Last updated: December 03. 2013 10:07AM - 541 Views
Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer



Emily M. Hobbs/Sampson IndependentStudent artwork is displayed in the hallways of Midway Middle School, a product of the Art of Collaboration program. The students learned about ancient Egypt and their burial traditions. These painted sarcophagi are examples of the bridge between social studies and the visual arts.
Emily M. Hobbs/Sampson IndependentStudent artwork is displayed in the hallways of Midway Middle School, a product of the Art of Collaboration program. The students learned about ancient Egypt and their burial traditions. These painted sarcophagi are examples of the bridge between social studies and the visual arts.
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Midway Middle is making new connections through art, strengthening student experiences and offering yet another new approach to learning.


The objectives of the Art of Collaboration program are to benefit both the teachers and the students. Teachers are encouraged by the program to utilize visual arts resources in order to strategically plan and implement an integrated curriculum. Student learning is strengthened through a change in teaching strategy that increases their motivation to learn, say staff members, and it also keeps them active in the learning process.


Midway Middle School is having this unique opportunity to make the connection in interdisciplinary studies that both enriches the learning experience for students and provides them with a blending of knowledge from different disciplines that otherwise would not likely be put together.


The Art of Collaboration program, which is through the NC Museum of Art, has also enriched the staff at the school. Educators were able to contribute more to the students through this program which included a summer staff development workshop as well as other quarterly workshops for the teachers.


Lesley Allen, a visual arts teacher at Midway Middle, said that the program has really benefited her students.


At the end of last year, the principal of their school, John Goode, asked the staff if they were interested in participating in the program. The answer was a resounding yes. Goode then approached each of those involved in the program individually and asked them if they could go to the summer workshop sessions for training.


Elizabeth King, Bonnie Allen, Ryan Bard, Lesley Allen, Barbara Oats and Karen Kinlaw all came on board with this collaboration effort and they have all been working diligently on their projects since. The group has to meet regularly and they all said that they are enjoying working on these projects with the students.


“It is great to be able to collaborate and integrate the curriculum together,” said Lesley Allen. She explained that the whole program culminates on the creation of a portfolio of the student’s artwork. The sixth graders visited the NC Museum of Art, a once in a lifetime experience for many of the students, according to educators.


The team also received $8,000 for technical equipment, money that used to purchase document cameras. The technology is helping the staff expose all students to visual arts in all subjects. Allen said their goal is to expose them to as much as they can while incorporating it into the classroom. The group said that so far they feel that the program has been really successful for the students and they are continuing to learn and improve every day.


“As teachers, we all teach the way we are accustomed to teaching,” said Allen. “This program helps us to think outside the box in our teaching concepts.” The program is giving a tremendous benefit to students and it encourages the students to show off their talents, and it is even more beneficial for students that may have learning disabilities she said.


The Art of Collaboration program’s goal is to teach 21st century thinking skills to students with a particular focus on group work and critical thinking skills. Allen said it is particularly important for students to work on applying these newly honed skills to real world problems.


“That’s art and that’s how you generate it,” she said. “For these students the light bulbs come on.” She said that since starting the program the students have seemed more excited and many are choosing to independent research on their own. She saw students get excited about learning that usually weren’t. The students loved painting and working on their projects.


“Hopefully through these projects people will better understand the value of art,” said Allen. That value will be seen in the coming weeks as student work on projects that encompass math and art skills in what she called a symmetry equation project. Lesley Allen can be reached by calling Midway Middle School at 910-567-5879.


This program was sponsored by the NC Museum of Art and is funded by a Wellsfargo grant. For more information on the program visit www.ncartmuseum.org


Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at ebrown@civitasmedia.com

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