POPS: More Opportunities to Refine Arts Education During Summertime

Summer break is when many educators think about, collaborate, improve, and refine their plans for the upcoming school year. Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS) can provide the needed resources to integrate the arts into those plans. 

POPS is managed by the Utah State Board of Education and sponsored by the Utah State Legislature. The program brings arts education and professional artists to educators and schools for free or subsidized costs. Read on to discover different and accessible ways to integrate dance and visual arts into your classroom, all available through POPS.


Ballet West

Ballet West has a variety of virtual learning opportunities available on its website for educators and students. The student in-theater presentation of Snow White, along with Getting the Pointe Workshops and study guides, helps viewers connect to the arts through an engaging and entertaining presentation of this classic fairy tale.

The virtual presentation of the Ballet West for Children lecture-demonstration Sleeping Beauty provides a broad scope of information about ballet and dance as art forms and professions. This demonstration also provides access to a study guide as well as hands-on Getting the Pointe workshops to enhance the experience.

I CAN DO classes are available for students and teachers who want to get up and move. These short lessons cover a wide variety of core curriculum concepts and are appropriate for multi-grade levels and ages. Happily, these classes can be viewed online multiple times to help improve skills and comprehension.

All of these experiences address the Utah State Core Curriculum, life skills development, and career and college readiness concepts. For more information about all of Ballet West’s virtual educational offerings, please visit https://balletwest.org/outreach.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art

Using art from the museum’s collection, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art’s educators have created grade-specific online learning modules that address different themes. The modules prompt students to create their own artwork. Each workshop fulfills different core learning standards, including science, fine arts, and social studies. 

The museum’s Junior Curators experience is now offered online and will soon be joined by an online Elementary Curators experience. As participants go behind the scenes at NEHMA, curators will explore different ways to think about art and learn about art collection, displaying art, and creating exhibitions. These programs are well adapted to both home and classroom learning and can be undertaken individually or as class projects.  

Alongside the new digital tours of five exhibitions at NEHMA, which are available to everyone on the website, there is a High School Digital Tour Activity, which guides students through the galleries, including prompts for further consideration of the artworks on display and response activities that can be done at home or in a classroom.  


Repertory Dance Theatre

Repertory Dance Theatre has an expanded blog on its website that includes lesson plans, career mentorship, videos of works from RDT’s historical and contemporary library, and also hour-long performances of VOYAGE, RDT’s in-school assembly, and MOSAIC, a tapestry of music and movement from around the world. Teachers of grades K-12 have the opportunity to use the movement lesson plans, which include core subjects, such as science, math, and language arts. Also included are folk dances, technique warm-ups, ballroom, jazz, hip hop, ballet and movement exercises from dance pioneers Ito, Graham, Limon, Humphrey, and Cunningham

RDT dancers and artistic staff have been working to contribute to the site daily and will continue to do so to build a large online education resource. During this challenging time, RDT is prioritizing its efforts to offer teachers the full measure of opportunities in providing dance education to their students. 

Tanner Dance

Tanner Dance at the University of Utah is providing online resources for educators and families this summer. Students, teachers, and families can take a sampling of virtual classes from the Arts-in-Education program on Tanner Dance’s website. Examples of these lessons include rhythm patterns, rocks and shapes, and negative space. A rotating library of past Tanner Dance performances can also be viewed from home.

This summer, Tanner Dance is offering weekly live Zoom classes for toddlers, children, tweens, teens, and adults, as well as Flipgrid camps that include dance technique, improvisation, composition, visual art, and drumming for dancers in grades 1-12. Registration for camps and classes is available at https://tannerdance.utah.edu/programs/summer-session/.
When school resumes, Tanner Dance can provide virtual dance lessons for K-6 classrooms through YouTube or through live distance-learning sessions. For more information, please contact Rachel Kimball at rachel.kimball@utah.edu.

More information on POPS resources can be found at popsutah.org.


Laura Giles is a lover of all things art, a first-grade teacher in Alpine School District, a writer for The Daily Herald newspaper, an Arts Leadership Academy graduate and has earned the Arts Integration Endorsement from Brigham Young University. She can be reached at LauraCGiles@gmail.com


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