With fresh snow as a backdrop to their adventures, Allendale fifth graders struck out to explore Grand Rapids on their February Fine Arts Day. Elementary art, music, Spanish, and physical education teachers partnered with classroom educators to create a well-rounded field trip that tied multiple curriculum strands together into a cohesive experience. Departing first thing in the morning, the day was packed with learning opportunities ranging from music to Mexican food!
The group made stops at:
- The Grand Rapids Symphony
- The Grand Rapids Art Museum
- Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Restaurant)
- Rosa Parks Circle for ice skating
Students were visibly happy upon returning, chattering eagerly about their trip with the wheels still spinning wildly under mops of hair and swinging pony tails.
Kaylyn Whitten beamed when she described the symphony concert, “The musicians were playing Harry Potter music! I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I couldn’t believe they were playing it the day we were there. We had learned about a lot of composers at school, but I hadn’t learned about that one!”
Dakota Riemersma agreed, “I was surprised by the enthusiasm of the people playing the music. They even stopped for a slideshow discussion and read poetry to us!”
“We had just studied Beethoven in school and it was cool to hear that music being played,” commented Rory MacGeorge.
The kids bubbled over with excitement, sharing highlights from the art museum, connecting existing projects to ones debuted at ArtPrize, and discussing new exhibits. They also shared how they were instructed to order their lunch in Spanish to native speakers!
Ice skating at Rosa Parks provided a unique opportunity for the fifth graders to accomplish something difficult. Some students, like Dakota, have been skating for years, while others had never been in ice skates at all. Regardless of skill level, spinning and circling the rink incorporated physical education, strength building, and fresh air into the day.
Teacher Gwen Luban shared her own highlight, “At our last stop for the day, one of my students said, “I am so tired.” I asked him why he was so tired. He said, “I’m just trying to take it all in.” What a great experience for many of our students. Families are busy and sometimes we forget about the arts and the impact they have in our lives.”
She went on to sum up the day perfectly:
“There is no substitution for hands-on learning such as this. Students get to touch, see, hear, smell, and feel the experience. It is unlike any understanding that might happen if they were to watch a video or listen to someone retell an experience. Many of our students have never ice skated or seen a live symphony. Some have never eaten in an authentic Mexican restaurant or ever been to an art museum. The West Michigan area has so much to offer. We are blessed to have our students be able to experience such a great trip.”