RAM Talks Art: Free Teacher Open House at Riverfront Museum Park Oct. 15

By Stacey Sauer

Education Coordinator, Rockford Art Museum

The school year is well under way. Many teachers have spent their summer planning for the upcoming year, generating lesson ideas and embellishing their classrooms with decorations that are staples of any schoolroom (apples and pencils, anyone?). However, for many teachers and homeschool parents, finding the right activity to supplement their lessons can be difficult.

Have you considered how local cultural organizations can help? Local museums and cultural organizations are a fun and easy way to supplement your curriculum, whether through performances, field trips or outreach opportunities. Thursday, Oct. 15, stop by Riverfront Museum Park to visit the Teacher Open House and see what some local museums and organizations have to offer.

The free Teacher Open House is held every year at Riverfront Museum Park, and this year will have seven local museums and cultural organizations represented. This is a one-stop opportunity to explore all of the educational offerings that these organizations have to offer. With so many choices, you will be sure to find something to supplement your lesson plans.

Would you like your students to learn more about archaeology or natural science? Check out the Burpee Museum of Natural History, and learn about their fossil or archaeology tours and workshops. Ask them about their museum boxes as well (if you can’t go to the museum, bring the museum to you!). Is science a large focus in your curriculum? Discovery Center Museum (DC) offers focused field trips and demonstrations that will hold your students’ interest as they learn important science concepts.

Have you heard about Rockford’s Ethnic Heritage Museum? Local history comes alive at this museum, which is housed in a home built in 1850. Here, you will be able to explore galleries devoted to the primary immigrant groups that settled in southwest Rockford. Let your students examine early maps of Rockford, everyday items, vintage clothing and more to help them learn about Old World traditions and customs.

Are you a teacher who is looking to increase the presence of art in your classroom? Stop by Rockford Art Museum’s (RAM) table, and pick up some information about Art Reach. This outreach program—which began as the Junior League’s Picture Lady program—offers 90 art portfolios in more than 30 different themes. You can check out up to three portfolios at a time, for up to three months each. Why not utilize this completely free resource to create a mini art gallery in your room?

Many teachers are limited to a handful of field trips each year. If you are looking to get more for your money, stop in and learn about collaborative field trip opportunities. These include Terrific Tuesdays and Fabulous Fine Arts Fridays. On a Terrific Tuesday field trip, your students will participate in themed classes presented by DC, RAM and Rockford Dance Company. This immersive and diverse educational experience will expressively engage students’ bodies and minds in science and art. On a Fabulous Fine Arts Friday field trip, your students will work with RAM, Rockford Dance Company, and Rockford Symphony Orchestra to explore how these three disciplines are interrelated. This year’s Fabulous Fine Arts Friday theme is Inspired Stories: Tales the Arts Tell, which will teach your students how the elements of art, music and dance all relate to skills needed in language.

The 2009 Teacher Open House will be held Oct. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Admission is free. Stop in and enjoy food and drink while you learn what your local cultural organizations have to offer. Stop in for a moment, or stay the whole time!

Contact Rockford Art Museum Education Coordinator Stacey Sauer at ssauer@rockfordartmuseum.org.

From the October 14-20, 2009 issue

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