Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Heather Keith, Opera for All Teaching Artist

Opera for all is back in the swing of things!  The last three weeks we have been editing our script and reviewing our song. I am so impressed with how much the students remembered over break! I also have been noticing a renewed sense of focus at all of my schools. I think everyone has caught the show bug. 

(Student at Chase excited about reviewing her class song)

The editing process was such a great opportunity for the students to start working as more of an ensemble and to learn about compromising individual ideas for the good of the group.  One McAuliffe 6th student, who I believe has the makings of a future SNL writer, had so many great ideas, but not all of them fit into the story his class was creating. I was so proud of him for recognizing the need for compromise in this process and letting some of his best jokes go to make the script better as a whole. 

At Reilly I’m seeing some great improvement in the way the students communicate with each other. Reilly is such an amazing school and the students are always well behaved, this semester I am seeing the students have discussions with each other about the plot of their script in a much more collaborative way. Real teamwork is being implemented at Reilly.

Since this is my second year at Chase, I’ve set the bar pretty high for the students there and they are doing a great job of meeting my expectations. Through out the editing process they were supportive of each other’s ideas and they were very productive in fixing plot holes in their scripts. I feel the quality of show the Chase students will be performing this year is at a much higher than last year and I couldn’t be prouder.

 Also I am very excited to announce OFA added a brand new school: Hanson Park Elementary! I am so excited to be working with such a talented group of students.

Last week at Hanson Park we reviewed famous Chicago and Illinois historical figures. This week we chose several of those figures and created our basic plot. The students also wrote lines for themselves, which we will integrate into a script.  Students not only wrote their own dialogue, but also drew pictures to help communicate their ideas of settings and who their individual characters will be.

(Picture drawn by a 4th grade Hanson Park student of the Science and Industry Museum, 
which is the setting of one the operas)

(Character drawing by a Hanson Park 4th Grade student)

(Character drawling by a Hanson Park 5th grade student)

(Dialogue example for a 5th grade Hanson Park student.)

As you can see, the students at Hanson Park are incredibly creative! The process of creating an opera in one semester may seem daunting to some, but if the last 2 weeks are any indication, I think Hanson Park is going to have two amazing student produced operas!

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