For Middle School

Speak, Listen, Discuss, and Collaborate with Theater

The Common Core English curriculum requires collaborative discussions in pairs, small groups, and larger groups. This residency teaches the behaviors, methods, and expectations that allow for group discussion and collaboration. Students will experience the basics of effective small group processes while creating a performance based on a text that relates to something they are studying. The text could be an original historical document, a poem or short literary work, a scientific theory, a performance, or something else chosen by the classroom teacher.

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Opinion, Argument, Reasons: Dramatic Exercises to Boost Writing

In this residency, groups of students collaborate to write an argument supported by reasons about something they are studying—for example a current event, a historical event, a work of art, or a scientific theory. They explore the topic dramatically, and then begin writing an argument. They practice reading their argument aloud, (with appropriate volume, clarity, rate, and expression) and, at the end of the residency perform it for their classmates.

Curricular Connections

NC Theatre Arts 3-8.C.1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings. C.2 Use performance to communicate ideas and feelings. CC English Language Arts Grades 3-5.W.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.  6-8.W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

What Were They Thinking? Exploring Figures from History through Drama

This residency integrates Theater with Language Arts and Social Studies standards. Before the residency, student groups research a figure who played a key role in the history they are studying. During the residency, they explore dramatically and imaginatively their historical figure. Then they write monologues, arguments, or letters in the voice of their key figures that explain their points of view on the events they influenced–for example, in U.S. History, the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. They write about the motivation of historical figures, the obstacles they faced, and their hopes for and influences on the future. They work in collaborative groups to create mini-performances from their writing. Students gain skills and awareness of group dynamics and practice their skills in collaborative creative processes. Finally, students perform their monologues or letters.

Curricular Connections

CC English Language Arts Grades 6-8.W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. NC Social Studies Grade  6.H.2.4 Explain the role that key historical figures and cultural groups had in transforming society. Grade 8.H.2.2 Summarize how leadership and citizen actions (e.g. the founding fathers, the Regulators, the Greensboro Four, and participants of the Wilmington Race Riots) influenced the outcome of key conflicts in N.C. and the U.S. NC Theatre Arts: 3-8.C.1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings. C.2 Use performance to communicate ideas and feelings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW6qnAVEN6Q

 

Communicate! Collaborate! Create! Mime!

Kerrigan Mime

“Wow!!” What a fabulous time we all had during your visit to Saluda River. The ways in which you made learning fun as well as meaningful makes such a difference to our students. I was amazed at how flawlessly you integrated mime and math! The first graders are still talking about you! Thanks for being such a talented artist, teacher, and person.” –Stephanie Walker, Saluda River Elementary Theatre Arts Teacher.

This residency emphasizes the communication, collaboration, and creative thinking skills inherent in mime. Students, through imaginative movement explorations in pairs and small groups, learn basic skills like: focusing attention on a partner, leading and following and switching from leading and following, making creative choices, working with a partner without bossing, listening, (really!) rotating group roles and responsibilities, and practicing positive critiques of the work of their peers. They conceive, develop, and perform their own mime pieces as they are guided through group collaborative processes.

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Mime

In this workshop, students learn to create invisible objects and imaginary worlds. They work with partners and learn to: focus on a partner, accept a partner’s offers, lead and follow. They develop kinesthetic awareness, tune into body language, and non-verbally communicate ideas, characters and feelings. They learn the basics of creative thinking. They explore ideas in groups through improvisation and discussion. They create and perform original mime skits that incorporate their new mime skills.

The Durham Arts Council Says:

Mime Artist Sheila Kerrigan impressed students of George Watts Montessori with her multi-talented theatrical repertoire in mime, juggling, and improvisation….At George Watts [Elementary School], Kerrigan began the after school program with a little mime show followed by instruction of simple mime gestures such as being stuck in a box, leaning against a wall, and climbing a ladder. She then proceeded to guide the children through collaborative creative processes during improvisation exercises. Students passed around an imaginary object and transformed it into something new with each subsequent turn. Students then broke into small groups to plan a silent theatrical performance. A showcase of their creations was followed by a discussion of what the audience perceived the performance content to be. Stories took a range of humorous plot lines from playground activity to fishing adventures. Finally, Kerrigan closed off the afternoon with a little juggling practice.

Create Original Performance

Create Performance

Especially geared for youth-at-risk and reluctant writers, this residency begins with setting guidelines for behavior together. The group brainstorms and discusses hot topics for a performance. Students write short pieces on topics that are important to them in genres that make sense to them. They collaborate on taking their writings from the page to the stage. If all goes according to plan, the residency culminates in a performance conceived and created by the performers about the issues that keep them awake at night and get them out of bed in the morning.

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Juggling for Beginners

Juggling Class For adults and children age 9 and up, this juggling workshop features juggling performance pieces that point up the importance of failure as part of learning something new, the value of setting a positive mental attitude to attain success, and the virtue of persistence in achieving goals. Participants learn a basic juggling pattern and some variations, and they learn how to juggle with a friend. This workshop offers a fun way for families to play together and for anyone to improve coordination.

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Body Language and Non-verbal Communication

For students of theater and communication, and anyone who wants to understand what people are saying beyond their words, this workshop breaks down and demonstrates the elements of body language and non-verbal communication. Participants observe and qualify movement in others, learn to bring their unconscious reactions to body language into consciousness, change specific aspects of their own movement, and observe how their feelings and thoughts change as they change their own body language. They learn a variety of pathways to deep listening that lead to establishing rapport with others.

Mime and Movement for Actors

For drama students and professionals, this residency helps them create strong, believable, fully-physicalized characters. Students will experience a variety of physical approaches to character development such as image work, energy work, animals, honing kinesthetic awareness, sharpening focus, developing a physical presence, exploring rhythm and dynamics, and studying and practicing body language principles. Sessions begin with a warm-up, continue with guided physical approaches to character, improvisations based physical explorations, reflections on character discoveries, and end with reflection on learning and growth. By the end of the residency, students have experienced a variety of physical approaches to character and have found one or more physical approaches to characterization that work for them. They will have a sense of how physicalization can strengthen their focus and enlarge their stage presence.

Ms. Kerrigan’s residency was very beneficial and enriching for my 8th grade Movement class. It complemented our unit on gesture and made valid in very obvious ways how vital gesture and expression are to movement and choreography. Sheila presented very well and maintained a good rapport with the students. I was impressed with her clarity, humor and thorough approach to the material.      –Mary Grady Norkus, Durham Academy

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