Blog » Collaboration: Expanding the Creative Experience
12 July 2016

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"This week's Institute has focused on building confidence and competence in your creativity and using that to develop creative curriculum," said Laura Reeder, (C3)2 curriculum coordinator, on Day 3 of the Summer Institute 2016. (A summary of Day 1 and Day 2 are available online.) During the Institute's last day, Ms. Reeder addressed creative confidence and competence as well as the benefits of collaboration for students and professionals. Teachers participated in drama exercises with a (C3)2 teaching artist, got a "taste" of a program on bullying and character building, and created a slideshow summarizing their experiences during the Summer Institute and the grant's Year 1.

 

"Doing art as a team--as a collaboration of teachers, teaching artists, teachers in special areas, and students--expands the creative experience," stressed Ms. Reeder. "Collaborations allow time for making connections. It's about shifting the focus of learning to a slower, deeper experience."

 

Creative Classroom Collaboratives

 

Teaching artist Dafna Soltes Stein (above, far right) got the (C3)2 teachers on their feet for a series of dramatic exercises. Teachers used their voices and bodies to express emotions (below).

 

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The teachers were also given phrases about bullying and making good choices, which they used to create short performances. They incorporated dramatic effects such as speaking in unison, sequence, overlapping, and echoing in their presentations (below).

 

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Afterwards, performance artist Lyle Cogen of Pint Size Productions (below) treated the group to a few excerpts from her one-woman "Sticks and Stones" performance, which looks at bullying, accepting and appreciating. According to Ms. Cogen, "This program asks the question: Do you react like the characters in this performance?" The teachers were moved by Ms. Cogen's powerful performance.

 

Creative Classroom Collaboratives

 

Ms. Reeder discussed the connections between Ms. Soltes Stein's drama activities and Ms. Cogen's performance. "You might be wondering: 'Why can't we just have Lyle come to our school? Why isn't that enough?' The answer is that through collaboration, through confidence and comfort in your creativity, you and your students are able to make connections and realize the deeper meaning."

 

Several of the teachers agreed. They noted that following the grant's professional development and the collaborations during Year 1, they had gained empathy for their students' creative process. Another teacher said: "Seeing the teaching artist working with my students has helped me to see what I can do in the classroom -- how I can adopt things from the artist's residency experience."

 

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Following the discussion, the teachers worked with their school colleagues, organizing their photographs and other materials, to create a Pecha Kucha. The Pecha Kucha, which is a slideshow designed to communicate ideas succinctly, is a tool that (C3)2 teachers are using to demonstrate meaningful evidence of learning and professional practice throughout the grant process. "It's time to summarize what you have seen and learned during the past three days and Year 1, so that you can share the experience with your administrators, parents and students," said Ms. Reeder. The groups presented their Pecha Kuchas to the rest of the group (above).