Hello ETC Community!!
Katie McCreary (Ms. Katie to many) here again! This time, I’m not here to talk to you about giving money, I’m here to talk about one of the awesome things we do that I get to oversee - our in-school programming.
ETC has been fortunate for many years that our longstanding partnership with Cardinal (nee McKinley) Elementary has included in-school workshops funded by the PTA. These started as two workshops per grade and have grown since then to better meet the needs of the students. This year, we’re doing multiple workshops in Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades; partnering with the 3rd grade teachers to enhance their Morning Meetings; and working with 5th graders and the incredible Counseling team together!
To start off each workshop, I have the great pleasure of meeting directly with the Cardinal teachers. They identify what parts of their curriculum could use a little bonus support. From there, we schedule some workshops and I start booking Teaching Artists. The lesson plan that is created is sent to the classroom teachers (or counselors) prior to our visits so that they can identify any changes that might need to be made to best help their students. It’s this collaboration that is so key to success in this partnership - ETC isn’t just coming in to do a theatre workshop for an hour, we’re there to support the curriculum that the teachers are teaching.
This year, I am also doing in-school programming with Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary. This programming was to have happened in the 2019-20 school year with only their three Kindergarten classrooms, but we were exactly one visit to each classroom in when the schools had to shut down. Luckily for us (a lot, really, for me), Drew didn’t forget about us and not only are we back this year, but I am in all Kindergarten AND all 1st grade classrooms once a week for the nine-week third quarter this year! This ability to work consistently with the same students on social studies, science, and theatre is an incredible opportunity. The process here is similar, in that I am not only in regular meetings with the classroom teachers to identify areas for growth in their students, but lesson plans are also sent to them for feedback and collaboration. I am hopeful that it will continue in the coming years as I see growth in these students every visit!
When I was in college, I had a double major in Theater and Elementary Education. I was asked (often, very often) what I planned to do with that double major. Ok, in truth, I was first asked, “Oh, education to fallback on when theater doesn’t work, huh?” and then when I would say that I didn’t believe in “fallback” careers and that education shouldn’t be treated that way, THEN I was asked what I planned to do…Anyway, my answer was always that I wanted to teach theater in elementary schools. ETC has given me that opportunity in a way that I only wished for before joining our staff, and I am forever thankful that I get to do exactly what I said I would do!
Some students learn by moving, some by storytelling, some by listening, some by experimenting, etc. ETC is there to be part of that “etc.” (see what I did there?) - we support the classroom curriculum by encouraging students to explore each lesson using their actor tools of body, voice, and imagination. For some students, this is reinforcement. For some, it’s the first time they maybe “get” the subject. And for others, it’s a chance to see the information in a different light. That’s a key part of our job as teachers - and one of my favorite things about my job - to help learners learn. ETC’s in-school programming does that by supporting students and teachers alike.