Len Newman and Richard Kinslow's English Language Learner Class at Central Falls High School
Central Falls, RI
Design and Implementation
An important aspect of the ArtsLiteracy Project's (ArtsLit) design is how it connects to university resources. Housed within Brown University's Education Department, ArtsLit plays a vital role connecting Brown's academic resources with local, professional performing artists; teachers; and elementary, middle, and high school students. An undergraduate/graduate course at Brown serves as the Project's "think tank" on arts and literacy. Constant documentation and evaluation of Project work inform its design.
The following section describes two key facets of ArtsLit's design and implementation:
In ArtsLit professional development, teachers participate in the following:
At Brown Summer High School, teachers and actors work together with a class of high school students to "bring a text to life."
Coached by experienced mentors, teachers and actors work in pairs to research, plan, and teach a daily two-hour course, entitled "From the Page to the Stage," to high school students. The teacher-actor pairs observe one another teach, debrief, reflect, and participate in a range of workshops. They launch a culminating performance at the end of the summer as an exhibition of the students' understanding of the text.
This intensive summer training introduces teachers to the ArtsLit curricular framework and strategies, which are later applied to teachers' public school classrooms during the academic year.
During the school year, the in-school and after-school partnerships involve two levels of professional development components:
1. Workshops - Through weekend and weeklong workshops, ArtsLit models how the arts can be used as a tool in the classroom to enhance student literacy. Participants analyze a challenging text through discussion, writing, reading, and performance.
2. Classroom Application - Artists and teachers actively work together in classrooms to apply the methodologies practiced in workshops to the specific needs of the students. Artist-teacher collaboration might take three forms: (1) artist modeling tools for teacher, (2) teacher and artist co-teaching, and (3) teacher teaching while artist supports. An experienced mentor teacher coaches artist-teacher teams and facilitates reflection on each day's work and on the overall process.
Most school-year units last about six or seven weeks and involve twelve artist visits based on the following structure:
While any text can be used, the following are recent examples:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
ArtsLiteracy workshops for teachers and artists are offered on weekends in the fall and spring and for a week during the summer. The workshops address how ArtsLit strategies can be incorporated meaningfully into daily classroom practice. They offer participants a chance to learn from one another as they refresh and refine their skills. Teachers of all levels have an opportunity to learn arts-based literacy strategies alongside artists and students. Artists have the benefit of drawing on their performance experience while collaborating with teachers, other artists, and youth to develop arts-based literacy curricula.
The Performance Cycle serves as an instructional model to all teachers and artists who participate in The ArtsLiteracy Project (ArtsLit). Through the Performance Cycle, teachers guide students in reading and comprehending text, writing original scripts, and producing a quality performance.
For a full description of the Performance Cycle and activities for each element, see http://www.artslit.org/handbook.html
The ArtsLiteracy Project Performance Cycle
The following describes how the seven elements of the Performance Cycle relate to key components of the Adolescent Literacy in the Content Areas spotlight.
Performance Cycle Elements:
1. Building Community
Through Building Community, ArtsLit promotes safety, support, personalization (not being anonymous to teachers or to other students); student voice; enactive learning; and an important social context for learning and fun.
Building Community as Key Component A practices:
2. Entering Text
In ArtsLit, Entering Text always takes place before students read challenging text. ArtsLit provides instructional scaffolding by engaging students actively and collaboratively in the concepts and vocabulary that they will encounter in the text. In doing so, ArtsLit also develops teachers' and artists' capacity for using strategies of metacognition, reading for understanding, and student engagement.
Entering Text as Key Component B practices:
Entering Text as a Key Component C practice:
3. Comprehending Text
ArtsLit uses highly enactive and collaborative learning to support reading for understanding and continues to integrate metacognition and engagement throughout the Performance Cycle. Activities based on explicit comprehension strategies such as (but not limited to) fluency, prediction, and visualization provide abundant opportunities to practice higher order thinking skills and to master the text.
Comprehending Text as Key Component B practices:
4. Creating Text
In the process of creating original scripts for performances, ArtsLit provides an abundance of opportunities to practice and master written language. Students also use writing to interpret the experiences of the characters in the text in terms of their own experiences and to derive meaning from the text.
Creating Text as Key Component B practices:
5 and 6. Rehearsing/Revising Text, Performing Text
ArtsLit's rehearsal process provides a chance for students to continuously revise their performance. Throughout the revision process, students both give and receive feedback on their work. This feedback from peers and teachers allows for continuous assessment and elevates the work to a higher level of quality.
Rehearsing/Revising Text, Performing Text as Key Component A practices:
Rehearsing/Revising Text, Performing Text as Key Component B practices:
After each day's activities and after a performance, deliberate reflection becomes a welcomed habit and opportunity for expressing one's individual voice. It also provides opportunities for supporting metacognition, community building, organizational development, and professional development.
Reflection as a Key Component B practice:
Reflection as a Key Component D practice: