Friday, October 26, 2012

Three Workshops Announced for Classroom Connections

Classroom Connections Inspires Educators (and Students) in Northeast Wisconsin! 

This school year, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and Appleton Area School District (AASD) are teaming up to offer Classroom Connections, a series of professional development workshops for educators.The Center and AASD were selected last spring for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Partners in Education program, joining about 100 collaborations across the country. 

Upcoming activities include three educator workshops open to all Wisconsin educators on a first-come, first-serve basis. These hands–on workshops will be presented by professional teaching artists and prepare educators to integrate the arts into their classrooms.

Evidence shows that arts infused classrooms benefit students across all subjects. In fact, research by the University of New Mexico concluded that, “Arts contributed to analytically deeper, experientially broader, and psychologically more rewarding learning. These developments could have significant positive effects on students' general cognitive growth over time, particularly if students experience arts-integrated learning in their classroom on a regular basis.”

Educators may learn more about Classroom Connections and register for workshops at


Character Interviews: A Dramatic Approach to Reading Comprehension 
Monday, November 5, 2012; 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Leader: Lenore Blank Kelner
For Educators of Grades 3-8
Fee: $20/AASD Staff or $25/Wisconsin Educators

Teaching reading comprehension takes on a whole new dimension as educators explore an effective and engaging technique for involving students in the examination of literature. Participants discover how to use an imaginary talk show format called “Books Alive” to engage students in the learning process. Students are interviewed as they reenact characters from a book, while teachers become the talk show host. Lenore Blank Kelner teaches how to pose appropriate questions that require the students to support their answers from the literature and make predictions and inferences about their characters, as well as analyze the text’s themes. Kelner serves as an education consultant to the Maryland State Department of Education as well as school systems and schools nationwide. She has trained thousands of teachers in how to integrate drama into everyday classroom instruction.

The Drama of Science
Tuesday, January 15, 2013; 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Leader: Karen Erickson
For Educators of Grades 1-6
Fee: $20/AASD Staff or $25/Wisconsin Educators

Integrating the concepts of both science and drama into the classroom, Karen Erickson, teaches educators how to transform science classes into active, student-centered explorations. Focusing on earth science, mechanical science and biology, educators will learn new techniques through expressive movement, drama and enacted story. Participants will also examine classroom management techniques and learn how to build group dynamics within their classrooms. Erickson, a theater educator from Chicago, will guide participants as they explore the common threads of science and art.

Writing the Heros Journey: Building Writing Skills Through Storytelling and Oral Language
Thursday, February 21, 2013; 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Leader: Stuart Stotts
For Educators of Grades 4-8
Fee: $20/AASD Staff or $25/Wisconsin Educators

Through this workshop, Wisconsin educators will discover how a focus on the artistic qualities of storytelling can open the literary world and introduce students to a style of writing beyond the page. Oral storytelling allows organization, descriptive language, voice and sentence fluency to come more easily for students as their creations become a living piece of work. Using the story form of a hero’s journey, Wisconsin native Stuart Stotts, will demonstrate prewriting methods and teach a process for helping students develop stories. His techniques will encourage students to draw on their creative thinking and oral communication abilities. Stotts is a Kennedy Center teaching artist as well as a nationally recognized, award winning songwriter, storyteller and author from Madison, Wisconsin.

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