I just read an article on Key Elements for Creating Collaborative Learning Spaces and it reminded me so much of our play production. This article stated that there are "four Cs" of 21st century learning: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. I couldn't agree more!
On December 21, we performed our play to a large audience of families and friends. The production was titled "The Fantastic Art Show." The whole thing came together in just a few weeks! Here are some of my notes and photos:
Becca, the oldest student in our group, played the owner of an art gallery. The following plot summary was printed on the program along with the cast list. Since it's a bit of an unconventional storyline, we wanted to be sure the audience could follow what was happening on stage. I printed the handouts on a computer but the children handwrote the play title at the top of the programs (80 in all) carefully in Chancery Script with their fountain pens.
- Becca is getting ready for a big art show. She looks at the art after she finishes putting it up and really wishes she could have met the artists that did those paintings. Some mad scientists overhear Becca and bring out their newly constructed time machine so that she can meet those artists. The five artists come out. They are Vasily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Jackson Pollock. When Becca first sees the artists she is happy and very grateful for the mad scientists. The artists are also very happy to meet each other. They form an improv troupe and play improv theatre games. When it is time to go, they have a special surprise gift for Becca: a brand-new collaborative art piece.
Although we only included four improv games as part of the final play performance, we played many games in the month of December to build our acting skills. Improv requires collaboration, communication, and flexibility. It was a wonderful -- and fun -- team building experience for our class!
I've played some of these improv games before in my Fables Spring Break Camp; links below are to my previous posts with instructions for how to play.
Don't Push the Red Button
What Are You Doing?
Artist Study: Books and Videos
We are so fortunate to have four hours of art class a week: two hours of art on Tuesday mornings and two hours of art on Thursday mornings. The Thursday art teacher, Ms. Kelly, worked with the children to help them learn more about the great artists we chose and to create the costumes. I also purchased many books to have on hand in the classroom, useful while writing the artist biographies and making the art for the art gallery display.
- Jackson Pollock
Who Was Jackson Pollock? video
Wassily Kandinsky: 6 Minute Art History Video video
Frida Kahlo: A Brief History for Kids video
Drawing with Scissors (Matisse) video
No photography or videography was allowed during the performance so we have pictures of beforehand and afterwards.
Many thanks to both art teachers, Ms. Anna and Ms. Kelly, for their inspiring work with the children in art class. We really came to know the styles of these five great artists well. And thank you to all of the Little Bluestem families for donating mad scientist lab coats, goggles, etc. AND for donating miscellaneous fabulous tech supplies for our amazing Time Machine. Many thanks to Jim King for volunteering to take the Time Machine construction project under his wing. This involved meeting with the children multiple times to hear about their design ideas, providing the basic cardboard panels for the modules, and then ultimately assembling the machine and transporting it to the play location! Students worked individually or in pairs to create panels for the Time Machine and it was quite a sight to behold! Thank you to all of the children for their hard work and positive attitude. And thank you to everyone who attended the performance. It was amazing!
"Night on Bald Mountain"
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