For the fourth year, Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School has been delighted to partner with The Alliance Theatre in an educational program that incorporates the arts into the learning experience. Each classroom is paired with an artist to plan lessons and use instructional strategies that address Georgia Standards of Excellence and Georgia Fine Arts Standards using arts integration.
The artists typically spend six to eight weeks co-teaching with the classroom teacher in grade-specific art forms. In addition to the instructional benefit for students, the artists’ residencies provide job-embedded professional development in sound instructional strategies. At the end of the residency, students share a final product with their classmates, school and parents. All students visit a comparable demonstration of their art form at The Alliance Theatre.
Spalding Drive Principal Lynn Johnson said, “I feel it’s so important to ensure the continuation of art forms in elementary school and to give the children the opportunity to apply ELA standards with professional performing artists.”
This arts partnership is available thanks to the contribution of the SDCES Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) families and managed by Spalding Drive Literacy Coach Tiffany Waller. The art forms in which the students participated this year are as follows:
Kindergarten – smART stART (visual art)
First grade – smART stART (dance)
Second grade – historical figure monologue
Third and fourth grades –drama partner “Reader’s Theatre”
Fifth – digital storytelling.
The program also connects with English Language Arts (ELA) as students work on the language skills and standards of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Integrating these skills enhances their overall communicative arts, in turn, increasing students’ performance on all ELA standards. “I have worked with The Alliance Theatre for the last three years,” said Ms. Waller. “And they have added an uplifting spirit to our English Language Arts curriculum. Students are experiencing art forms outside of their weekly art class, and dabbling in presentation and communication skills like they never have before. The artists are incredible and bring such great talent to the classroom! I love seeing students creating monologues, scripts, digital stories, and canvases that express their learning.”
In late February, students got to attend an Alliance performance of “The Jungle Book” at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur.