Upstate School Paints Different Picture Of Arts Education - WSPA.com

Woodlands Heights Elementary uses visual and performing arts to help students learn math, science, reading and history.

Upstate School Paints Different Picture Of Arts Education

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Woodlands Heights Elementary uses visual and performing arts to help students learn math, science, reading and history. Woodlands Heights Elementary uses visual and performing arts to help students learn math, science, reading and history.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -

Teachers at Woodland Heights Elementary School are getting creative to help their students learn.

In one classroom, it appears that kids are jumping around yelling, but what they're really doing is reciting the seven continents in song and dance.

In another classroom, students are doing the same thing, only they're learning about the different levels of government.

"There is no doubt that it has made a huge difference in how our students perform," said Principal Cindy Pridgen.

Woodland Heights Elementary is an ABC (Arts in Basic Curriculum) Project site, which means faculty are encouraged to incorporate visual arts into the teaching of academic subjects.

"For our vocabulary words, we make up motions," says JoAnn James, a 2nd grade teacher. "They remember what they learn."

"What we have found is through arts integration a lot of times if you teach it, you only teach it once and they get it through acting, singing, and dancing," according to ABC Project Executive Director Christine Fisher.

Woodland Heights became an ABC Project site nine years ago. It was chosen to host this year's statewide ABC Project meeting. More than 100 educators attended and got new ideas from Woodland Heights.

While any district or school can decide whether or not to integrate arts into the common core standards, officials say it doesn't happen overnight. Currently, there are 55 ABC Project sites in South Carolina.

In order to be like Woodland Heights, cooperation and communication between teachers is a must. Schools also need adequate funding. Officials say there are numerous grants available for ABC Project sites.

Studies comparing ABC Project sites to regular schools found that student attendance increases, parents are more involved and even test scores improved.

"We are creating children that are becoming independent learners," Pridgen said.

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