For Elementary School

Mime Adds Zip! to Writing

Many young students struggle to write with details and elaboration. Drama activities can spice up writing with vivid details and elaboration that support the main idea of a narrative. In pre-writing exercises, students engage in guided imaginative experiences, act them out using their bodies, and then write about them. Their writing sparkles.

NC CCR ELA W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.


Forces and Motion, Science and Dance

How are Dance and Science Standards connected? What can Dance teach us about Science? How can movement help students understand, explain, and remember Science concepts? This residency makes clear connections between dance and science principles like force, motion, gravity, energy, push, pull, mass, and weight. Students investigate and illustrate invisible forces through movement.

What does PUSH feel like?

What does PUSH feel like?

NC Essential Standards: Science 1.P.1 Understand how forces (pushes and pulls) affect the motion of an object. 2.P.1 Understand the relationship between sound and vibrating objects. 3.P.1 Understand motion and factors that affect motion. 4.P.1 Understand how various forces affect the motion of an object. 5.P.1 Understand force, motion, and the relationship between them.
(Sheila loves to work with teachers to connect with other standards, too–contact her!)


Mime & Math for K-3

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.

Students learn mime and get to explore math concepts through movement. They use their bodies to find symmetry, to count, skip-count, tell time, add and subtract, multiply and divide. With partners, they use  show relationships like before and after, behind, above, around, and between. They create two- and three- dimensional shapes using their bodies and other manipulatives. Math becomes fun, creative, and social and physical.


First graders find symmetrical movement in a mirror exercise.

NC Standards in Mathematics:  K.OA.1 Represent addition and subtraction within 10. Use a variety of representations such as objects, fingers, mental images,…sounds, acting out situations…  K.OA.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems. K.G.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes and describe the relative positions of objects using positional terms.  1.OA.1 Represent and solve addition and subtraction word problems, within 20, with unknowns, by using objects… NC 1.MD.1 Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object. NC 1.MD.2 Measure lengths with non-standard units. NC.1.G Reason with shapes and their attributes.


Speak, Listen, Discuss, and Collaborate with Theatre

The 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.


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), receive peer responses, revise their writing, and, at the end of the residency perform it for their classmates.

Curricular Connections
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. 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. 


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
English Language Arts Grades 3-8.W.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. NC Social Studies 3.H.1.2 Analyze the impact of contributions of diverse historical figures in local communities and regions over time. 4.H.1.3 Explain how people, events, and developments brought about changes to communities in various regions in NC. 5.H.2.1 Summarize the contributions of the “Founding Fathers” to the development of our country.  6.H.2.4 Explain the role that key historical figures and cultural groups had in transforming society.  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. 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.


Communicate! Collaborate! Create! Mime!

Marionette: Leading & Following

“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.” –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.



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, 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.

Juggling for Beginners

Juggling Class For adults, families, 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.


Site designed by Steven Durland


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: