Willard South First Graders Become Rock Stars, with Help from Placeworks

Earlier this year, the Placeworks Art Initiative added a bona fide local musician to their ranks of teaching artists. Philip Dickey, drummer and songwriter for the local band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin,  has traveled the world with the group, which were recently named as cultural ambassadors to Russia by the U.S State Department. Phil, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University has taught songwriting camps for elementary and middle school students, bring real-word musical experience into Ozarks classrooms when he makes a Placeworks visit.

In October, the mission took him to the classroom of Willard South Elementary music teacher Michelle Christensen. The mission: Write, perform and shoot a video for an original song for each of the school’s four first-grade classes during their music class visits. Dickey edited the videos and presented them to the classes earlier this month.

Each class–working from the same basic music–had their own video, and the results are hysterically cute from start to finish. Along the way they learned the basics of music and songwriting, and brainstormed and decided as a group on lyrics and themes.

Enjoy the Willard South Elementary first graders:

“Freeze Tag”

“Bear Tag”

“Shark Tag”

and… “Toilet Tag”

Placeworks projects combine learning with other aspects of a classroom’s curriculum. The teaching artists work with teachers to design a program that fits their students’ needs. The program is free, requiring only time and space, and a forum for displaying student work, to make it happen. Applications for the 2014-15 school year will be available next spring.

Placeworks programming is made possible by the Rural Schools Partnership and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks through the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation through Commerce Trust Company.  Additionally, Placeworks is proud to announce newly developed partnerships with the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the Springfield Art Museum and the Southwest Missouri Museum Associates (SMMA).