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Norman Arts Council shares public art program to help parents teach STEM, art skills amid at-home learning

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Norman Arts Council's program Public Art is smART provides parents with lesson plans for a variety of different subjects. 

While public schools are closed for the rest of the year, Norman Arts Council has an accessible and user-friendly way for kids to learn about art and other core school subjects. 

“Public Art is smART” aims to teach students elements of science, technology, engineering and math through the lens of public art around Norman, said Debby Williams, public art manager. 

During the regular school year, smART offers lesson plans and the delivery of supplies to teachers in Norman. New social distancing measures don’t allow for the delivery of supplies, but Williams said the lesson plans and accompanying Prezi slides are available online. For example, the lesson for “Splash” — an art piece at Westwood Family Aquatic Center — includes a water experiment for the kids to perform.

Williams said parents should consider using the online resources to keep learning alive in their households.

“It will make a lasting impression on your kids and be a good diversion from, ‘Mom, I’m bored,’” Williams said.

The lesson plans are created at a 5th grade level, but have instructions for increasing and decreasing the difficulty level. Williams said the lessons are a great way to keep kids engaged in learning. 

Williams said the Oklahoma Academic Standards are listed at the back of each resource, and there is a glossary of visual art terms available online.

Williams said she believes art has the power to get people through difficult times.

“Whether it’s music, people singing out their windows, dancing or creating art, I think it says a lot that we rely on this to tie us all together in times that are a little stressful,” Williams said.

Williams said she is hopeful the program will continue its public school success once schools resume and that parents will give the program a shot while they spend time with their kids at home.

“(It can) help pass the time in a constructive way,” William said.

The smART lesson plans are available through the Norman Arts Council website.

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