is currently a Teaching Artist with the
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Education
Institute. She is also available as a freelance
Teaching Artist/Director for individual
Teaching Artist-Theatre & Music
Available Lessons & Workshops:
In a story
pertinent to the class curriculum, a picture book is revealed,
stopping at every picture. When we stop at a picture, we imagine
all the sounds we might hear in the depicted scene. Students are
coached to really get in-depth; if there is a picture of a cow in a
farmyard they are asked, are lots of things besides "moos?" We make
the sounds while watching the teacher "conducts"--indicating louder
or softer like an orchestra conductor. This is done with each
picture. The story is then read again, this time not stopping.
This results in a smooth telling of the story with a running
soundtrack. Students are also exposed to soundtracks from movies and
theatre to compare to their soundtrack. What are these songs
telling them about the story? How do the sounds contribute and
enhance? Older students may even write a song to accompany the story
they have just heard.
think about a subject. (I.E. The four seasons, an animal safari or
the five senses). What are some of the activities you do in those
situations? What kinds of things do we tend to see/do in each of
those situations? When a subject is decided on, I call out “action”
using a “Hollywood clapboard”. The “actors” respond in character.
Sometimes there are several "Action!" calls for each topic. There
is a lot of stress on senses. What does the action sound like? Feel
like? Does it have a smell? A taste? What do you see?
Rap n’ Rhyme
Everyone sits in
a circle. The musical rhythm started with an instrument (keyboard,
maracas, etc.). The students clap to the beat of the instrument. A
rhyming word is asked for in rhythm. For instance “cat”. Anyone who
thinks they know a rhyming word raises their hand. When called on,
they do NOT say the word. Instead, they go into the center of the
circle and act out their guess while the circle claps. (For
example, a child might get into the circle and pantomime "bat" by
flapping his arms and swooping.)
The circle guesses what the
rhyming word is. Once the “scene” has been guessed, the teacher
reveals whether it is the right word. If it is, the round is over
and a new word is picked. (With older kids, the winner may pick the
new word.) If it is incorrect, another “actor” comes into the
circle to act out the guess. This can be increased in difficulty
depending upon the student’s ability.
Do you know the
words and melody for your national anthem? The definition of an
anthem? Learn about the history behind the words, images, and
music. Do you feel that it proclaims all that is good and true about
your country today? Listen as the teacher sings the anthem to you!
This is a lesson that
teaches the history of the National Anthem, the history of what an
anthem is. We brainstorm new or additional words to describe our
nation, words that tell about our country’s people, cultures,
history, arts, landscape, visions, and future. Other national
anthems may be included in this lesson.
We choose words that
resonate with the class. Write new lines to the national anthem that
we feel are pertinent to today. Then we talk about an anthem for
the class, the school. What would we write? What would we say about
ourselves? We write words that describe the situation and then put
them to a new tune or a familiar one using tone and meter. Students
will brainstorm words to describe their nation and individually or
in small groups compose a new anthem and present it in a dramatic
and visual way.
Your Feet Fairy Tales
The class reads a story pertinent to the curriculum of the class
(fairy tales have been successful). We talk about what problems are
encountered in the story. What challenges might we face in acting
it out? You have them act out the story. With older kids, you may
use the blackboard to assign roles, younger students act out the
action simultaneously. The story is read and the children act out
the events. We forge ahead with whatever the children create until
the end is reached. Props and costumes may be used in this lesson.
On the Air-
The beginning is a discussion of television commercials. A
television commercial is shown. How are commercials made? Why do
networks run commercials? Why do people watch them? What can you
tell about a community by watching the commercials of that area?
What are the commercials trying to say to us?
We talk about commercials,
as we see them today. What commercials do we like? What makes us
like them? Using the topics being discussed in the class, we come up
with ideas for what commercials could be created to promote them?
(I.E. History, Fairy Tales, Science) We divide into small groups
and each group retires to a different corner of the room. The
groups are given time to choose a commercial topic from the subject
being studied and rehearse their performance of it. The group then
comes together and each “commercial” is performed and the other
students act as audience. Each group in turn performs. If desired,
the students are recorded onto video camera and edited versions of
each “advertisement” are delivered back to the class.
incorporates creative writing and drama. Students are taught what
elements are necessary for a good story to be developed. Then
students focus on what elements make a good theatre production.
Students write stories and over a 4-5-lesson time frame that will
conclude the workshop with performances of some of the stories
created using props and costumes.
This is a
vocalization workshop for interested performers. What is stage
presence? How do you move on stage?
McGee will teach practical tips on developing your own style,
blending to create one voice in a group and pitch training for a
solid foundation. Also learn microphone manipulation and song
interpretation for solo performances!
Let’s Act Out!
This is a series of lessons focusing on one theatre production to be
performed at the conclusion of the workshop. A musical production
is chosen or developed and students learn to act, sing and dance in
the process of pulling the production together. Each lesson begins
with an acting and vocalization warm-up exercise. Music materials
are given to the students to take home and learn. This workshop may
be done in conjunction with any of the other school departments or
as a stand-alone event. A final production is presented in a school
performance and/or in a public performance.