What’s a director in charge of? “EVERYTHING,” shouted fourth-graders in Pat McFadden and Camille Viola’s class this Tuesday.
Fourth-grade classes have been working with Stage Left Children’s Theater Artistic Director/Instructor Ayn Lauren as part of a 20-week theatre enrichment program at Cottage Lane Elementary School. “We piloted the program at William O. Schaefer Elementary School with second-graders, but this is the first time we’re working with fourth-graders,” said Ms. Lauren. “We’re working on bringing their writing to life.”
The enrichment program aligns with the fourth-grade realistic fiction unit. Small ensembles perform an excerpt of a classmate’s writing, then the writer considers and critiques. Performers are encouraged to delve into the writing and find hidden things to express.
“Our motto is ‘Writing informs acting, acting informs writing’,” Mrs. McFadden explained. “Students write, perform, then revise.”
The session is high-energy, collaborative and creative. “It gets the kids excited about writing,” Ms. Viola noted. “Some kids need different ways to express themselves and this has been wonderful for them.”
And over the course of several weeks, students have grown as writers. “There’s no doubt that their writing has become much more descriptive,” Ms. Lauren said. “They’ve produced beautiful work.”