Tag Archives: St. Louis

RPDC: Take a Cultural Plunge this Summer!

Blog post by Marlow Barton, MELL Instructional Specialist

St. Louis provides many opportunities to explore the different cultures of our students this summer!

blog post byOn a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, I noticed large, colorful and interesting lanterns being placed all over the garden for the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival. I began to reflect upon the Chinese speaking ELL children I had in my classes when I taught English to children in various districts around St. Louis and how much I enjoyed having them as students. I loved learning about their families and cultural backgrounds.

As I reflected, I started to wonder what the Chinese population is in St. Louis as I have noticed many activities this summer about Chinese culture. According to the Chinese Culture and Education Foundation, “various unofficial estimates show the figure from 15,000 to 20,000, among which a predominant majority reside in suburban communities and constitutes one percent of the total suburban population of St. Louis.”

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Magic House is sponsoring Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucious. Can’t get enough of Chinese culture? Check out the Dragon Boat Races at Creve Coeur Lake!

International Institute | Wayne Crosslin
photo courtesy of the International Institute, Wayne Crosslin

If you are teaching summer school, or tutoring this summer, make sure to check out a cultural artifacts kit from the Office of International Studies at UMSL (cislibrary@umsl.edu). UMSL has kits from many countries, including one from China.

Want to experience other cultures? Try the Festival of Nations from the International Institute of Saint Louis or the Japanese Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum called Creatures Great and Small.

All of this got me thinking it would be fun to try to experience something from each of the countries where my students and their families originated. So don’t sit around inside all summer- take a trip around the world right here in our own city!

Outdoor Learning Lab

Voyage of Learning Teachers’ Academy is a summer program for teachers from the St. Louis area that builds connections between students, teachers, the Voyager institutions and cultural institutions in Forest Park. Throughout the eight days of intensive professional development programming, the instructional team emphasizes knowledge, skills, and resources essential to effective experiential education, with the ultimate goal of encouraging teachers to utilize Forest Park as a natural extension of the classroom.

fp-r-allen-home-spring-2014To date, this Forest Park Forever program has trained 365 teachers to incorporate outdoor learning into their classes, impacting 70,000 students throughout the region. Teachers are encouraged to participate in teams from their schools.  Voyage of Learning:

  • Builds teachers’ skills
  • Promotes interdisciplinary approaches
  • Aligns with “Show Me” Standards
  • Creates pool of resources

For teachers, the program offers:

  • 5 PDU credits
  • 3 Graduate Credits available through UMSL
  • Transportation/Bus Funds for class trips


  • Voyagers Rendezvous, June 24, 2014 (Attendance Optional)
  • Orientation & Reception, July 15 2014, 4:00-7:30 pm
  • Academy, July 16-25, 2014, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn more at their website, and see more images like the one above, at www.forestparkforever.org/education.

Offering Schools New Links to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

Cooperating School Districts is pleased to partner with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University for a  unique videoconference experience for 8-12th grade students, their teachers, or other adult learners. This interactive videoconference is free, and could be a great curriculum supplement for language arts classes, social studies classes or art (history) classes. History, poetry, plus much more are covered.  (This would be a great addition to summer school curriculum).

History, Heroes, and Symbolism: Visual Analysis of George Caleb Bingham’s Iconic Painting Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap

Program Description
American artist and Missouri native George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879) is known and regarded for his genre paintings focused on the then Western frontier that feature the cities, people, and life along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Fascinated with Daniel Boone and the heroic stories of his life, Bingham’s Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap painted in 1851-52, is considered one of his most iconic works. Telling the story of the 1777 event, this painting is full of symbolism and classical art historical references. In this program, we will explore the painting compositionally, historically, and delve deeper into the symbolism represented.


  1. To introduce students to visual analysis.
  2. To explore the historical, religious, and classical references represented in Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap.
  3. To introduce students to Ekphrastic poetry.
  4. To provide students with the tools to thoroughly examine works of art and to learn to look deeper.

Program Format

  1. Intro video to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
  2. Introduce George Caleb Bingham and Daniel Boone
  3. Explore the painting compositionally using known art elements and design principles
  4. Discover references to classic Greek and Roman art history
  5. Discuss the religious symbolism and Daniel Boone as hero
  6. Discuss the painting as it relates to Manifest Destiny
  7. Incorporate the writing of an Ekphrastic poem
  8. Wrap up/question and answers

Program Length 1 hour; this program is available by request only
Date/Time Notes
this program is available on Tuesdays only; please request at least 2-3 weeks before desired date

If you have questions, or would like to register, contact Diane Tinucci.

Stories of the Civil Rights Movement Videoconference

History in the First Person: Stories of the Civil Rights Movement
Dates: February 9, 2012 | Times: 10-11:00 a.m. or 1-2:00 p.m. CT
Grade Levels: 5-10 | Cost:  NO CHARGE | Registration Required

Take your study of the Civil Rights Movement to individuals who participated in the struggle.  Interact via videoconference with three individuals whose actions made a difference in civil rights for people in their native St. Louis as well as throughout the nation.

Program Description from HEC-TV Live!:
What was it like to grow up black in America in the 1940s, 50s and 60s? What did it mean when words like “equality” and “justice” seemed to have a different meaning for you than for others in American society? What was it like to be inspired by leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Why would you have chosen to participate in the struggle for Civil Rights?  For this very special program, take your study of American history and the Civil Rights Movement in America to the individuals who participated in the struggle.  Ask these questions and more as you interact with three individuals whose actions made a difference in civil rights for people in their native St. Louis as well as throughout the nation.

Our focus in this program will not be exploring the details of America’s struggle for Civil Rights throughout its history, but it will be to provide students the rare and important opportunity to speak directly with those who lived during one chapter in that time and are excited to share their experiences with others. What would your students like to know about what it was like to live and work during this time?  Our guests for both programs were participants in CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), the St. Louis Jefferson Bank boycott of 1963, the 1964 protest for minority employment opportunities at the Gateway Arch, and the creation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday as well as many other events related to Civil Rights.  These four main topics will be used as examples for students to provide both content and context and also an organizational framework for the program.  Web resources related to these events as well as short biographies of our guests are included in the pre-program activities for students to use to prepare for the program and develop questions to ask the guests during the program.

This program is the first in a recurring series of HEC-TV Live! programs dealing with stories of the Civil Rights Movement in America. Subsequent programs will provide students the opportunity to interact with individuals who made significant contributions in the struggle for rights for other minority groups and women.  If you’d like to be placed on our HEC-TV Live! e-list to receive updates about future programs in the series, please e-mail us at live@hectv.org.

SMART Board Class Overflows!!

Once again the Virtual Learning Center‘s SMART Board class is full!  Our Technology Enhanced Learning Environment, usually referred to as the tele, has educational technology classes, workshops & academies a few times per week.  “This is always a popular class,” said Martha Bogart, the instructor in today’s workshop.  Many classrooms around the St. Louis area are installing interactive white boards as a new & improved method of teaching and interacting with students.  SMART has several studies that show the benefits of using interactive whiteboards.  Further research supports the increase in student learning and motivation.

Teachers, along with administrators from Lutheran North, Ladue, Jonesburg, Meramec Valley & New City, came together to learn about how to integrate this technology into the classroom.  The basics of the SMART Board were covered in this class.  All VLC classes and academies are paperless and handouts are provided in the CSD Tech PD Moodle so teachers can access 24/7.  Click here to find out when the next class will be held.  You can also check to see the VLC’s other technology courses such as Podcasting, Power Point, Moodle, Promethean Boards, Free Online Resources, Internet Safety, and more.