Lisa Golda, COT Teaching Artist at Clinton & Hampton Elementary Schools
This week's sessions were a great start to what I expect will be a wonderful year for myself and teaching artist partner Kim Chin at Clinton School. We're working with three classes this year, 3rd - 5th graders, and two of our teachers and one of our classes are returning to the program. It will be really exciting to see how our repeat students contribute to the curriculum, being experienced composers and performers! Many of these children offered detailed definitions of "Opera" and all were excited to see us again! Having teachers that have experienced and obviously enjoyed OFA (Opera for All) will also be a wonderful positive variable in this year's experience!
We started the classes with an introductory names song sung to the tune "Skip to My Lou". This is an opportunity to learn names, as well as to get the students singing right away and understanding that Opera Class is different from their other classes! The kids responded enthusiastically and happily, without shyness. Next, we passed an inflatable beach ball with questions such as "What do you dream about?" and "Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?" Students had to catch the ball, introduce themselves, and then toss it to the next student once they answered the question. This exercise got them standing and out of their desks, and also gave them a taste of cooperation and self-control similiar to that needed onstage as they tossed the ball to each other. Answering the questions helped us to learn a little about them and begin establishing a rapport; something that teachers in previous years have stressed as an important factor in classroom atmosphere and participation.
Next week, we'll meet our students at Hampton; a new school for me, as Clinton was this week for Kim! Can't wait!