Friday, September 19, 2014

Preparing for a whole new classroom.

Jennifer D'Agostino, Teaching Artist

This year, I am preparing to teach 5 classes of 1st grade students at George Armstrong Elementary. This is obviously a little unique since Opera For All is typically geared at 4th to 6th grade. I am very excited to see how the 1st grade students and their teachers will react. I know we are asking them to complete a huge task: to write their own opera in 34 weeks!

A lot of my approach to preparation includes considering the interests and abilities of a typical 1st grader. There are a couple activities in our master schedule that I am thinking about moving to earlier, so our students have plenty of time to master the class dance, their character creation, and learning our class song.

Another aspect of teaching 1st graders that is considered is their attention span. We are changing the classes from our typical 50-minute session to 30-minutes. By allowing shorter bursts of activities that are repeated weekly, I think we will have a lot of fun singing, dancing, and acting every week!

My Assistant Teaching Artist for this semester is Matt McNabb, who is new to COT. I'm excited to get to know him and his strengths! It's great to have both male and female represented in the classroom!
In my lesson planning, I have utilized websites like Pinterest to find craft activities, and researched different ways to integrate Illinois core curriculum standards for writing, reading, team building, science, and language of the arts. This year, our topic is "Dinosaurs: A Terrific Tale," and our students are taking a field trip to the Chicago Field Museum. My main objectives in lesson planning are to create fun activities that keep our students engaged, while working toward an impressive end presentation. I can't wait to see our students costume design pictures of their dinosaur costumes, sing the class dinosaur song, and create a unique storyline!

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