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Music, art help Herkimer BOCES special programs
students learn how animals survive the winter

May 4, 2016



VP-TECH student show special programs student how to use computer program
Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School student Eliza Marusic shows Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs student Meghan Boepple, of Herkimer, how to operate a computer program that VP-TECH students used to design animals for three-dimensional printing.



HERKIMER – Students in Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs teacher Colleen Block’s class learned this school year about how animals survive the winter through art, music, movement and instruction.

The unit for the 5- and 6-year-olds in Block’s 12:1:1 class included collaboration with Herkimer BOCES art teacher Meaghan Murphy-Pagano, music teacher Aaron Decker and Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School students Eliza Marusic and Marshall Smith. The goal was to fully immerse the students in the topics and words in the unit to help them grasp the words’ meanings, Block said.

“The idea is that children with special needs in this class need a multimodal approach,” she said. “They have to touch, hear and feel the experience.”

The collaborative unit on how animals survive the winter explained the three types of animals to the students as hibernators, who hide and sleep; migrators, who move to eat, and adaptors, who change and stay.

“Much of what we’re doing is trying to improve vocabulary with students,” Block said.

In music classes for Block’s students, Decker aims to teach basic listening skills essential to work with others, he said. He had already been planning to do dramatizations and movements along with music, so when Block asked him to tie in animals surviving the winter, he adapted the lessons to fit those themes.

“They’re acting out the process of hibernation for example, and they are listening for musical cues for when to take action,” Decker said.

To learn about hibernation, the students moved around in a circle while listening to upbeat music played in major, and when the music slowed down and went to minor, the students also slowed down and pretended to go to sleep.

For migration, two types of music were played as students moved from place to place while flapping their arms like wings. For adaptation, blankets or coats were used to represent animals growing additional fur to stay warm, and students turned around in coordination with musical cues to symbolize change.

“They’re learning to play within confined parameters,” Decker said. “It’s bringing on all these skills they’re going to need to be successful in life, not just music.”

The students are engaged during the lessons, and that’s important, Decker said.

“They seem to be having fun with it and are progressing to where I want them to be,” he said.

For the art portion, Murphy-Pagano worked with Block’s students to make murals and a display of animals that hibernate, migrate and adapt. The students painted animal sketches and trees and added the animals and labels to the background using Velcro.

While working on the project, Murphy-Pagano and the students talked about the differences in texture, color and scale between animals such as a rabbit and a whale, she said.

Murphy-Pagano also worked with ninth-graders in VP-TECH on a project that connected to the unit for Block’s students. The VP-TECH students received background information on what Block’s class was doing and were able to choose an animal that they wanted to design using computer programs.

The best designs for each animal were selected and printed out using three-dimensional printers in the VP-TECH classroom, and Block’s students were able to see the final products.

VP-TECH students Marusic and Smith did such a good job that Murphy-Pagano also asked them to present to Block’s students about how they designed the animals. The younger students were interested throughout the presentation, and some of them had the opportunity to play with the computer programs the VP-TECH students used.

Block said tying in all of the music and art aspects along with her language and instructional lessons, helped make the unit a success for her students.

“Their experience is more real,” Block said. “It’s fun, it’s motivating and it engages them.”




VP-TECH student show special programs student how to use computer program
As part of a unit in Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs teacher Colleen Block’s class about how animals survive the winter, Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School students presented to Block’s students about how to use computer programs to design animals for three-dimensional printing. Pictured here, VP-TECH student Marshall Smith helps Block’s student Haley Perry, of Frankfort-Schuyler, try out the program Smith used.



VP-TECH student show special programs student how to use computer program
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES special programs student Jacob Shingler, of West Canada Valley, tries out a computer program used to design animals for three-dimensional printing with help from Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School student Eliza Marusic.


Murals the students made:


How animals survive the winter murals


How animals survive the winter mural






 
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