State adopts new fine arts standards

FDSH teacher: Standards aren’t new to local schools

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Grace Champagne, a sophomore at Fort Dodge Senior High, left, and Ona Roe, a junior, rehearse during Kim Wankum’s women’s chorale class recently.

Kim Wankum has her students focused on the process musicians engage in just as much as the end product such as a concert.

Wankum is a music teacher at Fort Dodge Senior High.

That focus aligns with new fine arts standards adopted by the state.

Fine arts generally include visual arts, music, theater, dance, and media arts.

The standards include four main categories: creating, performing, responding, and connecting.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Kim Wankum, FDSH music teacher, performs with her students at the school recently.

The Iowa State Board of Education officially adopted the standards Nov. 15 for students in preschool through 12th grade.

Wankum has taught for 12 years. She has spent the past four at FDSH.

She teaches women’s chorale, vox femina, advanced vocal techniques, and private lessons.

Wankum said the standards are nothing new for teachers.

“Fort Dodge music teachers adopted these standards when we began our Professional Learning Community work in the 2015-2016 school year,” she said in a written statement. “We spent a year developing our power standards, our guaranteed and viable curriculum that every student will learn at each grade level.”

According to Wankum, each unit of study does not require each standard to be addressed, but the standards should be taught throughout the school year.

At the high school, students are asked to complete a concert reflection form where they assess their own individual and ensemble performance.

Wankum’s students perform or present on a daily basis through rehearsal.

“We perform music every day and work towards the best possible performance they can achieve at that time,” she said.

Every Friday she offers students the chance to perform in front of classmates through Supertastic Dodger Sing Time.

That’s where students sign up to sing, play an instrument, or dance in front of their peers.

Students respond through guided questions and partner work, she said.

Connections occur during concerts, but also with one another, according to Wankum.

“I have students read through their song lyrics and draw a picture to represent each verse,” she said. “We also make vocabulary connections within the lyrics as many words may have different meanings depending on different contexts.”

Wankum said one of her goals is to help create lifelong musicians.

“I am working hard to continue incorporating more creating and responding during our rehearsal time,” she said. “But I also want my students to be lifelong musicians who can differentiate between good and poor performances as an audience member, perform a song for a life event such as a wedding, understand music of all cultures, and appreciate the benefits of music in daily life.”