Marna Stalcup: One example might be a first-grade classroom that was really interested in studying cycles in nature. And the teacher had identified a text, and this was in particular to the water cycle, and I believe the text was called, Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean. It was appropriate for a first-grade classroom. And the teaching artist that they selected as a visual artist, who does a lot of print making. So they really began to see the notion of cycles in nature as very similar to the cycle of print-making. And the learning that occurred in that classroom-- and I had the pleasure of being there a couple of times was really remarkable as the light bulbs went off for children seeing that, "I can create this plate. And I can print multiple times. And every time it might look a little different, but it's all the same process, just as in nature, and in the water cycle. It repeats itself over and over again. It may change a little bit, it may be snow one day, rain another, but the process is the same." So it was just amazing to see the learning for children and being able to connect those processes between the arts and between a science concept.
Jo Reed: Another school that participated in the program, the Quatama School. It brought Oregon Ballet Theatre into its classrooms. Tell us about that.
Marna Stalcup: Well, this is a really interesting scenario. This is a school that has been identified as a STEM school -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, by a local partnership initiative. And they decided that they really moved their work into the STEAM field, adding the "A" for the Arts. So in this sixth-grade classroom, the students were studying the water cycle. Not that that's all we teach in the Pacific Northwest! But it was ironic that these two particular schools focused on a similar topic. But the artists came in and really helped students to improvise movement, and to collaborate without pre-planning and talking, but just through observation of body and movement, and to physicalize the water cycle. These are sixth-grade boys and girls, and you would typically think the eyes would be rolling, and arms would be crossed, and they would be unwilling to participate. But every single child was a full participant. The teacher then took that learning when the artist wasn't present, and they were studying water molecules, and the students were sitting in chairs. Before you knew it, they were up and demonstrating with their bodies what water molecules do when they condense, and when they expand, and they were again, physicalizing that, so that the concepts were really thoroughly understood.
In this excerpt from the podcast, Stalcup gives us examples of The Right Brain Initiative at work. [2:50]