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New World Kids at Smith Elementary

by Cassie Swayze, Programs Assistant

Earlier this month I had the privilege of visiting Christin Davis’ kindergarten and first grade classes at Smith Elementary. Using the New World Kids curricula this semester, Miss Christin’s students are exploring the sensory alphabet which includes:

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Space, color
  • Rhythm
  • Light, sound
  • Texture
  • Movement

We discussed Color by learning what a collage is and making original collages out of magazines. Miss Christin invited me to speak briefly as an informal Guest Artist about my own collages. Then together we guided her students to create unique collages.

The kindergarten class created collages using one color: red race cars, brick buildings, and apples cut out of magazines combined to make new designs. Miss Christin’s class of first graders was prompted to illustrate something they did that day or how they were feeling. It was an opportunity to reflect while showing what they learned from our discussion of Color. There were a few collages that stood out: one student used only triangles to illustrate her collage while another explored different types of lines found in various magazines. It was interesting to see different parts of the Sensory Alphabet present in these images.

I learned that I can do whatever I want with my imagination.

As we wrap up this year, I am thrilled to see our New World Kids classrooms’ work this semester, including the collages we made at Smith, displayed in galleries at their respective sharings. The entire Sensory Alphabet will be represented in their galleries, an exciting exploration of creative thinking.

About Creative Action’s After School Program:

  • 82% of students felt they could use art to express themselves
  • 97% reported that they kept trying to figure things out until they understand them

New Children’s Books for New World Kids

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Earlier this month Sarah Rinner, our Elementary Program Director, shared some exciting news about our New World Kids (NWK) curricula. NWK engages children with the creative thinking process by exploring the Sensory Alphabet, including:

  • Line
  • Shape
  • Rhythm
  • Space
  • Color, and more

The addition of New World Kids to our Afterschool programs meant we were able to add a lot of new children’s books to the Creative Action library. Here are a few of my favorites:

Color Zoo, Lois Ehlert explores shape by using animals’ faces constructed out of triangles, rectangles, squares, and circle cutouts. Flipping through the pages of this clever storybook a bear face morphs into a lion; a lion becomes a rabbit; and a rabbit transforms into a mouse.

 

Lines that Wiggle, Candace Whitman explores line by following a glittery line through various escapades like the wavy lines of an octopus’ arms; the lines that sprout a seed; and rainbow lines that are way up high.

 

My Friends/Mis Amigos, Taro Gomi explores movement by following the adventures of an adorable little girl who likes to walk like her favorite animals. She climbs trees like her friend the monkey; kicks like her friend the gorilla; explores the earth like an ant; and studies like her friends the teachers.

 

 

In other Afterschool news, today is Lights on Afterschool! Lights on Afterschool is a nationwide celebration designed to call attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America’s children, families and communities.

P.S. My favorite type of pie is strawberry rhubarb.

Join us at I Spy Pie! on Saturday, October 20th at Central Market North. 12 – 3 p.m.
Family fun, arts and crafts and pie for families of all ages!

 

Our Superhero Teaching Artists

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

For the next week and a half, our 2011-2012 community of teaching artists launch into our Fall training intensive.  I am very excited to meet our newest cohort of teachers and welcome our returning TAs to Theatre Action Project (TAP) After-School.

Yesterday was our first training day with new, returning, elementary, and middle school Teaching Artists: nearly fifty in attendance! We packed the Ruiz Branch library and played games like Chair Swap and Superhero Factory. In Superhero Factory, teams of Teaching Artists put their heads together to create a new hero using one unique trait from each person. Using their newly acquired superhero traits they posed for the rest of the team. The activity was goofy and fun, but led to a discussion about how this game could inspire the 4C’s in students.

The TAP After-School team is so lucky to have so many intelligent, engaging, and enthusiastic Teaching Artists this year. I can’t wait to see what our Superhero TAs create with their students this semester!

Donate Supplies to TAP After-School

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Theatre Action Project (TAP) After-School is always looking for new, used, and unusual supplies to add to our Supply Area. We stock a lot of craft supplies including:

  • scissors
  • paper
  • glue
  • glitter
  • pom-poms
  • plus much more!

TAP’s supply arsenal isn’t limited to what you might find at Hobby Lobby, though. We acquire a lot of recycled and materials from thoughtful donors and local recycling centers like Ecology Action. Anything and everything a teaching artist might need including: shoe boxes, paper towel rolls, buttons, brads, bubble-wrap, bamboo, newspaper, is organized and housed at the TAP office.

There are a few easy ways to donate to TAP After-School. All donations are tax-deductible and will be used to inspire learning in a TAP classroom throughout the school year. You can visit our Amazon Wishlist to donate either:

You can donate directly through Amazon and your purchase will be shipped to TAP. Or you can drop off gently used books, electronics (digital cameras, tripods), school, and craft supplies to the TAP office. Contact Cassie Swayze at cassie@theatreactionproject.org or 512-442-8773 x109 to arrange a time to donate.

Summer Pageant in the Park 2012 in Photos

Theatre Action Project’s Summer Pageant in the Park  on  June 23rd was an explosion of color, giant puppets and fun parade elements. Elementary students, their families, TAP Teaching Artists and staff marched in celebration of How Our Food Grows.

Here are just  a few photos  from behind the scenes leading up to Pageant day. We invite you to visit our Facebook and Flickr pages to view many more fun photos. We also invite you to share your Pageant photos with us. Email us at maryalice@theatreactionproject.org.

Cassie Swayze, left and Patrick Torres, right prepare for the event. Caroline Reck, center on Pageant day.

Happy Teaching Artists, Aron Taylor, left, Christin Davis, and Noel Gaulin lead the cheers in the parade.

Winter, Spring, and Summer seasons at Summer Pageant in the Park.

Summer Pageant: Exploring How our Food Grows

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

This Saturday is our annual Summer Pageant in the Park and my second year participating in the spectacle. Exploring the idea of How Our Food Grows, we added a few new books to the Theatre Action Project (TAP) library to teach students about harvesting, planting, and exploring a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons is a straightforward approach to growing vegetables from seed to table. Gail Gibbons’ books are always educational, beautifully illustrated, and well suited for any classroom of students. Eight groups of vegetables are identified using cheerful pictures and descriptions. This book was useful to our Summer Pageant in the Park classes as they chose vegetables to create for each season that will be presented at the event. The Vegetables We Eat is a valuable educational tool for students learning about growing, harvesting, and eating healthy food.

The Reason for Seasons by Gail Gibbons provides a simple explanation of why the seasons change, how seasons are different on other sides of the globe, different types of clouds, and much more! The Reason for Seasons is more appropriate for an older group of students than The Vegetables We Eat, but its illustrations are equally colorful and engaging.

Our Summer Pageant in the Park features work from nine schools and building large-scale puppets, costumes, and masks for 180 students is no small feat! A big TAP-tastic thank you to our After-School volunteers who generously donated over 80 hours this month in the classroom preparing for this event:

  • Lucie Cunningham
  • Katie Davis
  • Margarita Hutchinson
  • Chris Ledesma
  • Kat Townsend
  • Susan Reifsteck
  • Sweta Vakani
Join this Saturday, June 23rd for Summer Pageant in the Park at 10 a.m. Students will gather at the Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market Downtown to march in a grand procession of the year’s seasons, bringing all their puppets together culminating in a visual and aural spectacle. The public is invited to join the parade. The FREE family event will be followed by fun watermelon-eating and seed-spitting contests hosted by the Farmer’s Market as part of the Watermelon Festival.

P.S. I never went to summer camp growing up, but my favorite summertime memory was playing on the beach in San Diego with my sisters. We went every day all summer for twelve years!

Canvassing for Pageant Volunteers to Help with After-School

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Theatre Action Project is currently seeking volunteers to assist Teaching Artists as they prepare for the 5th Annual Pageant in the Park on Saturday, June 23rd. This fun event focuses on the effects of the changing seasons on food harvest, native Texas farming, and the benefits of healthy eating. TAP Teaching Artists, volunteers, and students will create large-scale puppets, banners, costumes, and much more for this colorful afternoon in the park.

Here is a map of participating schools; most classes take place 12- 4 p.m., June 4-28th. Volunteers must commit to helping once a week or more at a campus. We are flexible and happy to find a schedule that works for YOU!

Contact Cassie Swayze at cassie@theatreactionproject.org or call 512-442-8773 x109 to schedule an orientation.