Fine Arts Center

Arts for All Narratives

Arts for All Narratives

Below are narratives which accompanied successfully funded applications.

Question 1: How will you use the performance experience in your classroom, both pre- and post- performance? In other words, how will you fit this particular performance into your curriculum?

Question 2: How do you expect this performance will benefit your students?

Sample A: Kindergarten teacher, North Woods International School, La Crosse

  1. We have been pleased with the performances offered by Viterbo University as they have offered us the opportunity to choose stories that children are familiar with through their literature. In addition, attending the performances at Viterbo allows us to connect to our English Language Arts Common Core Standards, as well as incorporating our District Kindergarten Social Studies Standards. Traditionally, we have spent time before the performance reading and discussing the stories and their authors. Children are then given the opportunity to see these stories come to life, and after the performance are given the opportunity to practice a learned literacy skill of making connections by comparing and contrasting the books to the performance. Upon returning, students complete a writing prompt on their favorite play, or part of the play. This page goes into their kindergarten memory books.

    In addition to the academic component, attending the performances at Viterbo gives us a great opportunity to practice important social skills and appropriate audience behavior. Because our particular school hosts many visitors and events, this skill is even more valuable. We are particularly excited to attend The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare as these are stories that are much loved and pulled into so many parts of our kindergarten curriculum- both academically and socially.
  2. Being kindergarteners, most of our students have had little or no experience with attending public performances. The opportunity to attend a live play in a real theater is quite a thrill and gives our students experience in practicing important social skills. In addition, about 50% of our school population is eligible for free or reduced lunch assistance. For these students, a trip to the theatre is most likely not a reality except through a school field trip. With school budgets getting tighter, special opportunities such as this are becoming harder to include as enrichment to our curriculum.  Fine Arts are an important, but threatened, component of school curriculum that enhances the development of the whole child through the exploration of imagination and creative expression.

Sample B: Fifth grade teacher, Bangor Elementary

  1. Dr. Martin Luther King, his actions and related people and events are important topics of study for all school children. Five important lessons that Dr. King’s actions taught are: always be civil, peace and non-violence is always better, you can always do the right thing, always help others, never give up on your dreams. These are things we directly and indirectly work on nearly every day of the school year.

    Leon’s Story by Leon Walter Tillage is a book read in our English/Language Arts course. This book introduces the students to what life was like for African American children in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Schools were not integrated, and in many ways black Americans were discriminated against. Jim Crow laws were in effect and if black families did not abide by those rules, the KKK would visit them. After some drunken teenagers killed Leon’s dad and Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Leon’s school, Leon became a part of the Civil Rights Movement.

    We share many read aloud picture books that introduce and reinforce various events related to Dr. King’s work. Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford introduces the Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins. This book presents these historic events in kid friendly terms. Mississippi Morning by Ruth Vander Zee is a powerful story that reveals racial discrimination in the south, the workings of the Klan, the morality of right and wrong, and a child faced with the truth that their parent is not always right. This is a read aloud that is used to introduce the Civil Rights Movement and the KKK to the students.

    Eloise Greenfield’s Rosa Parks introduces the reader to the amazing woman whose actions became an instrumental part of the modern Civil Rights Movement. This book is written at a lower grade level, but is very appropriate for readers who are not quite at grade level and want to find out more about this important leader. This book is usually used in a guided reading group. A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson is a child’s eye view of the Civil Rights Movement. Again, this book is used to introduce the students to Dr. King and his activities.

    The play I Have a Dream: The Life and Times of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be used as a reference in sharing the previously mentioned books. The students will have that common experience to support the study of Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and the events surrounding American’s continuing Civil Rights Movement.
  2. Theatre experiences make events and people from history come to life. The opportunity to attend the theatre would be considered a peak experience for many of our students. I fully expect that by attending a live theatre performance that the students of Bangor Elementary will benefit in many ways. I have enjoyed attending theatre performances at Viterbo University (College) with my fifth grade classes for the past twenty-eight years. I strongly feel that young people need exposure to the arts. Coming from a very small rural community, the only opportunity to attend a live performance in our own town is the annual middle/high school musical. The director usually selects a musical with a very large cast which allows for the inclusion of some of our elementary students. This year very few elementary school children were chosen to act, however, some students were given the opportunity to be part of a choir performing within the musical. Otherwise, in order to appreciate the theatre, we must travel outside our own community La Crosse, with its Viterbo, UW-L, La Crosse Community Theater, Weber Center for the Arts is a natural choice.


Sample C: Kindergarten teacher, Onalaska Kindergarten Center

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to apply for the Arts for All assistance program. We have many kindergarten children who are unable to take part in theatre experiences in their home life and we are excited to provide this important experience for them. We have chosen to attend the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt theatre performance. We believe that this show will connect young kindergarten learning experiences to real life experiences as well as to the literature itself.

    Our kindergarten students are familiar with the song already and have a heightened interest in the material. A performance of this nature provides students the opportunity to compare and contrast a story book to a live show. Prior to attending, our kindergarten children will take part in movement and drama activities both in the classroom and in music class. They will be experiencing hands on what it is like to be an actor or actress. Gross motor skills, listening skills, body awareness, interpretation, creativity and more are all aspects our students will be engaged in while taking part in these drama activities.

    Preparing our students for the show by providing background knowledge of theatre and the play itself will allow students to walk into the performance ready to learn and enjoy. Reading the text itself and discussing the characters, setting, sequence of events will give the students a solid foundation of the storyline before becoming an audience member.

    Following the show, students will be able to retell the story with details, identify characters, setting, and major events. Students will be able to take part in collaborative conversations about the performance and ask and answer questions. They will be able to form an opinion about what they viewed and express their thoughts and feelings clearly. I have listed a number of the common core state standards that are a part of our curriculum that fit this experience. I expect that this performance will provide a fun and engaging experience that the students will be excited about discussing. Having a topic that students are interested about will increase the learning outcomes. The education pack that is provided contains numerous activities that teachers can use to enhance the learning experience in each individual classroom. Also included are some specific activities that are planned for our classrooms.
  2. In addition to all of the academic benefits our students will gain from this experience they will also have an opportunity to practice being respectful, responsible, and productive. It is highly beneficial to take young students to a public performance to teach them how they should behave. Many children are not taught these life-long skills that they will need to be successful. Our hope is to introduce theatre to those students who have not previously had an experience and develop an enjoyment for the arts.

    Common Core State Standards

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.2 - With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3 - With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.9 - With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.2 - Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.