Teaching Artist

25 years experience in the classroom...

    …School residencies and workshops with children of all ages
    …Training young actors, directors, playwrights and designers
    …A National Teaching Artist with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts -Partners in Education Program
    …100,000 children
    …Hundreds of teachers
    …Lesson plans designed around every possible need and subject
    …Public, Charter and Private schools in: Hawaii; Mississippi; Georgia; Washington, DC; San Jose, California; Los Angeles; Marshall Islands; American Samoa; Pondicherry, Chennai, Coimbatore and Kochi, India

But facts are not enough.  As an accomplished Teaching Artist, Dan works closely with partners and sponsors to develop lessons and workshops that directly address the needs and interests of the participants.  Engaging students through interactive, collaborative activities, the process builds confidence with expression while deepening comprehension of subject matter.  Students develop the capacity to take risks, work collaboratively and reflect on their own learning process.

The key to engagement is authentic investment in the subject matter being explored.  Generating an emotional investment within children for a particular topic draws them deeper into the subject and, in my experience, makes the learning more tangible and purposeful for them.  Often, with drama, this means the roles they adopt while exploring the story or event.  By role-playing specific characters, the students develop empathy for the characters and their situations, seeing the story or event through the point of view of those characters.  Having invested the time in the characters, they come to invest in the characters’ situation or plight.


Literature and Literacy
Students explore the situations of characters in literature, considering the choices that the characters face, why the characters made such choices and what alternatives they might have had.  Students come to see themselves as the characters, developing an investment in the story.
 “Drama helped me understand how might have Derrick Dunne bullied Stanley before he was in camp Green Lake. The statues gave me a an image of Derrick Dunne’s position or stance. It also helped me with reading strategy, sensory image […] It was genius how the people had to treat us to, how high our rank was. Then when we got our idea, we treated people according to our thoughts to how high our rank is. It helped me understand how much power each person has.” Grade 6 student reflecting on Holes residency

Language Arts
From simple activities exploring parts of speech, to more complex lessons that offer students clear insight into techniques such as sequence, cause and effect, and foreshadowing, students develop deeper comprehension through practical, creative use.
“When taking drama, I feel that I can comprehend more without reading. I understand the feelings and emotions of the person. To me everything seems so real when we use drama to explore the book.” 10th grader

Social Studies
Excerpted from ‘Voyages of Discovery” by Daniel A. Kelin, II, Social Studies and the Young Learner, National Council of the Social Studies
"Guiding students through a dramatic exploration of an historical event can elicit strong emotional reactions that can deepen student understanding and interest in the subject matter.  Participating students, in-role as historical characters, express real frustration over having lands taken away, being forced to relocate, or acts of discrimination against them. In a journal entry from a workshop residency I led on the Japanese Internment, May 2004, a 6th grade student wrote, “The part when we got to experience how people felt when they had to go to the internment camp, even if it wasn’t true I felt scared that I had to go into the camp and shocked that I couldn’t bring a few things that I wanted to bring.”

Excerpted from “Wading into the Imagination” by Daniel A. Kelin, II, Education&Theatre Journal, Athens, Greece
"As we lowered the rectangular piece of grey cotton cloth onto the turquoise cloths covering the classroom floor, the 8 and 9 year olds surrounding the cloths expressed concern.  When the grey covered the turquoise, the children articulated their disappointment and anger.  'Why did you have to build there?' 'Why did you pour cement over those animals’ homes?” “How can you take someone else’s home away?' "How would you feel if we went to your house and flattened it right now?'  In a discussion that followed, the students fiercely advocated for protection of the turquoise cloths: the cloths representing endangered Hawaiian wetlands they had imaginatively created through a combination of art and drama."

Oral History
“The strength in critical thinking and problem solving emerged in several of the students when challenged and was very much appreciated by others in their group. My students also stated how they learned to appreciate other cultures more through the stories, oral sharing and visual experiences brought to the class. I felt the most important aspect of this program was the idea of sharing oral histories. It gave them an idea of what they would seek from friends, relatives and elders in their community […] I appreciate having HTY residencies as they align with the Hawaii content of performance standards very well and I learned how to deliver similar instructions and use of the strategies of the artists.”
6th grade teacher

Devising Original Stories/Plays
Through a highly collaborative process, groups of students develop a story or play from the very foundations; conceiving storylines, creating characters, inventing action and interactions and developing dialogue and narration that encapsulates their ideas.  Students gain the comfort to effectively and almost effortlessly express their stories or plays because the ideas, the action and the words come from them through a comfort-building, reflective process that helps them learn from their mistakes without fear of taking risks.  Through the devising process, students learn to problem-solve, trust themselves and their partners and support the truly collaborative endeavors of their peers. In the end, students share their creations with peers, friends, family and/or the community.

“When I need help, I think of drama.” 3rd grader

“Kids were challenged intellectually as well as socially. The activities were demanding but they approached them with joy and seriousness. Their imaginations and creativity were sparked.  The joy of learning it offered to the students, as they were so engaged and focused. Being able to observe Dan’s expertise was a real plus as well.  How he scaffolds lessons, how he manages behavior and supports was a real learning opportunity for me.” 4th grade teacher

“I got the most out of observing Daniel with my toughest group. He was stern and held high expectations for each and every student. This high standard is much easier to withhold since Daniel set the bar.” 8th grade Teacher

"I wanted to say how much you've changed my life. For an extremely reserved introvert kid like I was, the programs really helped me mimic expressive and resilient people, learn to speak in public, build something tangible and physical. Plus I've always been passionate about pedagogy--and learning from you, watching how to guide a group of students, to critical writing, and to build a community was a great gift." One time student, current entrepreneur

"Mr. Dan has many powerful classroom management techniques. I've learned a lot from observing him. Most important of all, my students were thinking out of the box, using Level 4 DOK (Depth of Knowledge). Also, attendance was better than usual. There were 0 absences most days of the residency. All of my students loved Mr. Dan. I saw many who really 'opened up' taking risks to share their ideas. They felt really safe in this learning environment."

2nd grade teacher