June 12th, 2015
Through the characters in the story, the kindergarten class has been learning about the culture of an entire country! In drama we have been focusing on this folktale to help enhance the Inquiry work they are doing in the classroom as they learn about the people, places and cultures of Brazil. While this type of arts integration is not at all uncommon here at Ravenswood, the scale at which the art teacher, dance teacher and myself dive into such integration can mean only one thing....IT'S THE WORLD'S FAIR!
Every year Ravenswood holds a grand event in which each class or grade level chooses a country and studies the culture of that country through guided inquiry units led by the classroom teacher. Each class, from pre-k to 8th grade, studies the people, history, environment and stories for weeks on end. The students then take what they have learned and synthesize their knowledge into presentations, artifacts, or consumable items for the rest of the school. Then, on one magical day, the classrooms open up their learning for all to see and the students and teachers travel around the school and experience the best of what each class discovered, carnival style. It's pretty awesome and I love it.
So, for the past few weeks, the Arts Team has been gathering materials and resources, and guiding the classes through our own units of Inquiry as we talk with the teachers and find ways our methods and information can elegantly combine. There is a constant hustle and bustle of energy as we learn, create, build, paint, perform, reflect, re-create, etc. It's a lot of work, but it's even more fun.
In drama, we use the stories from the class' culture of study and combine it with a theatre skill. The end result is a collaborative and educational experience that allows the students to dive deep into many levels of subject matter through all of their many intelligences.
This brings me back to the beetle. Kindergarten was studying Brazil, and it just so happens that there is an amazing folktale describing how the Brazil Beetle came by it's many colors. If you're so inclined, you can check out the story here. This opened up a fantastic opportunity to engage in the social-emotional aspects of the story, but also to introduce the concepts of design to the kindergarten students.
After analyzing the characters' choices in role, we asked ourselves, "what would my beetle coat look like?," and "how can I turn my ideas into a costume?"
The students were given a blank picture of a beetle, they they designed the type of "coat" they would want the beetle to where. They were tasked with explaining to me and the class, why their beetle character would display the colors they chose? After that, the students took their designs and transferred them to wearable costumes! It was an exciting process and seeing their creativity come to life is always a highlight of my day!
Just another of the many reasons why being a drama teacher is the best job in the world!
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