LEWISTON — In collaboration with Lewiston Public Schools, L/A Arts has designed a series of interactive workshops for educators focused on integrating techniques from a wide range of arts disciplines into the elementary classroom.

The workshops will be presented by Maine-based professional artists and teaching artists who will bring their most creative and engaging ideas for teachers to try themselves and then take back to their students. The two-hour sessions will take place once a month through April, in the Dingley Building and are open to Lewiston educators teaching grades kindergarten through six.

The first workshop took place on Dec. 7, and was titled “Visual Art/Creative Literacy.” Led by independent education consultant and teaching artist John Holdridge, who has been working in the field of creative literacy for the past 15 years, participants engaged in a variety of strategies designed to support literacy development across the curriculum through the arts. The hands-on session focused on visual art as a tool for deepening and demonstrating student understanding of content matter.

Upcoming workshops include:

“Creative Writing,” Monday, Feb. 8. During the workshop, children’s book author Lynn Plourde will share several story organizers she has developed for specific kinds of stories, such as fables, poetic stories or character stories. Participants will work as a group to create an organizer for a new story type.

Participants should bring in a target type of writing they currently do or want to do with their students, such as autobiography, tall tale or mystery, and during the session will begin work on creating an organizer for that type of writing with feedback from the group.

Plourde will also lead a discussion on how teachers can help students to develop their own organizers as they try different kinds of writing. The workshop is recommended for those who teach grades three to six.

“Music,” Thursday, March 11. Composer/educator Hans Indigo Spencer will bring tips, tricks and methodologies for incorporating music into the general classroom. Spencer will present innovative approaches to listening, composing and improvisation to develop connections between the auditory realm and curricular content areas.

The workshop is recommended for those who teach kindergarten through grade six.

“Theatre,” Monday, April 5. Actor, director and theater educator Andrew Harris will present present the “Poachers Pocket of Drama Games” workshop for primary school teachers. Harris will draw from all facets of theatre to provide engaging and practical ideas to help get the most experienced or inexperienced educator through those testing times in the classroom. He brings more than 35 years of work with students to the interactive exploration of how drama techniques and classroom content and management can work together. The workshop is recommended for those who teach kindergarten through grade six.

For more information about the professional development workshop series, contact Janice Plourde, curriculum coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools, at 795-4100. For more information about the artists and presenters and L/A Arts’ Arts-in-Education programming, contact Bess Welden at 782-7228 or visit www.laarts.org.

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