Exploring School Community Through Drama

What does it mean to be Willowbrook?  Who or what makes a community?  What does it look like, sound like, and feel like?  These are some of the essential questions that our students explored this week with our Artist in Residence.

With the financial support of the PTO, we hosted teaching artists from The Writers Theatre of Glencoe.  They worked with each individual class and guided the students through dramatic exercises and creative movement.  Their play was guided by this year’s school-wide theme of #bewillowbrook.

Kindergarten and 1st grade students created tableaus (3D pictures with their bodies) that represented the qualities of a safe and strong school.  At 2nd grade, students used creative movement to generate ideas for a class poem about Willowbrook School.  The teaching artists helped the students stretch out their ideas with sentence stems:

  • Willowbrook is…
  • 2nd grade is…
  • I am…
  • I am…
  • We are…

At 4th grade, students were led through a variety of ensemble exercises.  One of my favorites included the sharing of personal stories.  Students were challenged to share their stories and then let them go.  It is difficult to let someone else tell your story and act it out!

Once the 5th graders were warmed up, the teaching artists asked which school experiences shaped them?  They were also asked about their best days, worst days, and challenges they faced over the years.  With all of these individual moments, the students made statues of their feelings, smells, and sights.  This collage of individual moments represented BOTH a piece of their individual story and the collective story of OUR Willowbrook School.

The teaching artists appreciated how the classroom teachers jumped right into the dramatic exercises and played with the students.  The students were able to take risks and demonstrate vulnerability with their peers as they took on different aspects of an ensemble.  We all walked away from this experience reflecting on the impact that our feelings and memories have on the choices we make, because the choices you make build your identity and the identity of your community.

This entry was posted in School Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.