Of all the tools used to teach in the classroom of Eunice Lopez, perhaps the best ones are actually located down the hall from her classroom at Hanson Elementary in Commerce City within the Adams 14 School District.
"It gives me the opportunity to be working closely with real artifacts," said Lopez, a fifth-grade teacher.
The Denver Art Museum runs a program called Art Lives Here. It provides to schools, at no cost, an opportunity to have real museum exhibits placed on location to help students learn about art and other related subjects.
Fifth-grader Amairany Vidana said she likes the examples of paintings, sculptures, and Native American clothing.
"I thought it was just a piece of art, but once I read all the information, it gave me more ideas," Amairany said.
Lopez said not only does it teaches her students about different forms of artistic expression, it helps them history and other subjects like math and English.
"They were using everything, not only math, they were using adjectives," Lopez said. "They were using complete sentences. I mean everything."
Her class is full of English Language Learners and she says the art has helped students' language development.
"I have many children who love art," Lopez said. "If students don't feel connected to what they're learning, they won't be able to learn."
Amariany said the artwork inspires her.
"I think it's a better way because you imagine things better and have a better idea of what the story is about," Amairany said.
The artwork lives at schools for a period of about a month. Some of the artists come in and visit with the students to talk about their works. The museum has enough exhibits to place items in two schools at a time. The Denver Art Museum has already filled its calendar for the school year. But, it will hold a lottery as the program continues. Interested schools and community centers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lopez says she appreciates what the program has done for her students.
"When we don't connect real-world situations to our classroom, we don't learn," Lopez said.