May 2018 News
Big Sky High School Interdisciplinary Project

Big Sky High School 9th grade students experienced a unique arts learning opportunity this spring.  A collaboration between the ninth grade cohort teaching team and SPARK! developed into an interdisciplinary project spanning five art forms and four school subject areas.

The Big Sky 9th grade interdisciplinary project grew out of the teaching team's goals to create a positive school climate, connect all students to Big Sky High School, partner with parents and community, and promote interdisciplinary learning.  SPARK! Director, Jackalynn Snow, partnered with the teachers and principal, Natalie Jaeger, to explore ways to reach those goals through an interactive, interdisciplinary project that would engage all students in the cohort.
The process began with establishing a common theme.  All of the ninth grade teachers could connect their curriculum standards to themes of Identity and Belonging, and those themes could also weave through the goals of creating a positive school climate and connecting all students to Big Sky High School.  Identity and Belonging became the umbrella under which the rest of the project would reside.

During the continued conversations with the teacher cohort, connections were made between identity and belonging and the subject areas of Science, English Language Arts, Physical Education, and Health.  Teachers began to weave the themes into classroom lessons. In an English class, for example, students compared and contrasted the impacts of the the social environment on Elie Wiesel in Night with the ways that the current social environment impacts their own sense of identity and belonging.  In Health Enhancement class, the themes addressed the curriculum overview stating that, " Students study important, current ideas and concepts related to improving personal and community health ."

The next step in the process involved learning about arts integration as a method of instruction. The teaching team explored ways that art skills and practices could directly correlate with skills and practices in Science, English, Health, and P.E.. For example, students learning about rock layers and geographical formations could create art mosaics or paintings representing the layers of rocks and minerals and the process by which they were formed.  This idea could extend to address the theme by having them create art in the same medium exploring the layers of their personalities and the environmental impacts that shape their identities.

SPARK! created slideshows and documents for introducing the themes, ideas, and projects to the students.  Each student also received an art journal for creating throughout the project, and supply boxes with multi-media art supplies were filled with paints, papers, adhesives, and other tools for artistic construction.
Students were polled to discover which art forms they would like to explore, and SPARK! artists were brought in to provide focused arts experiences connected to the themes of Identity and Belonging.  Big Sky High School carved time into the schedule for the art days by designing two half-day in-school field trips, wherein students would experience six hours of arts learning and making with a SPARK! artist along with their classroom teachers.  Kate Crouch taught art journaling, Teresa Waldorf directed theatre, Janaina Vierra-Marques taught sculptural art, Naomi Moon Siegel led music composition, and Arts and Above dancers Bruno Augusto and Kate Jordan taught creative movement.

Following the two days of arts learning and exploration with SPARK! artists, the students contributed their newly created works to an evening performance and gallery to which parents were invited.

Communicating personal experiences, writing a song, bonding with classmates, painting, and meeting new friends were some of the highlights listed by students in their reflections of the arts experiences.  Teachers said that the best parts of the experience for them were seeing skills and strengths in students that they may not otherwise have witnessed, and observing as students collaborated with peers that they they hadn't interacted with prior to the project.  It was inspiring seeing students from different social groups collaborating together toward a common goal.

Big Sky High School's Interdisciplinary Project this Spring was a wonderful opportunity for teaching artists, classroom teachers and high school students to collaborate, connect and foster a positive school and community climate. The Freshman class of Spring 2019 will also be participating in this project! We look forward to new facets of interdisciplinary learning and additional arts experiences in the future.


SPARK! Showcase Overview

First Friday, May 4th was the SPARK! 2018 Spring Showcase. The evening was truly a success! There were about 350 people in total attendance and the interactive art proved exciting for children and parents alike. The showcase began with live outside music, raffle and auction items & hands-on art experiences. Then, Tarn Ream and Unity Dance and Drum entertained us with rhythmic sounds of drumming and dancing.  

Next, a documentary created by the Roxy Theater, "The Art of Creating a SPARK! Residency" premiered. This video showcases the SPARK! Artist Residency process and includes interviews with students, MCPS teachers, artists and more! If you missed the documentary, you are welcome to watch it: Documentary HERE! Later on in the showcase, Marc Moss with Tell Us Something helped students tell stories on stage. Finally, Cold Springs & Hawthorne students performed their historical raps which was such an entertaining way to wrap up the evening!

Big thank you to our generous sponsors: Any Given Child, Logjam Presents, Arts Missoula, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, Stockman Bank, First Interstate Bank, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Julius J Franchini Foundation, Montana Arts Council, Missoula County Public Schools, Allegiance. 
Also, thank you again to all those who made auction donations: Zootown Arts Community Center, Missoula County Public Schools, Missoula Children's Theatre, Missoula Art Museum, Arts & Above, Tangled Tones, Clay Studio of Missoula, Tabitha Beard, Areia Berry, Jennifer Ogden, Teresa Waldorf. In addition, thank you to the Washington 8th Grade Band Directed by Matt Tipton, our lovely Volunteers, The Wilma, Students, Parents, Teachers & all Attendees!

 The evening would not have been complete without the help of all of these businesses and individuals.  The SPARK! 2018 Spring Showcase exceeded our expectations and it is truly all thanks to your support and participation. We look forward to next year!
Welcome Sienna!

We are thrilled to welcome Sienna Solberg as our new Excecutive Director of SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning beginning June 1st.
Most recently Solberg has served as Outreach Specialist and Youth Development Coordinator for the Missoula Flagship Program, and before then as a Behavior Specialist at Washington Middle School.  She holds a BA in psychology with a minor in studio fine arts from the University of Montana. In the past decade she has collaborated with numerous community agencies, designed and implemented fundraising and community awareness events, coordinated afterschool programs, organized trainings and professional development, and has served on the Friends of Flagship advisory board.  She takes over this position from Jackalynn Snow, who is moving with her family to Salvador, Brazil, to teach drama at an International School. 
If you would like more information, please call (406)-541-0860
Other News:

May Artist Integration!

As the school year comes to a close, SPARK! Artist Residencies in Missoula County Public Schools have still been in full swing! A poetry residency led by Missoula Writing Collaborative has been taking place in Elementary Schools. Also, Amy Lariviere has been integrating Theatre into Language Arts lessons at Meadow Hill and so much more!

To see a full schedule of teaching artist residencies, check out the SPARK!  Calendar!

Share your SPARK! for the Arts:

Are you interested in sharing with us what has drawn you to the art world? Please share your "SPARK! for the Arts" story on our website, HERE! We will post these to our "News" section once we hear from you.

SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning | (406) 531-1981 | Email | Website