As the Olympics kicked off on the international stage in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday, students at Fairley Elementary School held their own celebration.
American flags, winter sports equipment and music welcomed fourth-graders into the school gymnasium, which was abuzz with patriotism and discussion about the winter Olympics.
The collaborative effort among the art, physical education, computer and music teachers highlighted some of the upcoming learning activities that will tie the Olympic theme into the curriculum.
Hoping to get students inspired to become fit, physical education teachers Lynn Halliwell and Scott Leonard are launching a running program, courtesy of an Active Schools
Acceleration Project grant. The initiative began Thursday in conjunction with the Olympic kickoff events.
“This is a privilege,” Halliwell told the students of the program. “Not all schools have this opportunity.”
Halliwell also stressed the importance of repetition and routine when it comes to being physically fit.
“The Olympic athletes didn’t just roll out of bed to get there. They had to work hard,” Halliwell said.
While fitness was a large component of Thursday’s kickoff event, students also learned about the significant roles that art and music play in the Olympics.
Music teacher Pam Giovannetti captivated the students with a story of her participation in the 1980 Olympics. While in college at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Giovannetti and her classmates performed during opening and closing ceremonies and had the opportunity to watch several events.
The Olympics, Giovannetti said, serve as a melting pot of people and cultures, and music is a critical part of that.
Art teacher Jeannette Gillett echoed Giovannetti’s sentiments, noting that while the athletes are the stars of the show, the behind-the-scenes work of designers and artists is vital to the marketing and imagery of the Olympics. She discussed the meaning of the Olympic flag and also talked about Russian artwork.
Gillett showed students Faberge eggs, which were popular gifts to the Russian czars in the early 1900s.
She provided a brief lesson about the art form and will teach the fourth graders more about Faberge eggs during an upcoming unit.
Whether the students are more interested in art, music or athletics, Thursday’s event touched on a little bit of everything.
“This is a great cross-curricular effort,” Giovannetti said. “It’s nice to be able to incorporate a common theme into our lessons.”