Plymouth 4th graders share spotlight

Fourth-graders from four Plymouth schools recently combined for a pilot artist-in-resident presentation in a first-of-its-kind citywide collaboration.

March Fourth: A Celebration of 4th Grade featured the fourthgraders from Fairview, Horizon, Parkview and St. John the Baptist during two performances March 11 in the Plymouth High School auditorium.

The presentation, sponsored by parent-teacher organizations at the schools, included fourth-grade students from the classrooms of Christina Bestul, Angela Raflik, Jaclyn Ratajczak, Erin Babiarz, Peggi Gnadt, Justin Lloyd, Michael Nee and Andrew Arentsen. The residency was conducted by Patty Talen.

About 160 students from eight classes participated, all wearing red, white or blue shirts and blue jeans. They combined for the opening number and the fi- nale, filling the stage from wing to wing. Each class also presented its own segment of the show using shared stools, steps and benches and different props.

The topics for the segments were based on teacher suggestions, said Mrs. Talen, who wanted to explore the fourth-grade curriculum via the performing arts. Topics included iconic Americana, U.S. presidents, Native Americans, Paul Bunyan and real lumberjacks, Wisconsin facts and stories, pioneers, Great Lakes and other water resources, and sustainability through conservation.

The effort was a wonderful opportunity for teachers and students from various schools to work together and get to know one another, Talen said, noting that most of the students will attend middle school together next year.

She also hopes the students, many of whom had never been on stage, learned life skills such as self-esteem, self-confidence and communication skills, which will help them in the next level of education and throughout their lives.

The pilot program was coordinated by principals Amy Flood, Amy Nelson, Todd Hunt and John Mather.

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