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Enhancing Lessons Through the Arts at Agnes G. Hodge Public School

A group of school-age children works with art supplies

There is no shortage of extracurricular options available to students at Agnes G. Hodge Public School, but the arts is always a favourite, and this year what’s really piqued the interest of many is the option of learning to play a musical instrument.

“Students have the privilege of learning about music with teacher Judy Muir, and get really excited about the assortment of creative options that she organizes throughout the year,” said Heather Knill-Grriesser, Principal at Agnes Hodge. “At any time, you can walk through the doors of the school and hear students from all grades playing instruments, singing, or and collaborating on creative activities during their nutritional breaks.”

Whether it be bucket drumming, band, choir practice, taking part in the Ukulele Crew, or the Art Club, there is something for everyone. Teaching staff, too, are getting involved, and seeing the benefits of incorporating the arts into lesson planning.

“Mrs. Muir works closely with classroom teachers to enhance subject areas they are already learning about through the arts,” said Knill-Griesser. “The opportunities for cross-curricular engagement and richer understanding of the content is really valuable.”

A recent lesson asked the question, can water make music? The lesson blended literacy (making connections), math (measuring length and capacity, ordering and patterning), science (sound and material), collaboration and problem solving. By looking at these lessons through music, using boomwhackers and xylophones and exploring steps and pitches, the usual subjects were brought to life in new ways.

Music is finding a logical application in science classes, as students explore how instruments’ size, shape, and materials change sounds. Other classes are creating music through the Makerspace ideology, and using a digital platform to compose their own pieces, incorporating a variety of sounds and beat patterns.

This focus on the arts is helping students make connections with others and showcase their creative interests, which is an exciting extension of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan and its Well-Being indicator, striving to promote environments that recognize the well-being of mind, body, emotion, and spirit. It’s also helping students achievement academically by creating new ways to access information and build knowledge in other subject areas – a goal of the Multi-Year Plan’s Achievement indicator. All of it is music to the ears of the school’s dedicated staff.