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Opening Minds through the Arts

Opening Minds through the Arts | 2025 E. Winsett, Tucson, AZ 85719 | (520) 225-4900

How OMA Works

Arts integration curriculum at each grade level is determined by brain-based research, multi-intelligence learning and the neurological development of children.

A team of professional art integration specialists, teaching artists and classroom teachers work with all students in an OMA School.

Partnerships with artists, arts organizations and the University of Arizona strengthen instruction and promote collaborate bonds in the community.

The Tucson Unified OMA program recharges educators' passion for teaching and assists them in developing techniques that fully engage the multiple intelligences of all students.

  • Kindergarten
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Listening - Auditory acuity and perceptual development

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Instrumental Ensembles - Wind or string trios play classical and contemporary music that align with classroom topics

    Rationale

    Musical training increases sensitivity to & recognition of sounds and patterns, which leads to oral language and literacy development.

     

  • 1st Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Speaking - Language acquisition - perceptual development is linked to language development particularly important for English-language learners

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Opera Duo - After listening to great works of opera sung by the duo, students create their own story, lyrics, and music to stage and perform

    Rationale - Opera links writing and music by focusing on comprehension and composition.  A phrase in music is comparable to a sentence.  Several phrases = a paragraph; longer musical works = chapters or an entire book.

     

  • 2nd Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Physical Movement and Control (Kinesthetic awareness) and Critical Thinking

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Creative Movement - Dance Artist help students to interpret and respond to music while collaborating and solving problems creatively

    Rationale - Physical movement to spoken language builds bridges of understanding and internalization required for literacy.  Students interpret and respond to a diversity of dance patterns and music thus expanding their vocabularies, enhancing listening/viewing skills and begin thinking critically.

  • 3rd Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Self-expression, teamwork, problem solving and creativity (Collaboration and improvisation)

    Teaching Artist: Sample Instructional Method

    Recorder & Keyboard - Daily shared reading of musical scores and composing and improvising original works

    Rationale

    Concrete reasoning occurs with listening, processing visual information, and coordinating movement.  Phonics, musical notation and math link auditory centers to left and right parts of the brain.

  • 4th Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Abstract Reasoning that combine listening and physical skills (Development of fine motor skills)

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Violin and Thematic Study, Professional Performance/Exhibit Experiences

    Rationale

    Use of fine motor and auditory skills that work together to decode, create, perform, and evaluate.  The bridge between the right/left sides of the brain complete its development, allowing both hemispheres to respond to an event simultaneously.

  • 5th Grade
    Skill matched with Neurological Development

    Integration of all K-5 skills - Multi-modal learning; understanding of the process through research, creation and the final product

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Wind/String selected by students and Thematic Study through original stories and compositions, Professional Performance/Exhibit Experiences

    Rationale

    Discrimination skills allow students to respond to the arts attending performances and design an integrated unit through inquiry based learning to demonstrate multi-modal learning.

  • 6th Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Analysis and Parallel Thinking - Dissecting, comparing, contrasting to understand larger patterns of connections

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Instrumental Ensemble music and Theater Arts are analyzed and compared through exploring multiple genres of Performance, preparation and production

    Rationale

    Categorization and comparison/contrast analysis skills enable the student to comprehend parallel patterns of creation among forms and genres, deepening an appreciation of connections and interdisciplinary relationships.  Foundations for personal expression are substantiated.

  • 7th Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Synthesis and Movement toward Evaluation - Modeling adaptive behavior understanding and application through personal expression and creativity in communal setting

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Dance Forms and Public Performance are placed within historical setting of human cultural expression and Identity

    Rationale

    Comparison of historical and cultural forms of dance enhance understandings of place and identity, collaboration and cooperation in creation, problem solving and the importance of the appreciation of multiple perspectives in solidifying identity and securing tolerance and the celebration of difference.

  • 8th Grade
    Skill Matched with Neurological Development

    Synthesis and Evaluation - Constructive criticism and responsibility taken for decisions and collaboration.  Development of discernment and moral and ethical values

    Teaching Artists: Sample Instructional Method

    Visual Arts and Technology integrated with all core curricular areas with emphasis on interdisciplinary connections and personal and communal creativity and responsibility

    Rationale

    Critical Analysis/Interpretive skills encourage the defense/justification of creative expression while enabling productive appraisal of the quality of a piece of art or performance.  Technology used to enable creativity.  Ability to discern moral and ethical issues and choices.  Development of strong sense of identity and social place.  Responsibility for decisions and behavior, personal and communal.

OMA Skills & Instruction Per Grade Level
Information

Student and teacher working at desk     students and teacher stretching arms out     student playing keyboard     violin teacher with students