Coterie Theatre Zooms into Classrooms Thanks to Grant from Lansing Educational Foundation
Students across our district have been receiving enrichment in the arts this semester through Coterie Theatre Classroom Immersions thanks to a $6,318 grant from Lansing Educational Foundation.
Theatre teaching artists through the nationally recognized Coterie Theatre out of Kansas City have been "Zooming" into thirty-eight classrooms from first through twelfth grades across our district. Since our teachers are limited with outside enrichment opportunities during this time, Lansing Educational Foundation thought this would be a wonderful way to bring the arts into the classroom and replace some of the speakers and field trips the students are unable to experience because of the pandemic.
Through these "Classroom Immersions", students are able to work with a professional teaching artist to create characters, experience theatre, and write their own stories to share with others. These classroom experiences are spread across three 45 minute sessions and are tailored for different age groups:
- Reader's Theatre (Grades 1 - 3)
- Traditional folktales from around the world are brought to life in the classroom.
- Students work with a professional teaching artist to rehearse and perform a reading-level appropriate short script, and each student has a speaking role.
- Each unique script is adapted specifically for this Classroom Immersion, all with a message or moral that aligns with Social Emotional Learning considerations. Original script options include Anansi and Five, The Deer People, The Chanchasa Bird, The Cheetah and The Lazy Hunter, and Why The Sun and Moon Live in the Sky.
- The classroom teachers are given a menu of scripts to choose from that will best suit the interest of their class.
- Heroes (Grades 4 - 6)
- Students work with a professional teaching artist to write and perform a short first person monologue about a “hero” (based on a historical/real figure).
- Using existing monologues as examples, students analyze what makes a good monologue and demonstrate that understanding through their own original writing.
- A teacher consultation occurs beforehand to ensure we serve the needs of your class.
- The residency will align with Missouri and Kansas English Language Arts and Theatre Arts standards, and will offer students the option to share their work with each other.
- Electric Poe (Grades 7 - 12)
- Led by professional Actor and Teaching Artist Hollis Wilhoit, students explore the historical events and cultural context that inspired Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and how the use of symbolism created a lasting impact on audiences across the eras.
- Middle and high school students enjoy a pre-recording of The Coterie’s special event performance of Electric Poe, along with a special talk-back session with the star of the show.
- Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, students create their own 10-minute moody masterpiece. Classes across the Kansas City Metro will have the opportunity to submit their work to The Coterie to share within the community.
One of the teachers who is taking part in the Reader's Theatre enrichment is second-grade teacher, Mrs. Barb Robinson.
“What an awesome experience to have the Coterie Theatre grant for second grade," said Mrs. Robinson. "The second grade teachers picked out a reading-level appropriate short script adapted for their class. For example, my class will read Anansi and the Five, and each student will read a different part on a "virtual field trip" and will Zoom on their iPads with the Coterie story facilitator, Lacy Cunningham. The story also covers our social emotional learning standard. Thank you to LEF for the grant from all the second grade teachers!"
Thank you to Coterie Theatre for working with our students and to Lansing Educational Foundation for funding these experiences for our students. Lansing Educational Foundation just kicked off their annual campaign to raise funds for more grants in our school district. If you would like to help fund future grants like these, you can donate to Lansing Educational Foundation by clicking here. Lansing Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(d) organization.