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Specials Team Inspires Creativity at Rocky Mountain Elementary

E. Young, fourth grader at Rocky Mountain

Classes like art, music, and physical education (PE) are a place where many elementary students begin to learn how to express themselves. These classes form an integral part of their school experience. For students like Elijah Young, fourth grader at Rocky Mountain Elementary School, specials is a place “where we can learn how to work together as a team, and we have fun doing it.”

“Anybody can become a musician or an artist, they can be anybody they want to,” shared Ms. Jennifer Goerlitz, music teacher. That’s what the specials team at Rocky Mountain Elementary strives to teach their students every day while also finding new opportunities for collaboration with each other to implement lessons and activities that will benefit their students. “When our students come into the gym, you can see their excitement,” shared Ms. Danita Johnson, PE teacher. “They know it’s a place where they can be free, where they can run, and where they can be loud if they want to.” 

Ms. Jennifer Goerlitz’s class focuses on teaching students “about music that they are familiar with and musicians that may have a similar background with, and that they can relate to.” Ms. Goerlitz uses the students’ interest to guide her instruction. “They don’t have to become a music teacher, or a professional musician when they grow up. I want them to find who they are, and to build those connections with others through music.”

It’s really important for students to learn to express their identity, who they are, and what they value as human. This is something that Ms. Kaley Hinchsliff, art teacher, highlights in class. “The whole idea of the design process is to continue using it throughout their lives. They learn how to brainstorm ideas in class, and then put them into action. It’s a great skill for them to start implementing now,” shared Hinchsliff. “Showing them art from artists that look like them makes a big difference, this allows them to benefit from art beyond the classroom.” 

A student’s creativity, passion, and other life skills are built in these classes. They prepare them for their future by building more confidence in themselves, and giving them the knowledge that they can grow up to become anybody they want to be. “These classes have helped me learn new things and take risks,” shared Young. “I enjoy that we can learn something new everyday, and if there’s a band in middle school, I know I can play the guitar.”