African-Themed Learning Strand
Here are some of the ways artists and teachers collaborate on activities
in the African strand at P.S. 156, The Waverly School for the Arts:
- African dance artist Caren Plummer and African drummer Kojo Plummer
collaborate with first-grade teacher Allison Sicuranza and dance and
movement teacher Scott Pivnik to prepare first-grade students for
the culminating performance.
- Poet Leonore Gordon works with Sicuranza and the students to
create poems of farewell based on an African poetic form. Student
poetry is incorporated into the culminating performance and published
in a student poetry anthology.
- Sicuranza uses the study of African dance as a starting point
for a social studies and vocabulary lesson comparing dance in African
communities and dance in the childrens own community.
- Teachers and visiting artists communicate regularly about their
plans so the artists can develop appropriate activities and teachers
can prepare students to learn. Everyone involved in a strand also
participates in regular team meetings to review the strand curriculum
and plan the culminating performance.
Learning is reciprocal between artists and teachers, observes
principal Martha Rodriguez-Torres. Collaboration provides an opportunity
for teachers to learn about the art form in a nonthreatening way and
for artists to learn classroom skills.