Arts and Education: Dance, fun and learning at Missoula school

Posted at 9:34 AM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 11:34:38-04

MISSOULA – We headed over to Rattlesnake School for this week’s Arts and Education report where learning, fun and dance go hand-in-hand.

A collaboration with SPARK! Ignite Missoula and local dance teachers is bringing the concept of fun and learning to a whole new level

"SPARK! is an initive with the John F. Kennedy learning center, we are 1 of 25 groups in the country where we strive to make art more accessible for kids.  Artists around the county collaborate with classroom teachers to teach art form and art skills along with classroom content," said SPARK! Director Jackalynn Snow.

The second grade class at Rattlesnake was learning about the plane life cycle through dance on the day that we stopped by.

"I teach dance integration, which is teaching movement along with the school curriculum. So today we are integrating science with dance talking about how animals help plants and plants help animals.  So pollination and seed dispersal," dance teaching artist Jordan Dehline Burt said.

The artists and teachers work together to come up with a lesson that closely follows what the students are currently learning. 

"All of Jordan’s lessons follow our curriculum, and they integrate really well with social studies, science, math and just about anything we are learning," second grade teacher Mary Dombrowski told MTN News.

In every lesson Jordan teaches — along with the basic schools skills — she is also teaching dance skills as well.  Which may help these kids learn something that is often very hard to achieve, self-confidence. 

"Some schools I start doing this in kindergarten, first grade or second grade. and I see their comfort with it just grow.  And then sometimes I get the chance to go to fourth grade classes and you see how uncomfortable they are," Dehline Burt said.

"It is foreign to them. I feel like kids that are in this program are a lot more comfortable with their bodies and as they grow and develop that sticks with them and they are a little less worried about what people are thinking of them as they are moving around," she added.