PA-Sponsored Programs: Theater Arts

Grades K-5 receive weekly theater instruction for half a year.
PA funding for 2011-2012: $13,750

Kelli Holsopple started InFlight five years ago with one class and she has grown the program every year to now include K-5th grades. The PA has supported the Theater program as it has grown, and this year the PA was awarded a grant from LMCC to cover part of the expense.

InFlight, a program of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, is based on the idea that children’s natural inclination toward play and imagination is a powerful vehicle for learning. Using interactive, process-based theatre as a teaching method, students explore social studies topics combining content area exploration with social justice issues, critical inquiry, literacy, and community building.

Kelli collaborates with teachers to choose a unit of study to focus on. Students become characters tasked with a project, mission, or journey. They fully take on their roles and through interactive theatre they experience a journey during which they must interact with characters played by Kelli and the teachers, working together to creatively solve problems that arise.

This fall, the Kindergarteners traveled back in time to become workers on the Transcontinental Railroad, singing railroad work songs, building, meeting characters (including a prairie dog!), and solving problems along the way. After their journey they were hired to design green transportation of the future and the drama ended with a green transportation fair during which they shared their inventions and the story of their journey back in time.

Currently, Kelli is working with the 5th grade. The 5th graders are delegates to the United Nations from different nations in the Western Hemisphere. Last fall in social studies, they completed a nation study and now they are using that knowledge to research and write resolutions about current issues effecting the Western Hemisphere: poverty, environmental issues, education, unemployment, healthcare. The are presenting, debating, caucusing, writing amendments, and giving speeches in very lively UN sessions.

The 3rd grade are in-role as International Detective Agency Agents who are tasked with stopping an international thief from stealing world treasures. Their latest clue leads them to believe that the thief is headed to Kenya so they have been learning all they can! If you see a 3rd grader, find out what they know about Kenya!