Posts Tagged ‘elo-care’

Arts Education Upclose: Fantastic Voyages Through Our Imagination

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

By Tammi Gardner, Theatre

On the first day of classes, my students walked into the Creative Kids classroom and saw a big square made from blue tape in the middle of the room and exclaimed, “This room is completely empty!” And I replied, “That’s because we are going fill it up with our IMAGINATION!”

And as promised over the next three weeks, we have managed to:

  • Travel to the jungle of West Africa where we asked the Sky God for Wisdom and had to complete three impossible tasks;
  • Go Italy to visit Strega Nona (Grandmother Witch) where we made a “magic pot” of pasta – made a monster named Abiyoyo disappear by singing and playing our ukeleles;
  • Waddled our way to Antarctica to play with some wacky penguins;
  • Chased a wild “dumpling” down a hole where we met the Wicked Oni;
  • And even went to the MOON in our rocket ship for a glass of milk and a “moon pie.”

All by using our 5 Acting Tools and Skills:  Imagination, Concentration, Cooperation, our Bodies and our Voice.

As we continued the Creative Kids Program into its third week of the ELO-Care Program, each class has shined in different aspects of the program curriculum and are preparing for their final performance on Thursday, June 28.

The Green Group (2nd/3rd graders) were awesome at retelling stories and acting them out.  They were able to use their imaginations not only to create the characters but inanimate objects also came alive and became a part of our story enactment.  By cooperating and working together, they made a wonderful environmental orchestra providing the background sounds for our stories too!  They will be enacting their favorite story, “Jimmy Zangwow’s Out Of This World Moon Pie Adventure” as their final performance piece and leading the entire ELO-Care student body in a moving, yet silly warm-up!

While the Baseball Group (3rd/4th graders) excelled at writing their own extension stories and even wrote a story called “Smelly Business” – that told of the  antics of Big Anthony when he takes Strega Nona’s magic perfume and grows a heap of trouble – and made it into a book to send to children in a homeless shelter.  They will be performing their own hip extension story based off “Tacky the Penguin” called, “Wacky Tacky Meets the New Girl in Town.”

The Basketball Group (4th/5th graders) focused more of how the 6 Pillars of Characters were represented or applied in each of our stories.  As growing young people, they quickly learned the effects words and actions – even when given by friends – can affect people and hurt them.  As their final performance, two students will be hosting a live “talk show” (based off the story “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears”) to interview animals (played by the other students)  accused of the terrible crime of killing a baby owlet, so that “…Mother Owl won’t wake the Sun so the day will come.”  The hosts will help each animal determine their part in the tragedy and what they – using the 6 Pillars – could have done differently to have prevented it.

What a trip!  If only we had a few more – just imagine where else we could go!

Arts Education Upclose: Quite the Characters

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

By Nora Achrati

At Broad Acres, the kids rotate activities every six days according to age group. They’ve been divided into three classes each of 4th & 5th-graders, 2nd & 3rd-graders, and kindergarten & 1st-graders. I started out with the 4th & 5th-graders, who are fantastic. These kids threw themselves into our stories improv games, and really impressed me with the level of respect and empathy they carried for each other.

It was bittersweet having to give them up in the middle of Week 2 – they’d done some really stellar work with the Zomo story, inventing and illustrating new paths for Zomo to take in his quest for the scales of Big Fish, the milk of Wild Cow, and the tooth of Leopard. We’re excited to be able to donate these different Zomo stories to the community.

Wednesday I was introduced to the 2nd and 3rd-graders for the first time, which meant starting again from scratch. These kids are much more rambunctious, harder to settle, so we’ve had to re-emphasize the character pillars and class rules each day. And we’ve been experimenting with compromises – setting up a “wiggle area” where kids who find it harder to sit still can be for a while (individually, and quietly), and balancing on-the-floor acting activities with hands-on, sit-down activities. I’ve had to adapt my lessons, too – my second class of the day rebelled against Strega Nona (too many of them had read it before and wanted something new), so Thursday we read and performed “Manana Iguana” together, and Friday we spent making masks to represent the different animal characters:

Emely as Conejo (Rabbit)

Sam and Hyggencio as Culebra (Snake) – It's a bit hard to tell here, but both Sam and Hyggencio came up with a clever way to use pipe cleaners for Culebra's tongue and construction paper for his fangs.

More Conejos (a popular choice). I'm particularly proud of Kelvin, left, who tends to get into trouble when we're on the floor acting but thrives when he has art materials in front of him.

My two other classes are also familiar with Strega Nona, but they’ve enjoyed adapting the story to our classroom theater, and they’re terrific at embodying the different characters – including Strega Nona’s animals, the townspeople, and the magnficent pasta pot.

Based on the success of the masks, though, I think I’ll be introducing “Manana Iguana” to the other classes before our time is up. The kids in the second class seemed to appreciate how much Spanish was incorporated into the story – for many, Spanish is a primary language at home – and enjoyed translating for me the days of the week and their own words for “party.” They’ve also been excellent at identifying the “Little Red Hen” themes of the story, and applying the character pillars.

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Arts Education Upclose: CityDance’s Circus of the Stars

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Here’s video from CityDance’s Circus of the Stars ELO-CARE program with 2nd and 3rd graders at Wheaton Woods ES!

Arts Education Upclose: Just A Little Taste

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art.

Week Two:  July 11-15Movement Recipe:  “Just a Little Taste”
By:  P. “Mama El’tsah” Broden

“What if I told you dance could tell a story?”

Hands flew up. Eyebrows furrowed.

There were a few that knew this was very possible indeed.  As a class, we decided that we would attempt the challenge of cooking up a story through dance. This task began with other questions like: “What elements make up a story? What elements make up dance? What do we exactly need in our recipe to create an unforgettable dance to serve to our audience?”

So far this is what we decided:

A dash of characters
One firm theme
3 cups of a plot
Pour slowly into a setting
Stir In music
Add spicy but simple choreography
Add lots of energy liberally

We mixed everyday this week, sometimes adding way too much or not enough of something, we haven’t got it quite ready to bake yet, but we will.

I was reminded of the beauty and importance of taking your time during the creative process. Observing the dancers patiently listen to 17 very different possible songs to use for our soundtrack was a treat. After much deliberation the classes selected three songs.

I didn’t totally agree with one of the selections, but I was outvoted!

Still Mixing……..

Eltsah Broden
Dance

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Arts Education Upclose: Embrace the Space

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Week One: July 5- July 8
By P. “Mama El’tsah” Broden

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art…

It all began with the purchase of 6 rolls of vibrantly colored tape, which would play a vital role in keeping the pulse of our dance classes strong.  Red, Green Yellow, Blue, and Purple, were the colors selected to define our official “Stage,” alias “The Dance Space” or “The Dance Island.” This “Island” sits at Wheaton Woods Elementary in room #5, a very large classroom that has been cleared of all furniture except for a computer table, cleaned and the floor super shiny with promise for amazing footwork to boot.  Thank you Ms. Stephy for making space!

After measuring the space with careful footing, a semi-perfect rectangle formed, smiled and said, “Here we go again”!” another summer of ELO!”

I then placed strips of tape within the rectangle to indicate each dancer’s very own VIP dance space spot. Then the moment arrived, the meeting of the fifth grade dancers and me, their Personal Dance Space Tour Guide.  We entered the dance space to begin the process of getting to know each other, developing confidence, and becoming comfortable with different movement activities.

After quick introductions, we began moving right away with expectations, i.e. first establishing our dance spots and then getting to places in 16 counts. Next , it was time to mirror the teacher with a warm-up, Then, embrace the space by walking, moving  or grooving  on different levels, traveling in different ways and freezing in different shapes to the sounds of various styles of music.  Well, it’s official: they all love hip-hop and pop music. Lastly, we tried a keep the tempo exercise called the “rainbow dance.”  It includes a pattern of movements where dancers have to listen to the music and keep the tempo.

Many of the 5th graders were very shy and inhibited while the 4th graders seemed to be a little more comfortable with moving.  Wow! We have a lot of confidence building to do! By Friday, some dancers brought in music and shared improvised movements with the class. It was great!!

In class on Wednesday, we also began the process of creating chalk pastel self-portraits to represent who we are and to decorate our dance space with color and pride.  These dancers are true artists who really focused and took their time on this 3-step project   Wow!! I have done this art project at many schools, and I’m very impressed with Wheaton Woods 4/5th graders!

They were completed by Friday  7/8, I sprayed them all with a fixative to hold the chalk in place then mounted them on different color construction paper to make them pop, now our dance space is beautiful with our creative energy!  We are ready to create in week two!

Eltsah Broden
Dance

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Arts Education Upclose: Setting Up Summertime Magic

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art—visual arts, dance, music, theater and storytelling, to be precise. It’s all part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program. From time to time we’ll be bringing you reports from the teaching artists who are part of this program to enhance learning skills in children identified as at-risk for academic failure. ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Week 1:  July 5 – July 8, 2001

Setting Up Summertime Magic
(To be read in a proper British accent, documentary style)

By Erika Conner,  Theater

For the students, the theater portion of Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) is filled with fun, creativity and imagination.  However, before the magic begins in the classroom, the Creative Kids artists and staff work together to create a space that is nurturing, inspiring and educational.

Beginning with an eclectic collection of children’s books Creative Kids sets the stage for young readers to be engaged in the wonderful world of reading. The books include folktales that have important universal themes of greed, kindness, acceptance as well as having colorful characters and worldly settings allow great opportunities for kids to use their imaginations and enrich their own character development.  Stories like FERDINAND THE BULL and ANANSI tales are rich with characters and traits that all children can easily access and enjoy.

As an artist entering a new room for the first time I think to myself: “Erika, is this space large enough for you to make a spider acting space with your magic masking tape or should you make a rectangle for the first week?”

After I’ve made that initial nail-biting choice, I begin the sticky task of unraveling the spool of tape and applying it to the floor.  “Nail-biting” you may laugh—as I am! But, as an educator and an artist, I’ve learned to appreciate the power of tape on the floor. The tape is magical because it attracts everyone young and old, it beckons people, and it makes them ask (in their minds or out loud) “What is this for? What are we going to do?”

Usually while they are questioning the tape on the floor they are entering the room at a snail’s pace, thus, allowing me enough time to size everyone up.  So in addition to being a defined space for bringing our stories to life, the tape is a wonderful tool for crowd control (bit of a stretch but it works for me).

After I’ve identified the location for where the magic will occur, (the acting space), I think about where to place the classroom behavior expectations. This vital piece of classroom legislation is placed prominently on the bulletin at the eye level of the average second-grader where it can be viewed from every seat. As I will be working with grades K-3 this summer, placement of classroom documents must be well thought out.

In addition to classroom regulations, I’ve place the more fun documentations on another bulletin board.  These fun documents include the five tools for acting.  The placement of the documents on either bulletin board creates a well-balanced Yin/Yang affect in the classroom (the balance is probably more for me than anyone else).

Next, I locate a reflection corner and I furnish it with a chair, just in case someone needs some time to think.  I look around the room to make sure the desired ambiance has been created. Yes! It works!

I take a sheet of chart paper from my magic box along with several markers and draw a colorful series of faces and scribe the words: “WELCOME TO ACTING” with confetti-like dots in the background.  This final document is boldly placed on the blackboard signaling that the magic has begun!

Erika Conner is a teaching artist with Creative Kids. Creative Kids is an inventive and inspiring arts-based and arts integrated programs designed to address state standards and meet the needs of all students in order to help them reach their full potential as a learner and as a creative individual ready to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Arts Education Upclose with Marcie Wolf-Hubbard

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art—visual arts, dance, music, theater and storytelling, to be precise.  It’s all part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program. Over the next few weeks,  we’ll be bringing you reports from the teaching artists who are make this program happen.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Week 1: July 5 – July 8, 2011

Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, Visual Artist

All is going well with my three little Bears—Koalas, Pandas, and Teddys at Broad Acres. I have three groups of about 15 students – all rising K-1st graders. I’m impressed that a lot of the students in my classes already know how to read. Good work Broad Acres teachers, parents and kids!

I have also been working with two great middleschoolers as volunteers which has been a big help with preparation, and having extra hands to assist the Bears.

We made marbleized paper and then created name tent cards on Tuesday. Wednesday, we listened to a story and started a rough sketch to illustrate a scene from the story using setting and characters. The kids really enjoyed the stories and are anxious to start work even though most of them aren’t familiar with making collage illustrations using handmade and marbleized papers. We’ll work more on that on Friday.

It’s nice to see some of the older students I taught last summer.

Marcie Wolf-Hubbard
hubbardsfinearts.com

The Shiny Shell, a children’s adventure book about a boy and a dolphin on a mission to save the oceans. D.Hubbard/M. Wolf-Hubbard