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.