Rock And Rhythm + Art = Awesome?

Editor’s Note:  Students in Mr. Key’s Language Arts class recently completed a newspaper story assignment in which they covered a story concerning life at Jefferson MS.  Today’s story is another in a series that we will reprint here.    Enjoy!

By: Paige A.

Some students at Jefferson Middle School are torn between Rock and Rhythm with Mr. Janov, and Art with Ms. Denisson. To rectify this dilemma, an idea has been floating around about combining the two classes in some way.

Mr. Janov says, “Ms. Denisson and I have been discussing the possibility of combining Art and Rock and Rhythm Band students.” Because of the horrible pain and suffering that comes when having to choose between Rock and Rhythm and Art, the plan would allow students to take both simultaneously (although how this is going to be done is still being decided).

Most affected 8th graders want this to happen before they leave, and it most likely will.  One idea originated a few years ago, when Jefferson had a Language Arts teacher named Mr. Svennungsen. He also team-taught a class called Stage Arts with Mr. Janov, who was teaching Drama at the time. In Stage Arts the students could make their own props and scenery,  write their own scripts, and even go to what is now the Rock and Rhythm band room to make their own music and sound effects for their performances.

The problem was that  by 2001 Rock and Rhythm was growing so big that Mr. Janov had to choose between it and teaching Drama.  Obviously he chose Rock and Rhythm, but now eleven years later the original concept of the combination of Drama, Art and Rock and Rhythm has resurfaced bringing smiles and fond memories.

Just last year Mr. Janov and Ms. Denisson asked the administration if they could become a Professional Learning Community (PLC). They tried to get the two classes together in some form. This is when the idea of students making their own instruments came into the mix. Mr. Janov took a graduate class where the professor taught him how to make his own musical instruments. This is where Mr. Janov made his three-string, wood and cardboard flying V guitar (along with a small wooden xylophone).

“When I was in school, electives really kept me going, so I know a lot of students that kind of feel that way too. There are just so many cool things to learn about in the world,” says Ms. Denisson.

One idea is to have  Ms. Denisson and Mr. Janov buy kits so that students can make their own instruments;  however, this would be very expensive. To solve this financial problem, both teachers are working on a grant that would hopefully get this idea to happen.


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