By JENNIFER RYAN, Education Programs Director, L/A Arts

Farwell School: April

Award-winning poet Martin Steingesser will work with grades four and six at Farwell this year. Steingesser’s program will help students find their voices, express their thoughts, and be creative with language. Students will be encouraged to incorporate color, montage, metaphor, and simile into their poems. The poetic form will provide a new vehicle for students to express their personal experiences and stories, while refining their language arts skills.

Longley School: December

Amy MacDonald is an accomplished children’s book author, teacher workshop leader, and educator. She will work with kindergarten through grade six students at Longley this year. While the youngest students will have storytelling sessions and group readings with MacDonald, older students will focus on the writing process, using details in their work, and developing voice and character. MacDonald spends time with students developing all phases of the process – brainstorming, revising, editing, publishing, and sometimes illustrating. Students learn from each other as well, by critiquing and editing each other’s work.

Martel School: November

Grades three and four students at Martel will be creating puppets, scripts, and scenes with Figures of Speech Theatre this year. This residency will combine aspects of puppetry demonstration and discussion, interactive performances for students and teachers, group scripting and/or adaptation of folk or fairy tales to be performed by the students and their “shadows,” and children creating and then performing with their own shadow puppet characters. As a complement to this show, students will be given tickets to see National Marionette Theatre’s Alice in Wonderland, thanks to L/A Arts and the Lewiston School Department.

McMahon School: December

Maine author Lynn Plourde will work with grades three through five at McMahon this year. Her program will kick-off with an all-school assembly, during which children will hear and participate in a reading of one of Plourde’s books. She will then spend time in classrooms, helping students create their own picture books. Younger students will work together on writing a piece, while the older children will create and illustrate their own books. Plourde works closely with teachers to ensure that her approach to the writing process parallels what students are doing in their language arts classes. Students will have the opportunity to share their work with younger “buddies.”

Montello School: January

Sixth-grade students at Montello School will be visited by singer/songwriter Martin Swinger. During a planning session with all teachers, Swinger will learn from the teachers what type of pieces they want their students to create. Once the theme of the songwriting is determined, Swinger helps students create their own lyrics. Students learn about the writing process, the musical process, and the chosen theme.

Pettingill School: TBD

Maine author Jennifer Jacobson will visit third graders at Pettingill School this year. Jacobson will help students with the six traits of writing: with the organization of their stories (beginning, middle, end); character building and how to develop that in a story; sentence fluency, word choice, voice, ideas (topics), and conventions. She will help students create their own piece, edit, and rewrite until the piece is completed. This residency will kick-off with a group assembly.

Lewiston Middle School: December

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Special Performances

Alice in Wonderland: National Marionette Theatre: Thanks to a grant written by the Lewiston School Department, all grade two and three students throughout the district attended a special daytime performance of Alice in Wonderland. The popular story was told with puppets, fantastical scenery, and wonderful actors. This special showing took place on November 7 at the Lewiston Middle School.

How Do You Spell Hope?: Underground Railway Theatre

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