Marshall OMA

OMA Information
What is OMA?
Opening Minds through the Arts, OMA, is a nationally known arts integration program that was developed right here in TUSD. The program is an innovative approach to learning using the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual art) to teach math, reading and writing.

Why OMA works?
A team of professional Arts Integration Specialists, Teaching Artists, and classroom teachers work with all students in OMA schools. Each lesson integrates or connects the grade-level curriculum with one of the four art forms to reinforce or enhance what is currently being taught in the classroom. Rather than OMA being "in addition to" the responsibilities of the classroom teacher, arts integration lessons are used to replace a lesson.

How does that work?
Let’s take the concept of Fractions taught during a regular math lesson. The classroom teacher might have different puzzles that allow the students to take apart the pieces of a whole or to compare and contrast the fraction sizes to one another, usually followed by a worksheet for practice.

In an OMA lesson, fractions would be connected to Music and note values. The students would learn that whole notes compare to one whole in fractions, followed by half notes, quarter notes, and finally eighth notes. Once they have the background information about musical note values, there would be some exploration to compose 4-beat measures. Using note values and their accompanying rests, the lesson evolves into a statistical problem with all the different combinations to equal 4 beats or one measure.

All the while the lesson is being taught, the Arts Integration Specialist (AIS) and the classroom teacher are using familiar math vocabulary and the classroom teacher is making any additional connections for the students.

Musical compositions have to be mathematically correct. Students who can compose mathematically correct rhythms and then speak or play them have made a real-life connection to Fractions.

Not every art form connects as naturally to an educational standard, but since there are four different art forms from which to choose, the AIS has the opportunity to develop very creative lessons for different classes.

The Arts integration curriculum at each grade level is determined by brain-based research, multi-intelligence learning and the neurological development of children.