Woodmoor earns major award
by Anne Schefter
An innovative project combining music and physical education at Woodmoor Elementary School has caught public attention and earned a Golden Apple Award for educational excellence.
"It's really, really exciting to have your program recognized," said Renee Colleran, physical education teacher at the school and one of the developers of "Integrated Music & P.E."
Colleran teamed with music teacher Sharon Potts to formulate the program. They were later joined by Patti Bagnall, another music teacher.
"We realized how many areas we overlapped in rhythm and beat," Colleran said. "As an intergration team, Sharon, Patti and I do the creating, gelling and making the program work," she explained.
The lively program integrates children's natural love of music with physical activity. Activities are coordinated with school-wide programs and teacher-developed themes.
For example, the teachers recently staged a hoedown, using Western songs and a scatter square dance that allowed all the children to participate.
Manipulatives, such as scarves and balls, and musical instruments like drums are often utilized in the integrated classes which are held each Friday, said Colleran.
Demonstration nights show parents what their children are learning and serve as the times "when every child's a star," Colleran said.
On a recent demonstration night, "Jungle Journey," children wended their way through a "jungle" obstacle course. It was a hit with both parents and students alike, added the teacher.
The demonstration night was the culmination of a month-long, schoolwide integration of studies on jungle topics. While the integrated music-P.E. students choreographed a jungle dance, science classes studied rainforests and endangered species. Language Arts classes wrote poetry and stories on the same topics, art classes crafted animal masks, and students used computers to research their subjects.
Woodmoor's Integrated Music & P.E. program and nine other Golden Apple winners from various schools will be honored at an awards ceremony to be held in Seattle on Jan. 5. Woodmoor's project will receive $500. Pemco Financial Center will underwrite 10 student scholarships totaling $30,000 in honor of the Golden Apple recipients.
The Golden Apple Awards were established in 1992 to recognize outstanding teaching and educational innovation in the state. Parents, students, teachers and community leaders submitted 315 entries this year. The winners were selected by a panel of community and education leaders.
The awards were sponsored by KCTS/9 in partnership with KYVE/Yakima, KSPS/Spokane, and Pemco Financial Center.