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Student work highlighted at annual Arts Abound showcase

TEACHER DEREK PAPPACENO works with students Logan and Caitlin Cliche at Alton Central's Arts Abound Night. Elizabeth Cantrall. (click for larger version)
April 30, 2014
ALTON — The unified arts (UA) teachers at Alton Central School led their students in putting on an impressive display at their Arts Abound showcase on April 24.

The displays were results of projects the various grades and classes worked on this school year and included a lot more than artwork.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teacher Derek Pappaceno and his eighth grade students decided they wanted to create a version of the playground game four- square at which no one could cheat. This resulted in the creation of an aerial square.

The giant three-dimensional game square is mostly made of PVC pipe, which was generously donated by Home Depot along with volunteer hours from employee Tim Barr and friend Jackie Orosz.

Students spent many hours after school working on the project and according to student Bre Donahue the biggest challenge to building the aerial square was finding a place to paint it.

Her classmate Justin Boyce, on the other hand, felt moving the square without breaking anything was extremely challenging.

Pappaceno stated they are not completely finished with the square. He wants the students to add eye hooks onto the structure so it may double as a giant geo-board.

In the QUEST (question, understand, explore, seek, technology of the 21st century) classroom, Tyler Balint was showing his father Jamey Balint the probability game he and his partner, Trey Renaldi, had programmed.

The boys were responsible for coming up with the questions and graphics to go along with the various topics related to probabilities.

Balint said the topics he and Renaldi cover include pie charts, fractions, basketball and skateboarding.

His teacher, Linda Wilman, who is also the GNT (gifted and talented) enrichment coordinator stated that QUEST is all project- based learning. Half of the program is devoted to GNT students and the other half is used as an enrichment program, which is brought into the content areas and co-taught with regular classroom teachers.

This method allows for the program to reach every student at ACS.

This year the students in second grade did a televised weather forecast, while the fourth graders made a New Hampshire tourism video.

"We try to make real world connections to whatever they do," stated Wilman.

In the case of the fourth grade classes, their project was submitted to a state contest looking for a winning tourism video.

Each of the three fourth grade classes made a one-minute video highlighting the special things to do while in New Hampshire.

They worked collaboratively with other UA teachers, like music, on the project.

Through QUEST a variety of after school programs are offered to ACS students including knitting with a loom, geocaching, skit and improv club, Lego league, chess club and Zumba.

It was obvious Zumba is a big hit with the students since there was a large group excitedly participating in a Zumba session in the gym.

Arts Abound highlighted the many ways in which ACS teachers are getting students to think and be excited about real world learning.

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