PJ Kennedy

Kicking Off Target Arts

Posted 22 October 2014 12:00 AM by Jeremy Gooden

October 14 marked the beginning of this year’s Fall Target Arts Program and my first session with the Patrick J. Kennedy School’s fourth grade class. This particular group of fourth graders has been involved with Target Arts for roughly three years and is very familiar with the program’s structure, expectations, and end goal. Citi Center’s Education staff aims to sharpen young people’s literacy skills with the performing arts. The multi-week program enables youth to engage in the performing arts and develop foundational literacy skills. Much like my students, I was introduced to the performing arts and arts integration at a very young age. At eleven years old, I enrolled in the Citi Performing Arts Center’s City Spotlights Program as a student. In later years, I served as a teaching artist assistant for summer, fall, and spring programming. Now, I am assuming the role of lead teaching artist and I could not be more excited to work with a group of children I have heard so many amazing things about.

Younger participants often exhibit shyness when asked to take part in theatrical activities. Some may fear looking silly in front of their peers, while others are unfamiliar with basic theatre skills like projection and stage direction. These struggles can make the first day of this program an uphill battle. That was not the case with the PJK’s fourth grade class, being the brilliant burning ball of joy that they are. They all excitedly participated in several theatre activities designed to better their understanding of location, one aspect of setting. All of these students are bright, confident, and enthusiastic theatrical participants.

My challenge over the next few weeks will be to help each student find that same enthusiasm and pride in their prose. They already possess the ability to make strong, detailed decisions during acting activities, but struggle to write in depth. In the upcoming sessions, I aim to further the students’ writing ability and understanding of setting by providing writing prompts that require them to compare and contrast images.

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