Some examples of our previous work
Celebration of the Arts Festival
We had the pleasure of working with a group of students to create a short 5 minute piece to demonstrate to the District the value of arts in our schools. The students wanted to include a message about saving the rainforests. We discussed how they could use some of the various techniques and styles they had covered in drama workshops to convey their message. They decided to combine some fan work from Noh theater, with ensemble mime/movement work (creating the forest and its animals), along with some Shakespearean text. Through a collaborative workshop format, the students developed a series of scenes depicting conservation messages. Using Noh fan work, the students grouped together to create the various parts of the rain forest: trees/leaves, animal claws, wings, fish and even a river. The finale included a scene from Macbeth with the ensemble punctuating text and adding ambient/environmental sounds. This truly represented a sampling of the work we had been doing, with the students working together from conception to performance. They even had the opportunity to individually decorate and personalize their fans, used as props in the storytelling process, and also an expression of their own personality.
Put on a Play
We created a Drama camp where students would put together a play in 2 weeks. All work was shared by the campers and staff: costumes, set painting, prop making, etc. The play included a fun, fast moving part of the script that required for many varied set pieces/props. We challenged the campers to workshop this section of the play to make it a whirlwind of movement, voice, and action using only minimal amount of actual props and costumes. They amazed us with some of their ideas and group collaboration, utilizing body shapes, pantomime, voice, and exploring with mannerisms and postures to create each part of the poem. This turned out to be one of their favorite parts of the show because the campers all invested ideas and worked together to make something great. We were so glad to step back and observe the students communicating in this positive, constructive way with each other.
We worked in tandem with the school Art teacher and the entire third grade team on our Enchanted India project. Ms. Blushiy, the art teacher, and I consulted with the third grade team and selected Indian studies as tie-in with curriculum. Along with a VSA Arts grant, Ms. Blushiy's art students constructed and created Indian culturally themed artwork such as full- body puppets and paintings, as well as a gallery show. My students observed classical Indian dance, mudras storytelling, shadow puppetry, mask work, and literature. From these observations and inspired discussions, groups were formed and students created their own interpretations and pieces based on these forms.
Interactive Rainforest Installation
Working again with Ms. Blushiy and the classroom teachers, we decided to create an interactive Rainforest installation, complete with the sounds, smells, animals, and foliage of a real rainforest. Students completely transformed the stage area into an environment that included: student artwork to make the trees, leaves, flowers, and animals; costumed students portraying alligators, butterflies, orchids, monkeys, sloths, snakes, turtles, and more. We created a native village that showcased students making crafts, playing drums, and dancing in an indigenous style. Again, many of these activities, movements, and choreography were student driven with guidance from the teachers. The entire installation was intended to raise awareness about the beauty and importance of the rainforests.