***It’s so SWELL...this Wish for Bell is fulfilled!***

SC19 - Theatre Residency (All 3rd Graders)




For several years Bell School has supported an annual Third Grade Theatre Residency. Students in all four classrooms are divided into three integrated groups, which include students from each program (Deaf, Neighborhood, Options).  Last year this wonderful residency was in jeopardy of not being fully funded.  The third grade team wrote a letter with their students and it was distributed to the second grade families who would be the recipients of the residency. 

Please read the letter:

Dear Second Grade Families:

“Hello, my name is Katherine Walling. I am a third grade student. I wanted to talk about how the whole third grade just finished with our Lookingglass experience. This is where students get a chance to act! Recently I have noticed the board with all of the wishes. Lookingglass is not quite there yet! I would like all second graders to get a chance to act! I wanted to tell all of you some things I learned. What I learned is you can always express your feelings by acting! I will never forget how I learned to project my voice. I will always remember working as a team and everyone being important in the group. Lookingglass was a great way to make friends. I say this because all third grade classes were combined. For me, Lookingglass was a life-time experience!”

Over the past 11 years, the Lookingglass Theater residency has been a valuable experience for all third graders at Bell. The residency is grounded in literature and character education curricula. The children read and study four selected stories.  They then work with Lookingglass teaching artists to adapt the individual stories for performance while learning theater, adaptation, and performance fundamentals. The residency culminates with an “informance,” an informal performance, to which parents and second graders will be invited.

The primary goal of the residency is to provide a wonderful hands-on learning experience for the 3rd graders, integrating academic curricula with the arts. The residency is particularly special because, like the PALM Program, it successfully integrates students throughout the Neighborhood, Deaf and Options programs at an early stage in their Bell School experience.

Please help make this experience possible for your children!

Thank you,

The Third Grade Team

A former Bell parent, Monica Drane, had to say about her son's experience:

My son came home on every "Lookingglass day" enthusiastic, thoughtful, brimming with stories about what had transpired in the classroom or on the stage. As a language arts exercise alone the residency would be worth the cost, but the experience was much more than that. It taught Walker something about citizenship: that random circumstances divide us, that listening carefully to the stories of others teaches us to empathize and informs our decision-making, that it feels good to belong when everybody belongs.

The four-week residency, Shaping the Citizen: Modeling Character Through Drama, Myth and Visual Art , is grounded in literature, history and character education curricula. The children study three selected folktales representing different cultural/ethnic traditions. The folktales focus on the subjects of collaboration, community building, promoting tolerance and ethical decision making. Each group works with Teaching Artists on creative dramatics using the actor’s tools, building an ensemble, and then work towards adapting a selected folktale.

At the end of the residency an “Informance” (an informal performance) will showcase the work done throughout the session. Given the residency’s process-centered focus and time constraints this will be more like a workshop and less like a show. The informance is primarily a time for the third graders to share with one another what they learned from the folktales they adapted. In addition, the informance gives the third grade parents an opportunity to sneak a peek at what great things the children gained integrating drama skills with literature and character education.

Integrating other arts programming is one goal of the residency, so Bell’s art teachers, Ms. Pearlmutter and Ms. Nardullii incorporate their curriculum with the residency theme during art class creating a related art project with the students. Ms. Pepin and Ms. Lambert, Bell’s music teachers, also work with the four classrooms on music relevant to the folktales they’ll be adapting.

This "Suggested Wish" for the current Second Grade class will be implemented in the next school year when they are Third Graders.