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

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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.”