Ideas Are Like Seeds
As Community Engagement Coordinator for Prometheus Dance I produced an evening length student concert in Spring 2017 at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Framingham.
My position with Prometheus is about increasing access to the arts, specifically, the company is focused on remaining ambassadors of modern and contemporary dance. Read more about Prometheus, Boston's longest running Modern Dance Company here. In spring 2017 we were awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to create a performing arts unit around The Life Cycle. As students read, wrote about and discussed introductory plant biology we supported teachers in bringing this content to life through dance.
The workshops I create always build the same cognitive skills used for good writing. The work helps students to hone skills in expressing, showing, illustrating, inventing, composing, constructing, designing and imagining. Specifically this Woodrow WIlson project linked literacy and the performing arts by inviting students to process theme and cause and effect concepts through movement. Using visualization, improvisation, embodiment, repetition and discussion these third graders dug deeper into science topics. For Prometheus and Woodrow Wilson School I produced a twenty five minute show featuring original dances by all ninety three third graders.
The third grade science unit we created on the Life Cycle explored stories, images and poems that talked about growing and change. Woodrow Wilson is a bilingual IB school so many of our objectives worked in tandem with the IB attitudes of appreciation, Commitment, Confidence, Cooperation and Creativity.
We used dance, writing and discussion to get all five multilevel literacy classrooms on the same page. Students were invited to share what researchers call multiliteracies. That is - literacies in movement, rhythm, song and or dramatic performance that they may bring with them from outside of school. Most importantly, we wanted this work to emphasize the importance of imagination in an elementary student’s daily school experience.
Photography by Augusta Rose Photo