ENID, Oklahoma. – Students sitting on their colorful carpet squares in Shawna Tanner’s pre-K class made their way through a math lesson Thursday with an arts integration instructor from Washington, DC
Through a long-standing partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Enid Public Schools, and the Enid Arts Council, early childhood students and teachers committed to a new curriculum this week. research-based that teaches math through music, drama, storytelling, visual literacy, and creative movement.
Movement Through Math, which aims to develop conceptual thinking in mathematics to go beyond rote memorization, was developed by Kennedy Center instructor Marcia Daft.
On Thursday, Daft visited classrooms at PE’s Carver and Fowler Early Years Centers after spending the entire week at Enid.
Before the lesson began, Daft sat down with the teachers present to explain his concepts and teaching process. Several teachers attended the classroom instruction while Daft and an EPS instructor guided students through participatory math lessons.
The training usually takes place twice a year, during each semester. Two weeks are devoted to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education.
The MTM program has been taught to teachers and students at Enid Public Schools for the past four years in Fowler and Carver, as well as in nearly every elementary EPS school, including Eisenhower, Garfield, Hays, Monroe, Taft, Adams and McKinley.
Randy Rader, assistant superintendent of secondary education at PSE, said the district’s partnership with the Kennedy Center was prestigious.
“One of the requirements of the program is that we work with one of their artists every year. We wanted to have continuity with the program, ”Rader said. “This program allows us to focus on something year after year, rather than jumping from concept to concept. “
The training and the program are voluntary. Elementary school principals decide whether this style of teaching suits the needs of their teachers and students, and go from there.
From what Rader saw, teachers and students enjoy the lessons and express themselves through the arts.
The program describes how the role of the teacher can shift from a speaker / demonstrator role to an observer / guide role. In this different style of teaching, educators are able to invite children to investigate and explore.
The aim of this approach is to develop students’ creative and analytical thinking skills in depth. The language and habits of mathematics are given to students in small, logical bites.
The partnership between Enid Public Schools, Enid Arts Council and the Kennedy Center began in 2005, and Daft has been coming to Enid for years.
Only two partnerships exist in Oklahoma with the Kennedy Center, including that of Enid. Oklahoma’s other partnership is with the Black Liberated Arts Center, Oklahoma City Public Schools, and the University of Oklahoma, which began in 1995.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program is designed to help arts organizations across the country develop or expand educational partnerships to provide professional learning in the arts for teachers, according to their website.
The Greater Enid Arts Council puts money aside each year in partnership with EPS to bring Daft to Enid. The local nonprofit is one of dozens of public schools and arts organizations that Daft works with across the country as a workshop presenter for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC Daft presents his program in English and Spanish, as previously noted.
Enid Arts Council for Education president Denise Blume helps coordinate the partnership with EPS and the Kennedy Center. Blume spent 24 years as an educator and 11 years as a math specialist.
“Daft is the best math teacher I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a ton of them,” Blume said. “We work with some amazing people at EPS, and Daft puts them through a lot of training and hard work. Donors of arts council fundraisers should know that their money is well spent to fund this partnership.