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The IN OUR OWN WORDS Project

A partnership of Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Kealakehe Elementary School for 4th and 5th grade English Language Learners.  Supported by National Endowment for the Arts and the McInerny Foundation with additional funds from the West Hawaii Department of Education ELL program.

Why this approach?
In the videos below you will see:

How students respond to the activities;
What the strategies look like in action;
Techniques for leading activities, asking questions, modeling for and with students, guiding reflection, offering feedback and support.

Preparation and Exploration

These activities provide the foundation for the students’ forays into drama.  The activities establish a sense of teamwork while introducing the essential skills students will be using learning.  They set the tone for lessons; establish an atmosphere of engaging fun, give students opportunities for quick and accessible successes and to gain comfort with drama strategies and skills.  Each video segment focuses on a basic tool of expression. 

Application

It simply takes time for students to develop comfort with expressing themselves in unfamiliar ways.  They seek validation for their choices, both from the teacher and peers, and need the assurance of an enriching pay-off for their endeavors.  Breaking creative processes into small steps helps build understanding and confidence. It guides students to make personal choices about expressive ideas built on a solid foundation of understanding and support.

Reflection

Students need reflective moments to step away from activities and think aloud about what they have experienced and understand.  As students reflect they learn to hold their own work or their peers’ to a high standard. As students reflect on their and their peers’ ongoing creations they became insightful, articulate artists.  By consistently asking questions, teachers can model for the students how valuable the process of reflection is to learning.