Olympic Hills; a teacher and teaching artist co-teaching theater arts
When asked about what makes teacher professional development valuable, Olympic Hills kindergarten teacher Jeremy Whitting stated, “When I get to see it in my own classroom and try it with my own kids alongside some coaching.” At foundry10, we’re interested in learning at all ages as we believe passionate teachers inspire students. We wanted to provide Jeremy with a professional development experience like he described to which he said he felt, “psyched!”
After a discussion, the idea emerged for a collaborative model of teaching dramatic arts where we would send expert teaching artist, Meredith Berlin, to his classroom once a week for six weeks to collaborate on the implementation of curriculum focused on creative play and imaginative storytelling. This residency is unique because it is the second time Meredith and Jeremy have worked together through foundry10 and are in a collaborative model of teacher and teaching artist co-facilitating the classroom. At regular meetings outside of class time, Meredith and Jeremy put their heads together about the next dramatic arts class and skills they want their students to develop. Meredith lent her creative arts curriculum expertise and Jeremy utilized his expertise with the students and their overall academic-social-emotional journey this school year. Together they made a plan where they shared responsibilities during the dramatic arts class whether working in small groups with Jeremy facilitating work Meredith has taught, or Jeremy leading a short exercise or reflection.
Students are diving into the book, Hi Cat by Ezra Jack Keats and made individual cat masks to portray their characters.
Research has shown that students perceiving their teacher is just as engaged as they are in the arts curriculum is highly impactful for their own application of their skills in the arts. There is no threat of adultism in this classroom with Meredith and Jeremy, these two are gently guiding the students through a discovery of a story they are creating together. Personal expression for these kindergarteners is cultivated with an imaginative lens and the demonstration of a willingness to engage fully in dramatic play at any age level.