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Opening Minds through the Arts. (OMA)

  • OMA at Miller Elementary School
    Opening Minds through the Arts program (OMA) is a leader in a national movement to integrate arts education with core curriculum.  OMA at Miller Elementary uses instrumental music, opera, dance, theater and visual arts to help teach reading, writing, math and science to children in kindergarten through 3rd grade.  Miller Elementary has a team of artists who work alongside classroom teachers, adapting each lesson to support teaching of core content and knowledge.  In Tucson, the OMA program employs 26 artists from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera Company, University of Arizona Schools of Music and Dance and other arts organizations to teach 30-minute, twice-weekly classes for 36 weeks of the school year that support core curriculum goals.


  • Kindergarten has rhythm
    Upon entering kindergarten the OMA curriculum will begin to use rhythm as a tool to develop memory an intellect.  Although short-term memories can be stored as images, they are often stored as sounds - especially when remembering words.  This especially holds true for second language learners, who seem to learn language far faster through elements such as singing.  Children may learn to decipher musical symbols before reading words and this builds readiness for reading written language.  Musical training of the ear increases sensitivity to and recognition of sounds and patterns which leads to oral language and literacy development.  Hearing and understanding of language requires memory and retention of patterns.
  • Every Monday and Thursday
     9:15 am     Ms.Figueroa 

     9:50 am     Ms. Solis

    10:25 am    Ms. Wright

    11:35 am    Ms. Logan

First Grade

  • First Grade does opera, linking music, language and writing
    The first grade classrooms will build on the development started in kindergarten and will closely link it with language development.  The OMA first grade curriculum will focus on the acquisition of literacy development through comprehension and composition.  The OMA curriculum emphasizes rhyming, sequencing, patterning and beginning composition to help build the foundation for literacy acquisition.  Children can repeat information they don't necessarily comprehend before they are approximately six years old (first grade).  Phonics is learned through a kind of nonsense process that involves matching sounds to different objects, movements, and activities.  Through the opera process students will learn that the structure of melody is shaped by the intent of the language.  Opera will become the vehicle to link writing and music.
  • Every Monday and Wednesday
     9:15 am    Ms. Navarrete

     9:45 am    Ms. Gamez

    10:15 am   Ms. Dominguez

    10:45 am   Ms. Rivera

Second Grade

  • Second Grade plays and writes music
    The introduction of creative movement in the second grade is a critical element in building the emotional response to music required for musical performance and understanding of music through listening.  The students will interpret and respond to a diversity of music that expands students' vocabularies, enhances their listening/viewing skills and enables them to begin thinking critically.  Another outcome is a higher level of collaboration and creative problem solving as the children learn how to work with single multiple partners and make their individual expressions compatible with the larger groups' expression and goals.
  • Every Tuesday
     8:30 am   Mrs. Geiger

     9:15 am   Mrs. Velasquez

    10:00 am  Ms. Borboa

    10:45 am  Ms. Gomez

Third Grade

  • Third Grade plays and writes music
    Between second and third grades, the child commonly develops more complex skills - listening, processing visual information, and coordinating movement in the brain and into the minds.  Phonics, music notation, and math link auditory centers to the left and right brains. At this phase classrooms will use music as the vehicle of daily shared reading and writing, and weekly recorder/composition classes.  From ages nine to eleven, auditory pathways undergo a further spurt, enhancing speech and listening.  Learning to sing simple folk songs in Japanese, Swahili, German or even regional accents such as Spanish, enable the brain to encode new sounds and therby understand the world more fully. During this stage, the bridge between the left and right sides of the brain completes its development, allowing both hemispheres to respond to an event simultaneously.
  • Every Monday and Thursday
    11:00 am    Ms. Gomez

    12:35 pm    Ms. Zeller

     1:10 pm     Mrs. Ford

     1:55 pm     Ms. Carmona

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