Teaching Artists in Training Share Classroom Experiences

News • Urban Gateways News

On Friday, January 20, Urban Gateways provisional teaching artists convened to give presentations on their classroom teaching experiences to UG staff.

These presentations described the artists’ first in-school residencies with Urban Gateways, where they developed unique unit plans within their artistic disciplines and implemented those plans in elementary school classrooms. After completing a residency and presentation, provisional teaching artists are eligible to become official UG roster artists. Featured here are slide shows and unit plan excerpts by three of these teaching artists-in-training, giving you a glimpse into the exciting arts classes that they facilitated.

Teaching artist: J.W. Basilo Residency title: An Ode in Any Tongue Rachel Carson Elementary, Grade 5 December 6-15, 2011 Primary Artist/Work of Art to Study: Pablo Neruda’s Odes

“The focus of this particular residency is not only to provide an introduction to poetry, but to explore figurative language in multiple tongues. This is my first time working with students this age and an ESL/bilingual classroom, which led me to contemplate poetry and translation. More specifically, I’m excited to watch the students experiment with figurative language (similes, metaphors, etc) potentially for the first time in both English and Spanish.”

Teaching artist: Jacob Watson Residency title: “A Snowflake Fell:” Exploring Individuality and Teamwork through Creative Writing, Movement, and Storytelling Jesse Owens Elementary, Grades 2-3 November 22-December 13, 2011

“At the core of the residency is the image of the snowflake, a symbol of uniqueness, beauty, fragility – but also strength. I have found through my research that this is a potent image for children and adults alike, both of whom have written poems and stories on the topic.

As a class, we will work through the metaphor presented in the above quotation: that people, like snowflakes, are each unique and stronger when they ‘stick together.’ Through exploration of shape, gesture, movement, and tableaux, as well as creative writing, students will develop both their individual voices and a shared sense of commitment to developing their dance/theatre performance.

I am excited about seeing the winter-related scenes and stories that each of the students creates, as well as working with them to combine the stories into one cohesive dance/theatre performance piece. We will be integrating with Shantal’s [Shantal Moody, also a provisional artist] dance residency, allowing the students to learn a variety of storytelling, movement, and aesthetic skills.”

Teaching artist: Georgia Wall Residency title: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes Rachel Carson Elementary, Grade 4 November 9-December 7, 2011

“During the residency we will be considering what it really means to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes.’ Throughout the residency the students will be exploring their own perspectives, the perspectives of their classmates, as well as imagined perspectives of characters that they will create. This exploration will happen through a variety of movement exercises, writing, drawing and discussion. The goal is to acknowledge the diversity in each individual’s perspective of the world and their environment. I am interested in how this investigation into perspective might foster a better understanding of the importance of empathy and how to achieve it.”