Wisconsin Schools Celebrate the Wisconsin Arts Board’s 50th Project
Theater Lesson Plans
Theater educator Ronald Parker created many activities that can be easily interpreted for different grade levels (some of them would even function well as team-building exercises for your next inservice!).
In the theater activities, students are challenged to work together creatively to represent different tangible things, as well as ideas and concepts. Sometimes they are challenged to only use visual cues with one another; other times they may coordinate with others in their group using words, but must present to other students without words. One exercise challenges students to literally enact the language of the poem and create both moving and static representations with their body language.
When we asked Ron what the project meant to him, he highlighted the work of his students, "I asked a group of my students from Appleton North and the Renaissance School for the Arts to demonstrate each game while I filmed them so that teachers and students could see examples of how the lesson plans work in practice. When I told them that teachers from across the state will be accessing these plans and the recordings, it was wonderful and touching to see their enthusiastic response. As a theatre educator, it's my wish to share the power and poignancy of this art form that encompasses all other art forms with as many students and teachers as possible. This project provides that opportunity!”
Dance Lesson Plans
Dancer and dance instructor Yeng Vang-Strath challenges students to move like the wind, studying the qualities of a feather as it’s blown into the air and flits down to the ground. She challenges students to understand how their bodies move through space, inspired by words from Dasha Kelly Hamilton’s poem. Students explore concepts like bound/freedom, as well as concepts of time and the passage of time, as well as the dichotomy between light touch and strength.
Vang-Strath tested the lessons out on her students. She said, “It was exciting to see how students interpret the directions given to them. I was unable to finish executing the final production of the performance due to a pre planned trip, but I was so excited to see how another dance teacher, Tisiphani Mayfield, executed the final product (I have to plug in this worthy credit). The final performance was wonderful and so different from what I would have done. That’s what makes art beautiful.”
She continued: “My hope for this project is that there will be more opportunities for artists to create together. On a grander scale, I want more focus to be on every child in our public schools to be given opportunities to experience dance and that even educators without dance experience can integrate movement into their curriculum.”