Literacy Through the Arts
Literacy Through the Arts increases students’ reading, writing, and verbal expression skills through a multi-arts curriculum incorporating theater, literature, music, visual arts, and dance. Arts For All is excited that Literacy Through the Arts, which began with two Kindergarten classes at PS 15 in 2007, now covers the entire Grades K-2, as well as Grades K through 2 at Hamilton Heights School!
Teaching Artists Lena Moy-Borgen, and Robin Cannon Colwell teach Kindergarten through 1st grade classes at Hamilton Heights school and PS 15. Teaching Artist Marissa Wolf teaches 2nd grade students at PS 15 and Shawn Shafner serves as Program Manager in both schools. Literacy Through the Arts reinforces and expands on the reading, writing and speaking skills already being built in the classroom by offering students an evolving artistic vocabulary with which to express stories, ideas and emotions. Arts For All hopes to expand Literacy Through the Arts into Grade 2 at Hamilton Heights School in the coming academic year.
Kindergarten students learn music, dance, visual arts, rhythm, and theatre to learn the alphabet and simple words. Kindergarteners explore oral presentation for performance by practicing speeches and movement. Robin has the students make musical instruments and use them to sing songs to practice letter recognition. For the final project, students play the instruments created in class, “shaking out” syllables to show performance skills, verbal expression, and articulation.
Grade 1 students learn storytelling, visual arts, rhyme, music, puppetry, and theatre, engaging in dramatic play, writing and drawing. Students use details, examples, and personal experiences from their lives as they begin to understand spelling and basic writing. Students are challenged to use language as a method for response and expression, and practice reading simple words accurately and fluently. Lena guides the students to dissect Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny to learn story structure, and facilitates a year end project in which they write their own story, learn photography technique, and field trip around their neighborhood taking pictures to make their own books. For their final project, students write their own short plays and perform with puppets they create.
Grade 2 students form an acting ensemble, utilizing the actor’s expressive body, voice, imagination and heart (emotion) as applied to literary works. Shawn helps students to understand and apply concepts of setting, character, and plot in the dramatization of stories, while using inference and deduction to understand illustration, character arcs, and emotional literacy. First semester focuses on poetry, and culminates in a Reader’s Theater performance incorporating rhythm and movement. Students turn their attention second semester to folktales, studying five character archetypes and the many cultural variations of Cinderella. Students then create their own Cinderella adaptation set in New York City, performing their play in a field trip to the Hans Christian Andersen statues in Central Park.
If you are interested in learning more about Literacy Through the Arts, please contact us.
**Literacy Through the Arts is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.**