Fine Arts Center

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Arts for All

An Assistance Program for Local Schools

Narrative Examples

The following examples are narratives from applications that were funded in the 2011-2012 Arts for All cycle.  These examples represent what the panel is looking for when we allocate funding.  Specific examples of how the performance(s) your group will be attending will connect back to the classroom, and how attending will benefit your students should be included in each narrative.

How will you use the performance experience in the classroom/How do you expect this performance to benefit your students?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the panel for the financial assistance our class has received over the past few years. Your generosity has provided the opportunity or middle level students with developmental disabilities to enjoy the arts. Please consider my application again this year.

I have been bringing a special education class to a production of the Ronald McDonald Arts for Young America at Viterbo University for the past 17 years. We look forward to each year’s production and have never been disappointed. This year’s class consists of ten 6th, 7th and 8th grade students with cognitive, and/or physical disabilities. Of these ten students two use a motorized wheelchair and one has a moderate hearing loss.  All the students require a special curriculum in the areas of math, reading, writing, independent living skills, art, music, health, and social skills. Along with a functional curriculum taught in the classroom these students learn best from hands on real life experiences in the community.

I have two objectives in mind when choosing performances. The first is to choose a play based on literature, a historical event, or friendship theme applicable to middle level learning. The second objective is to provide the class with a community based experience to assist with transition into real life.

With the first objective in mind I have chosen “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The students were very excited to hear this year’s performance. Last year the class attended the production of “Frindle”. It was an excellent performance and true to the novel. Students talked about the play for weeks.

I am always excited for my students to interact in the community and to experience the performing arts first hand. Getting out of the classroom and going to the Fine Arts Center is an amazing experience. It is an excellent way to practice manners and being a good audience. The live performances enhance student vocabulary and enrich their lives. Most importantly, the students are able to enjoy the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers.

Thank you for considering us for the Arts for All assistance program. I believe the performance will fit well into our literature curriculum, benefit the students socially, and prepare them for the future.

—Paula Thompson, Cognitive Disabilities Teacher
Logan Middle (La Crosse)

How will we use the performance experience in the classroom?

If You Give a Moose a Muffin is a fantastic read aloud story with wonderful illustrations. It is a story that keeps the attention of young readers, and one that they request to hear over and over again! Prior to reading the story, the students can share their predictions about the story. We also plan to draw upon the setting of the play, the characters, the plot, and the sequence of events, which touch on one of the main goals of our reading instruction (our students being able to identify these main parts of a story).

We also plan to look at other stories by Laura Numeroff. We can compare Laura Numeroff’s stories to the play with a Venn diagram, and can use what we observe at the play during reader’s theatres within the classrooms. Students in some classes will write a “Critic’s Corner” review of the performance once it is done. An experience lie this will allow our students to reflect and compare different versions of the story-the book and the theatre production.

We plan to use this play to promote drama and dramatic play in the classroom. Many of our students have never seen a play, nor do they even know what a play is. The play would reinforce the meaning of drama and the use of expression when reading out loud and acting, and would get students excited about doing plays in their own classrooms.

Students will research and write about moose and other animals from Numeroff’s stories, and will be able to use journal writing and drawing to reflect on their experience. During art, they will also learn about illustrating stories and how the process works. There will also be discussion about designing sets and using props.

The students will learn about productions that are based on literature. We will discuss what changes when a story is turned into a performance and will discuss other movies or plays that are based on books. After the performance, we will evaluate the similarities and differences between the live performance and reading the story.

This performance would be a great value to our 4K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade curriculum.

How do you expect this performance to benefit your students?

First and foremost, our students rarely have the means by which to attend something like this. We live in a low-income area where many families don’t have the ability to take their children to professional performances. Being culturally exposed to the arts has lifelong benefits, and to interest our students in this at a young age will benefit them throughout their lives.

Real experiences like this one are key to vocabulary development and the understanding of story concepts. We are confident that this will have a great impact on our students.

Socially, it is important that our students learn how to sit in an auditorium and clap and/or laugh at appropriate parts of the play. This knowledge can be applied to concerts and other local performances that our students may attend.

Finally, experiences like this are what spark the interest of our students. We are confident that the play will excite them about the use of drama in the classroom, teach them important social skills while attending performances, enrich core subject areas in the classroom, and begin the development of a lifelong love and appreciation for the arts as well as reading.

—Principal, B.A. Kennedy Elementary (Prairie du Chien)

How will we use the performance experience in the classroom?

The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.” (William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education). As an educator, I feel strongly about the performance arts and feel I could easily incorporate Viterbo’s dramatic productions into the kindergarten curriculum. Not only will we read the play several times to explore different concepts, such as author, illustrator, sequencing, characters, and setting, we will also use the play as a soundboard to start our “Reader’s Theater.” In Reader’s Theater, children learn short plays while creating simple props, and then perform these plays for other classrooms. Furthermore, by viewing a dramatic production of a book already read, the children will be better able to make connections to the literature: connections to themselves, connections to other pieces of literature, and connections to the world. By including the performing arts in our curriculum, I feel we can challenge children’s perceptions about their world and about themselves. Drama can provide children with an outlet for emotions that might not otherwise express, and students are able to experience the realistic or fictional problems faced by characters in the literature.

How do you expect this performance to benefit your students?

I expect the Viterbo performances to benefit my students in many ways. First, learning to express yourself creatively and appropriately is a crucial part of the early learning experience. Through theater, children learn cooperation and the ability to work well together; they develop concentration and the ability to focus on individual and group activities; they develop non-verbal self-expression and the use of body to express a character’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas; and finally, they develop verbal self-expression to create dialogue and to create believable characters in scenes with a beginning, middle, and end. Finally, I believe children involved in the performing arts are better able to appreciate other points of view.

—Nancy Wettstein-Weaver, Kindergarten Teacher
Emerson Elementary (La Crosse)

To receive further information on this special program, contact 608-796-3735 or

The 2014-2015 Arts for All application will be available in July of 2014.

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