  UW Stout Art Education students led art related activities and Ann Brand led sessions on Mindfulness.

In reflecting upon the Academy, CITA coordinator Kris Winter, commented, "The Academy was fantastic! When educators and artists gather to celebrate the endless possibilities of integrating the arts into all aspects of the elementary curriculum, those individuals leave energized and deeply excited to begin a new school year."


2016-2017 C.I.T.A. Participants:


Sara Holcomb - 2nd grade
Amanda Blough - Holcomb’s student teacher
Teaching artist: Beau Janke (Music/Visual Arts)


Callie Harmston - 3rd grade
Teaching Artist: Kris Winter (Storytelling/Theatre Arts)

River Heights

*Det Bossany- Kindergarten
*Deana Gorecki- Kindergarten
*Tanya Staatz- Kindergarten
Teaching Artist: Kobi Shaw (Circus Arts)

Avery Weber - 1st grade
Teaching artist: Beau Janke (Music/Visual Arts)

Kelly Gunderson - 2nd grade
*Rachel Kelm -  2nd grade
Teaching Artist: Kobi Shaw (Circus Arts)


Megan Abel - 1st grade
Tina Buchholtz - 1st grade
Stephanie Steinmeyer- 1st grade
Teaching Artist: Kris Winter (Storytelling/Theatre Arts)

*Returning C.I.T.A. teachers.

AIM Board Members 2016-2017



Dr. Tami Weiss - AIM Executive Director, and Program Director, Art Education UW-Stout
Tim Lutz - Elementary Music Educator, School District of the Menomonie Area, Oaklawn Elementary
Jeanne Styczinski - Retired School District of Menomonie Elementary Teacher
Kris Winter - CITA Coordinator/AIM Teaching Artist, Owner/Artistic Director of Paper Cow Theater
Pat Avery - Board Member, Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts
Dr. Ann Brand - AIM Mindfulness Specialist and Coordinator, and Associate Lecturer in the School of Education, UW-Stout
Dr. Melody Brennan - Program Director, Early Childhood Education, UW-Stout Early Childhood Education
Tracy DeRusha - Coordinator of Field Experiences, UW-Stout
Allison Feller - Preschool Instructional Specialist, Child and Family Study Center, UW-Stout
Amy Fichter - Program Director, Studio Art, UW-Stout
Dr. Jill Klefstad - Professor, Early Childhood Education, UW-Stout
Peg Kolden - River Heights Elementary School Principal
Peggy Larson - K-5 Art Educator, Menomonie School District, River Heights Elementary
Samantha Plasch - UW-Stout Art Education Student Representative
Brian Seguin - AIM Director for School District of Menomonie, and Director of Instruction, SDMA
Lori Smith - Oaklawn Elementary School Principal
Megan Steinkraus - PAINT Coordinator/School District of the Menomonie Area K-5 Art Teacher

AIM would like to recognize outgoing Board members from last year Tamara Brantmeier, Jason Nicholas, and Lucy Weidner.  AIM was also sad to lose Board Member Liz Gilbert  with her passing last winter.  We thank these former board members for their passion in helping AIM pursue their mission of arts integration, especially during its inaugural year in the classroom.

Arts Night Spring 2016

JUNE 7TH 2016

A.I.M. ‘s  C.I.T.A. program pairs early childhood educators with professional teaching artists to deliver standards-based curricula through art infused lessons. This year’s C.I.T.A program included students birth through 3rd grade and extended to 5 different Menomonie schools, fifteen teachers and 8 UW-Stout pre-service teachers.

The first Arts Night featured the UW-Stout Child and Family Center (C.F.S.C.) who had been working with storyteller Kris Winter since January.  Highlighting some of their favorite lessons, the CFSC Arts Night featured Marcia Wolf’s class recreating Old MacDonald Had A Farm, Rachael Stuart’s version of “Dog’s Colorful Day” and Allison Feller’s Mama Earth and Sister Sunshine teaching about different types of weather through storytelling and song.

Teaching artist Kris Winter also worked with the River Heights Kindergarten team which was featured on the second Arts Night.  With teachers Det Bossany, Deana Gorecki and Tanya Staatz each playing leading roles, the entire River Height Kindergarten team reenacted the classic children’s story “Caps for Sale”.  Also featured was the 4-K classroom from Little Sprouts Academy led by Rochelle Kroening. Performing songs about numbers and spelling as well as African chants, Kroening drummed and sang with her students alongside teaching artists percussionist Babatunde Lea and guitarist Yata Peinovich.

The final Arts Night featured the Wakanda Kindergarten team who spent the year working with circus arts teaching artist Kobi Shaw.  Mary Begley’s class presented their original version The Gingerbread Man in the North Pole, Jeanne Styczinski’s class used circus spinning plates to show how the earth orbits the sun and Niki King’s class wrote and performed a play about the lifecycle of a plant.  Oaklawn third graders teachers Lisa Mayer, Cindy Paulson and Elizabeth Schuster spent the year working with theatre arts teaching artist Melissa Kneeland.  For Arts Night, their students wrote and performed their own fractured fairy tales which they researched to create appropriate scenery, costumes and sound effects.   

In reflecting on their participation in the C.I.T.A. program, River Heights Kindergarten teacher Tanya Staatz shared, “Integrating the arts brings student engagement to a whole new level. I feel the opportunities are endless.”  Wakanda Kindergarten teacher Mary Begley stated, “Being part of AIM has deepened my conviction to using in the arts while teaching. Thank you for a fantastic year.”

Downsville Mural Complete

JUNE 7TH 2016

According to the UW-Stout Art Education students, the mural is in the style of artist Chuck Close and encompasses the theme of sustainability, utilizing approximately 7,000 recycled bottle caps.

“This entire mural would not have been possible without help from the Downsville Elementary staff and students.  We really have to thank all of the parents, friends and families that saved up thousands of bottle caps and took the time to help us complete the mural. It is incredible to see the entire community come together to create this large scale piece that will be displayed and enjoyed by many for years to come,” shared artist Abby Henderson.

“Working with the school and having the support of the community to collect the plastic bottle caps was an awesome learning experience. We worked with classroom teachers so almost every student got to create a shape within the mural.  Hearing the students talk about their shapes and the mural in general is really rewarding,” agreed Grace Rogers.

Henderson and Rogers estimate they spent a total of 45 hours on the 7 feet tall by 14 feet wide mural.   “We're really happy with how it turned out,” commented Grace Rogers.  “Participating in the PAINT (Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers) program has been another wonderful opportunity provided by the UW-Stout Art Education program. It is not the norm to be able to add a collaborative mural project to your resume before graduation and through A.I.M.’s support Abby and I are able to do that.“

“The P.A.I.N.T. program has provided paid internships like this mural project to UW-Stout students who are going into teaching professions,” states A.I..M. Executive Director Tami Weiss. “These opportunities allow for many hands-on teaching and learning experiences through the arts, which ends up being a win-win for pre-service teachers and the students in the schools.”  

Peter Yarrow Visits A.I.M.

JUNE 7th 2016

Peter Yarrow’s “Don’t Laugh At Me” program stems from the folk singer’s organization, Operation Respect.  As stated by the organization “The program is based on the theory that the cycle of hatred — the wellspring of prejudice, of wars, of much of the evil in the world — can only be confronted, and hopefully squashed, in childhood. To change the cycle, you have to get to the children.”

Throughout the event, the activist spoke of today’s need to have a more civil society.  He emphasized that children need to not only be told to be civil, but shown how, especially in this time of political discourse.  According to Steven Renfree, Executive Director of M.T.C.A., Peter Yarrow “helped us fulfill the Mabel Tainter’s mission of bringing our community together through the arts, and taking us on a journey that began with the Civil Rights era and progressing through his current artistic ventures. Everyone benefitted from this extraordinary experience.”

While Yarrow performed “Don’t Laugh at Me”, a video was played of local children taking part in A.I.M.’s Co-Teaching in and Through the Arts Program.  Students from Wakanda, River Heights, Knapp, Downsville, and Oaklawn Elementary as well as the UW-Stout Child and Family Study Center were featured, responding visually to how it feels to be bullied.

During the concert, Yarrow was joined onstage by his son, Christopher.  As Yarrow played guitar, Christopher accompanied him on a washtub bass, harmonizing to iconic songs such as “Blowin in the Wind” and “If I Had a Hammer”.  During “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Yarrow even invited members of the audience to join him on stage sing as well.

Jill Klefstad, Program Director for UW-Stout Early Childhood Education UW-Stout shared, “For me, standing on the stage, singing Puff the Magic Dragon, was like reliving the 'high' of when I sang that song to the kindergarten children I taught years ago. As Peter says, Music speaks louder than words". The night with Peter, was instrumental in bringing us all together and appreciate the power of music. It was a night I will never forget".

While in Menomonie, Yarrow also paid a visit to the Paper Cow Theatre which is run by A.I.M. Executive Board Member and storyteller Kris Winter.  A stop was also made at River Heights Elementary School to view the newly unveiled mural in the school’s library, painted by A.I.M. Executive Director Tami Weiss.

Update from PAINT Program Coordinator Megan Shervey

APRIL 1ST 2016

There are so many great things happening in the second semester of PAINT.  Our new interns have been making huge advances in becoming promising future teachers.  

The creative movement classes through Rocky's K-2 program and the Boys and Girls Club are proving to be a great fit with SDMA's Mindfulness initiative this year.  Students are learning about breathing techniques, balance and coordination that support their health and well-being through fun activities like yoga and dance.

Our Sculpture class through the Boys and Girls Club was successfully completed.  Our UW-Stout interns in art education not only taught students about the art of 3-dimensional sculpture but also about the importance and value of recycling and repurposing.

With our new watercolor classes being offered at the Dunn County Jail, a whole new avenue in art therapy has been created. Our interns are getting experience in teaching adults and creating more advanced lessons which is a fantastic opportunity in this program.

Downsville Elementary is anticipating its recycled lid mural being completed in the next month.  With two PAINT interns leading the way, the mural has a Chuck Close inspired design that will result in a colorful and interactive piece of art for the whole community to enjoy.

Other classes like Creative Fashion, Arts and Crafts, and Thursday Night Thrill Seekers are halfway through a successful semester and looking forward to a strong finish at the end of April.

We've learned quite a lot after our first successful semester of the PAINT Program and have put many of our learning experiences to use in improving the second semester. With our program growing we can only expect to get even bigger and better in the future.

Reflections from PAINT interns

          As a P.A.I.N.T intern I have had the privilege of collaborating lessons with other teachers, being in charge of a classroom and working with a wide range of children. I have learned so much about myself as an educator from the experiences I have received from this program. It has gave me the opportunity to try out different lesson plans and techniques of teaching. Given the pleasure of being the teacher I have been able to get an insight on how my future as a teacher will be, which has encouraged me to continue my schooling in becoming an educator. I have really enjoyed my time as a P.A.I.N.T intern, I have learned so much and have gained valuable experiences.

-Kayla Derousseau

From the day I first heard about the P.A.I.N.T. program internships I knew that would be an unbeatable opportunity in experience for my future as an art educator, and it has been. So far I have held three internships positions over the course of two semesters. I have worked with adults with disabilities, inmates at the Dunn county jail, a wide range of elementary students, and even two year olds. Going into my first semester in the Art Education program I was excited to not only expand my knowledge of art but to learn how to pass on the knowledge and passion for art. Without much know how, I jumped right into my first teaching experience through the P.A.I.N.T. program. Of course I was nervous and naturally the class went roughly. But with each class it slowly improved. Today I can honestly say that looking back to that day, even only over the course of a year, I have vastly improved in my teaching. I am now much more comfortable creating lesson plans, demonstrating projects, and overall instructing art projects of various mediums to various ages, as well as knowing that I have a lot more room for improvement. Not only am I growing my teaching skills but I am also learning so much about class room management, adapting to students needs, and the process of lesson planning. Participating in these internships has given me an extra base of knowledge of what my future entails and taught me a lot about myself as a teacher. Having these experiences while simultaneously taking courses to continue my education allows me take what I am learning and apply it directly as a teacher myself. The P.A.I.N.T. program has given me unbelievable opportunities to become the best teacher I can be and I look forward to continuing to participate in the internships.

-Sierra Thomfohrda

The P.A.I.N.T. program has had a very positive impact on my teaching abilities. I would recommend it for anyone going into education. It has helped me become comfortable with all age groups. It has also made me more comfortable with being an independent teacher. I've had so much fun teaching and interacting with my students and the students are always very appreciative that we are doing this program with them! Students come to class excited and ready to get lost in art for an hour or so and it's just a great thing to be a part of! The classes I have taught have only made me more confident that I'm headed down the right career path!  

-Rebecca Handy

The experience of P.A.I.N.T. internships has been very valuable over the course of this first year at UW-Stout. Coming into this program as a transfer sophomore, I was not sure how far my experience with coaching for my local swim team would get me in a classroom focused primarily on art. Through the two P.A.I.N.T. internships that I have accepted, I have learned how to translate art as a subject into art as an avenue for students to learn about themselves and their creative side. The greatest thing that I have taken from these lessons (because I am primarily working with students at the elementary level) is to be able to be flexible in lessons, especially if that allows the student to enhance their self expression. I love being able to provide opportunities for these students to experiment and make projects that push their creative mind. Another wonderful factor of these internships is that they allow me to know the students that live in Menomonie. I feel that sometimes as college students we are disconnected within the actual community that we live in. These internships allowed me to create relationships with the youth of Menomonie, which could possibly be my students in my student teaching in a couple years. Finally, P.A.I.N.T. has shown me how much joy I receive from teaching. Billy Joel says, “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.” Words could not be any truer. Through the experience of these internships, I have found a love for inspiring others. Providing techniques and materials for their passions to be displayed through art, is an honor. I plan on continuing with these internships as every new internship provides a new opportunity for me to learn how I can make myself a better educator.

-Olivia Revolinski

As an Art Education major, and a lover of teaching, I am constantly searching for opportunities to gain experience in my field. In the fall of 2015, the P.A.I.N.T. program provided me with a remarkable opportunity by hiring me and another Art Education student to co-teach an art class for the Boys and Girls Club of Menomonie. I cannot even describe the full extent to which this internship impacted me and my capacity to teach children. The class was run entirely by my partner and I, with a supervisor from the club to assist us if necessary. We were able to arrange our own projects for the class, which was very exciting for the two of us—it was just like writing our own curriculums. The students were fantastic to work with. They would scurry into the room every day, eager to hear what our next project was. The passion that children have for making art is what inspired me to become an art teacher in the first place, and this class has reaffirmed that. The internship was an incredible learning experience as well. As with any class, there were a few children that were rowdy and occasionally misbehaved. It was helpful to have a supervisor, but my partner and I tried as much as possible to manage the classroom by ourselves. It was certainly challenging, but it is something we must practice because one day we will have to maintain our own classrooms. In addition to classroom management, my experience with the P.A.I.N.T. internship also provided me with practice in lesson planning, instruction, and working in a professional setting. Teaching this class has made me significantly more confident in my teaching abilities. Every time I have the opportunity to teach children, I become more and more enthusiastic about my future as an art teacher.

-Sarah Bennett

Working at the jail has been an extremely rewarding and eye-opening experience so far. I will admit that coming into this experience was a little intimidating. I was excited to teach in the jail setting, though I didn’t know what I was up against. Therefore, I was relieved to sense that the students in my classroom where just like anyone else I’ve ever met. Moreover, I didn’t realize how much the inmates would really appreciate and take away from these programs. Many of the students in my class have never had much of an art background or even learned art in school. Therefore, they never got much of a chance to give art a chance and see what it can do for them. These people most likely made a few poor choices, and are now trying to change and live a better life. It is unfortunate to hear that many of the inmates get in an unwanted cycle and are continuously coming in and out of jail due to a dependence on things such as drugs and alcohol that lead to poor lifestyle choices. It would be great if art affected them enough in a way in to help them get onto a better path and serve as an outlet for channeling stress. Many of the students in my class admit that they were taken back by how intense the watercolor class is that we teach. However, despite that, they rave about how much they are getting out of class and look forward to coming in to paint.  I know they are being genuine because I can see how excited and passionate they get talking about the class and their artwork; and that’s really rewarding to hear. For our last class, we had the men all paint self-portraits of themselves. This was a very challenging project for all of them; therefore it was surprising to hear that it was their favorite project. I think this is because they were extremely challenged with this project; therefore, they made an astounding amount of progress since their first practice portraits. Moreover, I think all of them were so impressed by how well their projects turned out that they couldn’t even believe they could paint something like that! If given the opportunity, I would love to go through this experience again. As a future art educator I think this involvement has taught me a lot of valuable skills pertaining to what methods do or don’t work in the classroom. Moreover, as someone who would like to teach secondary art education, it was great practice to try out different lessons that could relate to what I teach in the classroom. I think overall this experience has increasingly inspired my desire to teach because I am able to see just how great of an impact art can have on someone’s sense of enjoyment and appreciation.

-Sarah Kehoe


Mindfulness With Ann Brand

APRIL 1ST 2016

As the program specialist for mindfulness with AIM, I have the opportunity to visit SDMA elementary schools to support and guide educators in implementing the Mind Up curriculum. Mind Up is a research-based curriculum built upon the pillars of developmental neuroscience, mindful awareness, positive psychology, and social emotional learning. It teaches skills and tools at the foundation of optimal development, behavior, and learning, both to students and teachers.

Over the past couple months, I have been visiting classrooms around the district, observing how mindfulness has been integrated into the classroom. The teachers and students have amazed me with the creative ways they have been practicing mindfulness and integrating the practice with the academic content being learned. Kindergarteners are learning about the different parts of their brain and how they can calm the amygdala with mindful breathing so their prefrontal cortex can come back online and help them solve problems, focus on their work, and store new information in their hippocampus. First grade students are learning about kindness and gratitude and practicing mindful action in their community by writing thank you notes to police officers. Second grade students are learning about how their minds and bodies work together through using their body and other objects to understand the importance of focusing your attention for balance. And fourth grade students are making connections between observing the information coming in through all five senses and focusing their attention on the task at hand.

It has been such an honor to support SDMA teachers and students as they integrate these new skills into learning and the classroom culture. One teacher noted that the MindUp curriculum offers one of the most important set of tools and skills that she has seen in her 30 years of teaching. Stay tuned as we continue to cultivate these tools in classrooms around the district.

Ann E. Brand, Ph.D.
Mindfulness Specialist, A.I.M.


UW-Stout Art Education students at National Art Education Convention

APRIL 1ST 2016

For four days over spring break, eight UW-Stout Art Education students traveled to Chicago to attend the world's largest art education convention, hosted by the National Art Education Association (NAEA).  The trip was made possible by Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.), as part of their mission to support future teachers of the arts. Art Education students had to apply to be accepted for this opportunity.  

Tami Weiss, program director for Art Education at UW-Stout, stated that “We had such a great response after sending four students to the state art education convention in Appleton last fall that I decided that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to engage our future art teachers in the most meaningful professional development event that a teacher can have- a national convention.”

The convention featured presenters from all different walks of life and experience.  When combined with the attendees, all 50 states and more than 30 countries were represented at the conference.  “I met people from all over the nation that share the same passions that I do, and was able to see the community that we are as art educators as well as artists.  As a group we were able to share lesson plans and our new gained knowledge with each other,” remarked student Abby Henderson.  

Between the eight UW-Stout students, over 100 seminars were attended during the convention.  Notably, one of the most powerful seminars was called Focusing Without Sight led by Emilie Gossiaux.  Gossiaux, an artist who lost her sight in an accident, continues to teach and overcome her disabilities through art making.  Attendees of this seminar were given the task of creating a work of art that utilized different senses in order to engage the participants in a story. “This task proved to be more challenging than I had originally anticipated, but process was quite enjoyable, and made my group and I think outside of what we know about art from a purely visual standpoint,” recent  UW-Stout graduate, Kelsey Kuehl commented.

“Emilie now teaches classes on how to create art without sight and focusing on emotions from other senses. This was a beautiful way to experience artwork, something that you can understand even without looking at it,” observed student Olivia Revolinski.  “These are the types of teachers I only dream to be. Teachers that care and are passionate about their students and how much they can learn in their little time with us as teachers.”

For many of the students the experience of being in Chicago- a city filled with art- was the highlight. As part of the convention, students were also able to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, and see the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit.   “I’ll never forget it.  The museum was absolutely incredible. I felt as if I could spend weeks there,” said Sami LaClair.

“I cannot begin to describe how wonderful of a time I had while attending the National NAEA Conference.  From interacting and making connections with other art teachers, to viewing some of the most famous works of art in the world at the Art Institute of Chicago, I had an amazing learning experience that I know I will carry on to my future career as an art teacher,” shared Erin Jacobi.

The students’ trip, including registration, travel, lodging and even an added project-based session of each attendee’s choosing was sponsored by Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.) a UW-Stout-based program funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.  Weiss stated, “A meaningful experience like this impacts a future teacher’s desire to continue in the profession by connecting teachers from all over the state or nation with one another, and establishing a professional community of art teachers.”

According to Olivia Murwin, “The best part about having so many creative minds on one spot is that we can share our ideas with each other. I was having such a great time listening to other educators tell their stories that I almost forgot that most of them live on the other side of the country!”

Grace Rogers added, “I’ve had many opportunities through the UW-Stout Art Education program but this has by far been the most challenging and engaging, pushing me out of my comfort zone to try new things.  It was fascinating being able to attend as a current student who is also an educator because it gives me the chance to really see ideas from both sides of education.”

“I feel very lucky to have had this experience and would love to see and be a part of more opportunities like this one,”  commented Abby Henderson.

Olivia Revolinski shared, “I am very grateful and honored to be provided with the opportunity for this conference. It inspired me that there are inspiring people out in the field. Teachers that long for success for their students, being surrounded with that energy, was empowering.”

The following UW-Stout Art Education students were sponsored by AIM to attend the recent NAEA convention:

Kelsey Kuehl (December 2015 graduate)
Nalani Mules (current student teacher)
Grace Rogers (current art education student)
Abby Henderson (current art education student)
Erin Jacobi (current art education student)
Olivia Revoliski (current art education student)
Olivia Murwin (current art education student)
Sami LaClair (current art education student)

Sami LaClair summed up her experience with this, “Not a minute felt wasted. I feel like I was constantly learning and inspired and in my own element with so many others as well, and it really reminded me why I chose to be an art teacher. “

As for future opportunities, Erin Jacobi stated, “I would recommend to any art education students just starting out in the program, that you take advantage of opportunities that are given to you to make connections with other pre-service students and current art teachers.  If anything, it will only help you grow and develop as future art educators”

P.A.I.N.T. Program Expands in 2016

MARCH 10TH 2016

During second semester, A.I.M. expanded its P.A.I.N.T. program (Program for Arts Integration for New Teachers) by adding new programming, new community partners and new interns.  Matching local community organizations with UW Stout students to offer authentic arts teaching experiences, the program was originally open to UW Stout Art Education students and paired 6 interns at 5 different community partners.  In the spring of 2016, internships were opened up to UW Early Childhood Education students as well as Art Education students and the numbers increased to 10 interns and 9 community partners.

“The first semester of P.A.I.N.T. was so successful that for spring, we extended the application process allowing pre-service teachers in two programs (Art Education and Early Childhood Education) to teach collaboratively through the arts, each sharing their strengths in order to grow as teachers,” explains Tami Weiss, Executive Director for AIM and Program Director for Art Education at UW-Stout.  

P.A.I.N.T. teaching opportunities offered through AIM are based around the needs of participating community partners and the talent and skills of accepted applicants.  New P.A.I.N.T. classes added this semester included sculpture, creative fashion, watercolor painting, mural painting and creative technology.

While most P.A.I.N.T. teaching internships involve working with youth, two new adult-based community partners paired with AIM in the spring of 2016.  Watercolor painting is being taught to inmates as a form of art therapy at the County Jail. Creative Technology through the SDMA Community Ed & Recreational Services is being taught at the Menomonie High School in the new Library Lecture Hall.  P.A.I.N.T. interns at the High School are responsible for teaching adults skills such as blogging, electronic portfolios, photo manipulation and social media.  

Weiss says, “Most of my students here at Stout hold jobs while in college. Rather than working at jobs that have no relation to what they’ll be doing in their future, students who participate in P.A.I.N.T. are gaining real-life teaching experiences while being paid a decent wage.” She adds, “Let’s empower students early to become more competent and more confident teachers by the time they start their teaching careers."

Interns for the program are selected through an application process Upon completion of 40 hours of teaching, interns are rewarded with a $500 stipend.  

Spring 2016 UW-Stout internships include:

Dunn County Jail:
Becca Handy, Erin Porosky, Sarah Kehoe, Sierra Thomforhda (Watercolor Painting/Art Therapy)

Boys and Girls Club:
Jonnise Hazuka, Karli Jopp (Creative Movement)
Olivia Revolinski, Sierra Thomforhda  (Sculpture)
Stephanie Libby (Creative Fashion)

Jumpstart afterschool program:
Megan Becker (Arts and Crafts)

Thursday Thrill Seekers, classes for adults with disabilities:
Megan Becker, Sami LaClair, Stephanie Libby, Hannah Saphner (Arts and Crafts)

Rocky’s K-2 after school program:
Stephanie Libby and Kayla Derousseau (Arts and Crafts)
Abby Naumann (Creative Movement)

S.D.M.A. Community Education and Recreational Services
Anna Koehne (Creative Technology)

Wakanda Mosaic Mural
Stephanie Libby (Mural Painting)

Downsville Sustainability Mural
Grace Rogers, Abby Henderson

Photo caption:  UW-Stout P.A.I.N.T. interns Kayla Derousseau (l) and Stephanie Libby (r) teaching Arts and Crafts at Rocky’s K-2 after school program.

River Heights Mural brings Library to Life

MARCH 10TH 2016

As a gift to River Heights Elementary School, A.I.M. Executive Director Tami Weiss donated her time and artistic talent to create a literary themed mural over 10 feet high and 60 feet long.  The mural spans one entire wall in the school’s library and media center and includes characters from favorite children’s books such as The Berenstain Bears, Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George and many, many more. “Students talk about the characters, they identify the characters, they see the character and then they look for the book so all of that just happens very, very naturally.  There will be learning happening all the time,” remarked River Heights Principal Peg Kolden.  

Weiss also sees the mural as a way to celebrate illustrators, “the unsung heros in children’s books, the illustrator as the person who bring these stories to life.” The mural, taking characters through all four seasons, honors 30 different illustrators and incorporates characters from 32 different children’s books. The project took nearly 5 weeks to complete with an estimated 120 hours of man hours involved.  Weiss says. "I think it's a nice gift for the students to be able to see the making of something.  They’ve been witnessing this from the start.  They’ve been seeing the process which is even more important, I think, than the product sometimes.”

In addition to the artwork, A.I.M. will donate to the school a hardcover copy of every book represented in the mural.  Each individual book is being donated in honor of a particular River Heights teacher.  Though the mural was completed in February, an official dedication celebration of the mural and the donated books will be held in April during the school’s Family Night.

Arts Night at the Mabel Tainter

MARCH 10TH 2016

In January AIM’s celebration of arts integration was held at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. To accommodate everyone, two separate “Arts Night” events were held, in which C.I.T.A. teachers, students, UW-Stout student teachers, and local teaching artists showcased assorted arts infused lessons created within the first semester of the current school year. Focusing on the arts as a means to teacher support and retention, A.I.M. paired participating C.I.T.A. teachers with local professional artists (teaching artists), who work together, using various art forms to help deliver their curriculum to students.  Oaklawn, River Heights, and Wakanda Elementary Schools, as well as Little Sprouts Academy and UW-Stout’s Child and Family Study Center were all represented utilizing arts forms such as storytelling, guitar, theatre arts, songwriting, music composition, circus arts, percussion, screenwriting and film production.

The first Arts Night featured the Kindergarten team from Wakanda Elementary and the 3rd grade team from Oaklawn Elementary.  Highlights included Kindergarten students emerging from a brightly painted clown car to illustrate their counting skills and 3rd graders re-creating tableaus and incorporating dialog to tell the story behind famous historic paintings.  Wakanda Kindergarten teacher Jeanne Styczinski said of Arts Night, “Having this experience outside of the classroom, outside of our school, helped our class bond become even stronger. Students connected with one another in a different way and brought that positive energy back to the classroom the very next day. It was such a positive experience for all - the student, parents and teachers.”

The second Arts Night showcased “The Magical Math Kingdom” of Little Sprouts’ 4-K classroom, as well as River Heights’ Kindergarteners who used percussion and rhythmic chanting to recite sight words.  Also from River Heights was “The Sound Energy Junk Band” and “The Continents” songs, as performed by Rachel Kelm’s 2nd grade class.  Amber Eide’s 4th grade class rounded out the evening with filmed book “trailers” created with the help of screenwriter/filmmaker Charis Collins.  Teaching artist Collins commented, “Arts Night was transformative for me. My first term stretched and challenged me in so many ways, and watching kids and teachers interacting with each other and seeing how excited they were to share what they'd learned made me feel the inherent power of art. I'm realizing that this program is all about teachers learning to embrace risks in order to create lasting impressions and foster the love of learning.”

Both Arts Nights were full houses at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, with many attendees being first time visitors to the building. UW-Stout provided a photo booth for participants and families where they could record video memories of their experience with the A.I.M. program.  Jill Klefstad, Program Director for UW-Stout Early Childhood Education remarked, “Arts Night was an example of how learning should be in every classroom; an opportunity for teachers and children and parents to share a passion and hunger for learning through the arts.  It brought tears to my eyes as I watched the pride in the children and witnessed the proud moments of parents as they saw their children on stage.”

Though the students were in the spotlight, Arts Night was really a celebration of teachers who embarked on a new journey. The ultimate impact of arts integration is measured by the enhanced learning the students achieved due to the teachers’ newly acquired artistic skills.  

Integrating the arts and creating additional creative and artistic tools to reach students, teachers reported achieving deeper, meaningful learning experiences with students.

Reflecting on the A.I.M. program, Oaklawn Principal Lori Smith said, “It is truly amazing to see the benefits of students' increased self-confidence in reading, writing and speaking and performing.  Also, the students' ability to take another's perspective and demonstrate empathy for others has significantly improved as well.  It's been a lot of work for all involved, but a very worthwhile opportunity.”

River Heights Field Trip

MARCH 10TH 2016

Since September, teaching artist Erika Svanoe has been working with Rachel Kelm’s 2nd grade River Heights class, helping Kelm integrate music and composition into the classroom curriculum.  To fully experience how music can tell a story, the class recently attended a live theatre performance at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.  

The Main Street Kids Club: a MathStart Musical was produced by the Eau Claire Children's Theater and weaves six different stories, each focusing on a separate mathematical concept.  To prepare for the field trip, the class discussed story elements to watch for: Character, Setting, Problem and Resolution. After watching the show, students identified the different settings and discussed how the different set pieces helped communicate different locations. They also talked about the characters, what challenges/problems they faced, as well as how they solved their problems.

In reflecting on the experience, teacher Rachel Kelm commented, “The students absolutely loved their time at the Mabel Tainter. For many of them, it was their first time in the theater, and for even more, it was their first experience attending a musical. They really enjoyed the singing and dancing, and I feel that seeing a story set to music like this really helped the students to connect with and retain more from the story. An entire weekend (and then some) has passed since the show, and I still catch the students singing or humming melodies that they heard.  I am very eager to see how the kids do when we try to write our OWN musical!”