Family Day at Glen Echo Park, MD – Story Tapestries will be there!!!

newswire_logoWhen: Saturday April 30th, 11am-4pm
Where: 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD 20812 
Cost: FREE (select activities have a cost – see Schedule)

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Family Day is a FREE fun-filled annual event celebrating the opening of Glen Echo Park’s historic Dentzel Carousel for the 96th season!!

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We are honored to take part in performing a number of times during the day. We, Arianna Ross and Bomani Armah, will be telling stories from 11am-3pm in the Bumper Car Pavilion. Even more then the few hours that we are taking part in there are SO MANY ACTIVITIES for your family to enjoy.

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You can join in the fun watching magic shows, family swing dancing, face painting, open studios, crafts, hula hooping, puppets, balloon animals, demonstrations and – of course – CAROUSEL RIDES. There are so many activities we can’t list them all but see the full schedule HERE.
Family Day15_PosterSome of the free performances are:

  • Magic Shows with Barry Wood and Abracadabra Alex
  • Taptricity (Youth Tap Group led by LeeAnet Noble)
  • Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance
  • Sassafras Barbershop Quartet
  • Storytelling and Poetry
  • Gloria de la Danza (Folk Dances of Latin America)
  • La Fille mal gardee by Ballet Petite

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For more information please visit glenechopark.org

We are so excited to be part of this event this year and are hoping to see many of our readers and followers there. Come say hi at the Bumper Car Pavillion.

A bit about Arianna Ross:

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She creates dynamic, educational programs that weave together dance, theatre, creative writing, music and spoken word. For more then 12 years Arianna has performed and taught workshops for all ages both nationally and internationally in many diverse venues. Each program is tailored to the specific age group(s) in attendance.

Arianna will be telling the story of Waves of Adventure: Experience the magic of stories above and below the water.

When you swim in the ocean or dance on the beach, you can hear waters’ special symphony singing in your ears.  Drink in your fill of stories with animals, creatures and people who live above and below the water.  Travel around the world with only your imagination, voice, and body. Leave the program moving like a giant, dancing like a manta ray, and swimming like a shark.

A bit about Bomani Armah:

unnamedHe is a poet, songwriter, producer, performer and educator. Bomani uses his life experiences, mixed with his musical and poetic skills, to paint lyrical pictures of life, as he sees it, and the future as he envisions it.  Bomani has had videos featured BET and MTV2, as well as hosted and performed everywhere from the Washington National Cathedral to the Fillmore in New York City. His performances featuring Bomani’s music videos Bomani Armah is  “not a rapper, he’s a poet with a hip-hop style”. Bomani has been performing his brand of thought provoking-head-nodding music on stages big and small for over 15 years for thousands of people of all ages, from schools, to churches, to nightclubs and prisons! Bomani’s assembly is a multi-media presentation, explaining the fun process of hip-hop song writing while comparing it to the practical skill of essay writing.  Through the use of positive music videos and song lyrics Bomani encourages students to find and create art that reflect their life and aspirations.

Bomani’s program is a solo interactive performance, featuring music videos, multi-media presentations, call and response, as well as rhythmic movement with the audience.  Students will rap along to original, professionally released music by Bomani, as well as songs highlighting his tips on how to be a better creative writer.  Students will also learn historical facts about the birth and development of hip-hop culture and it’s elements.

“One of the more entertaining voices in a local spoken word scene that’s overflowing with talent.” – Washington Post

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Arts Integration at the Vero Beach Museum of Art ~ Shanti Sanchez

We have partnered with The Learning Alliance and The Vero Beach Museum many times. They have been and continue to be amazing partners in so many ways. Their staff, the events, the community… We can’t get enough and look forward to continuing our partnership. We wanted to take a moment to highlight the great work they are doing at the Vero Beach Museum.

0815 TLA Moonshot Academy Trainings (48)Over the past two years, the Vero Beach Museum of Art’s education programs have become aligned with a school district and community literacy initiative in Indian River County, Florida called the Moonshot Moment. The Museum has been working with schools, families, and other community partners to bring “literacy off the page” through the use of visual arts, story, movement, and sound. The Museum has hosted a number of professional development sessions for teachers facilitated by arts integration thought leaders like Kurt Wootton, author and co-founder of Brown University’s ArtsLiteracy Project and Arianna Ross, founder of Story Tapestries.
DSC_1035While artists and museum educators are well aware of the power of the arts to support learning in all subject areas, often teachers and parents need guidance to experience and feel confident with using arts integration strategies and activities for students. The Vero Beach Museum of Art has expanded its young family programs to include, for example, Artful Storytime where young children visit the galleries to view and talk about works of art then explore a related children’s book and do a hands-on art project. Parents participate as well, observing simple strategies as demonstrated by teaching artists and receiving tips to use at home.
Beachland Grade 1 (7)In addition, the Museum has installed large-scale reproductions of art from its permanent collection in all public elementary schools. These Moonshot Masterpieces feature simple instructions created by local teachers offering parents ways to engage with visual images that will enhance oral language development, reading and writing. The result of these and other combined efforts is that art is making a visible difference in this community, where close to seven out of ten children are living in poverty, receiving free or reduced lunch. The goal is for 90% of third graders to be reading on grade level by 2018, and the vision is for this small central Florida county to become a literacy capitol of the nation. Arts and cultural organizations like The Vero Beach Museum of Art are helping make this dream a reality.

Here are few quotes from those who have been impacted by this great museum and their programs:

 

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“Thank you so much for the class visit today. I have been teaching a long time and have never had a more appropriate classroom visit. The material covered was extremely applicable to 1st graders. Thank you so much for the preparation that went into the presentation. We are so grateful for the collaboration of The Learning Alliance and Vero Beach Museum of Art.”

 

 

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“Could the students receive one free pass to bring a  parent back? I think if we sent it home you would get kids bringing their families.  Then they could share what they learned and could educate the whole family.  I loved the field trip.  My daughter loved it too.  Thank you so much.”

 

“I am a high school junior. I moved to Vero Beach last year, and over the summer I visited the Museum of Art for the first time. It was a wonderful experience, as the staff was very helpful and the artwork was diverse and intriguing! I have never been as familiar with a museum as I currently am with the Vero Beach Museum of Art, and I am ecstatic and grateful to be involved with it.”

 

 

 

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Change that is lasting…

IMG_3136.jpgA few weeks ago we had a performance that had, as usual, a lasting impact on the students and teachers. Our programming has many objectives that are accomplished simultaneously, this particular performance was about immigration in the US. We want to develop listening skills and encourage the children to think creatively. By engaging the students we foster the desire to read and write stories and poetry and understand the structure of a story. The subject matter helps to teach about the history of immigration in the United States and to cultivate their ability to connect the history they read/hear to the life they are familiar with day in and day out.Lastly we want to expand their knowledge of other communities, gaining respect for other cultures and their traditions. Finally, we want to promote an interest in the theatrical arts.

We provide guides to the teacher for them to be able to use the performances as a touch point and launch pad for digging deeper and stretching the learning. This allows them to take what they see and hear and build upon the exciting visual foundation we set. We often receive excited feedback like this:

Arianna,

We had decided the best way to showcase the kids work was to display it in the hall so that parents would be able to come by and see their child’s work at their convenience.  We also have a huge STEM expo coming up when a lot of parents will be visiting school.

Thank you again for visiting our school and sharing your materials with us- the children transferred their dictionaries to their writing folder and are continuing to use them!
With sincere thanks,
Tanya
Tanya Parrish
Third Grade Lead Teacher
PBIS CO-Chair
J.W. York Elementary School
IMG_3079We are working hard to get these kind of tools into the hands of as many teachers, educators, and even parents as possible. We want to change the face of the student population and equip them for long term success in, not just school, but life. There are many avenues we are traveling down to achieve this: residencies, performances, workshops, professional development, family literacy nights, networking and many others. We are also working diligently to build the structure for an online resource, a Virtual Classroom, that will provide similar experiences online and tools, i.e. virtual field trips, instructional videos, guides, handouts, etc.
The Virtual Classroom is a massive undertaking requiring many supporters, not just financially but also organizationally, technically, and creatively. If you are interested in becoming part of our amazing support team, in any capacity, and help us work towards this goal please email us.
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They listen, hear and believe that children can succeed – Arianna Ross

As the Executive Director of a not-for-profit often times the job is filled with meetings, budgets and paperwork. However, when I decided to help turn this organization into a not-for-profit I made a promise to myself and to the  organization: I would spend at least part of my time still with the community. People always ask me, “How do you have the time?” The truth: I don’t have the time. I’m often staying up late at night followed by getting up early in the morning to make certain that the paperwork is complete. Although I am exhausted at times, it is worth it when teachers, students, and parents tell me thank you.

Our home base as an organization is the Washington Metropolitan region.   We work with schools from the heart of south east DC to communities in Virginia and Maryland. Over the years we have worked hard to make certain that 90% of our programs are supported at least in part by an outside funding source. Sometimes we get to travel and support schools in other regions
Photo Jan 09, 11 43 39 AMLast week we partnered with York Elementary School in Raleigh,  North Carolina. The teachers asked us to focus on having the children write pieces of historical fiction. They were required to step into the shoes of some of the most famous and instrumental civil rights heroes of our time. It was powerful. I observed students do research on Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King Junior, and so many others. The questions they asked and statements they made were so insightful.

Two examples were…..

 “Ms. Ross, why would someone be mean to another child just because they look different? All children should be allowed to go to school.”

“I can’t imagine behaving this way. I’m going to grow up and make sure nobody behaves this way to another person.”

During the actual time of writing, I observed the students who normally struggle become successful. They were able to write easily because they connected to what they were writing. We had used the tools of drama to learn about the subject, as well as, to help us become authors.

Every day I strive, through Story Tapestries, to serve my students, and my community better.  I try to listen.  My struggle comes when I see children marginalized because of color, learning style, ability, religion, disability, sexual preference…..I try to find ways to help people see the value of a child.  Sometimes I succeed and more often I am told,”They can’t be fixed so don’t bother.” or “They have been struggling to learn so don’t try.” YET….More often than not, these children can and do.  This past week A SHOUT OUT to York Elementary School in NC as well as Leonardtown Elementary School in MD.  They listen, they hear and they believe that their children can succeed.

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Bridges Early Learning Center in Vero Beach – Diane Macklin

As 2015 came to a close, I was incredibly grateful to have worked at Bridges Early Learning Center in Vero Beach, FL in December. I met incredible educators, parents, and others invested in the care and education of our most precious community members – children.

 

Untitled designWe had a delightful, embedded residency where the teachers made the commitment, as well as the center’s staff, to have a series of planning meetings from start to finish of the week long experience; a Saturday professional development lead by Arianna Ross followed by planning time so the teachers could set goals and prepare for a week that would conclude with them as the lead teacher of a multi-sensory based learning activity; and, the generous gift of a willing spirit and opened doors, allowing me to work with the children as a co-teacher and their teachers as a coach. I am so impressed with what the teachers were able to accomplish in such a short time. I do not believe it would have been possible without their constant flexibility, honesty, and willingness to be creative. Here are some of the reflections by the teachers:

  • The biggest strength of the embedded residency with Ms. Diane was seeing the children smiling and enjoying learning
  • A multi-sensory approach to learning with the children is more enjoyable for them and me!
  • There are many ways to bring a story to life!

Well done, Bridges! I have no doubt that these already incredible educators will just continue of this path of adding strategies that work for them and their children.

 

Family Literacy NightsMy blessings do not cease with the center. They extend to the families. The children at Bridges have a variety of adults from parents to grandparents, aunts and uncles, who invest in the development of each child. How can such a claim be made in that short period of time? I met many of them who, after working all day, came to the center for a Family Night full of enthusiasm and willing to “go for the story ride” to pick up additional literacy strategies to be extended into the home.  The parents and other family members were as generous as the staff at Bridges, proving to be quick learners themselves and already full of great ideas.  After an interactive storytelling performance, the parents and I were able to have time to find stories among the ones with us at all times – those personal stories about self and family. Here are the sage words of the parents and other caring adults for the children:

  • Grandparents seemed to be the only story tellers, but now I see that anyone can tell a story
  • When we engage and excite the children about a book through storytelling, they learn just as much from it
  • The world teaches my children just as much as I do
  • Children learn just as much through verbal stories as from reading books word for word

Once again, my gratefulness cannot be held back. This was a wonderful experience and I learned from everyone else as well.

 

DMacklin_logoVisit and connect with Diane Macklin Here:

https://www.facebook.com/Diane-Macklin-Storyteller-280778463994/

http://www.dianemacklin.com/

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What an incredible Fall for Story Tapestries!!!! – Written by Arianna Ross

What an incredible Fall for Story Tapestries!!!!  Over the last 4 months, we have completed 6 long term residencies and multiple family events in MD, DC and FL. All of the programs were supported by Story Tapestries artists, donors and grants written by the Story Tapestries’ team in collaboration with other organizations. If we wrote about all of them, than this blog would be incredibly long.

Untitled6Recently, we worked with all of Kent Island Elementary School‘s 2nd grade team. Without the Story Tapestries matching funds to support this work, it would not have happened. The PTA paid for a portion and they wrote a grant for another piece of the pie but that still was not enough. We appealed to our donors and raised enough money to spend 4 days with each classroom. It was a powerful experience for both the students, teachers, and the artist. All of the students wrote and presented a “Fractured Folk Tale” based on a story they had read. You may be thinking….WHAT is that? During this activity, students work in teams of 3 or 4 re-writing a familiar story like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” became the “Gingerbread man who cried Candy Monster.” The teacher’s said that they observed during the work students who never shine, who never add their voice to a story, talking up a storm.

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At the top of December, we launched a new partnership with The Learning Alliance. In the past, we have always worked with their K-12 program but now, we have been tasked with guiding teachers and early childhood center directors on how to improve the way they use multi-sensory strategies with their 0-5 population. Furthermore, it was expected that we increase the parents’ ability to help their chid(ren) gain the skills to be successful in the future.

We recognized right away that we needed a team of experts on this job so we contracted Diane Macklin and Carrie Sue Avyar as well as myself, Arianna Ross. On Saturday December 5th, I, taught the first Saturday workshop, Harnessing the Power of the Arts: Teaching Literacy, to over 60 teachers from Indian River County. We used elements of storytelling, dance, drama, visual arts and writing to increase the teacher’s ability to develop their students’ emergent literacy understanding, cognitive power, fine and gross motor development as well as their knowledge of the core subjects.

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After the first activity, it was immediately clear that the adults in the room were hungry for more strategies to develop their students. They jumped right in to every activity, asking questions along the way and reflecting with their peers about how to improve their practice as educators. Besides giving the teachers a range of strategies, we found that there was an added success, a community of early childhood educators, who now knew each other at a deeper level, spoke the same language and wanted the same results for their children. One educator asked us if there was a way to receive more frequent support from The Learning Alliance and Story Tapestries.

 

Our goal was for the team to leave the workshop with activities to support purposeful play, help them meet their FL Gold Standards, and to develop their ability to ask open ended questions.   After reading the evaluations, we saw that our goals had been met… One educator left the workshop saying that now she is planning to incorporate children’s imagination into their learning by asking open ended questions. Another mentioned “I like reading, then acting out, illustrating and surmising what happens after the written word ends.” The overall response to the start of this pilot program was “GREAT workshop!!”
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Success – oh, what a feeling!

Recently we held a Professional Development Workshop at The Lab School of Washington. It was exciting, and at the same time daunting. Here was a group of 50+ teachers and artists who use inclusive arts integration every day. Would we have something more to share with them?  Would we add to their knowledge, or would they feel we were telling them stuff they already knew?The answer was overwhelmingly “YES!” We prepared an 80+ page handbook to train and engage with during the workshop, which will remain with each of them to use as a reference going forward.

We had hands-on activities so participants would not only learn the skills, but also experience first-hand the excitement of group work and being active in learning. The teachers and artists were engaged and threw themselves whole-heartedly into every activity. The buzz of energy in the room was palpable as participants connected with the materials and felt immediately inspired and empowered to put these new experiences into action. During reflection times, you could hear teachers and artists planning how they would incorporate what they were learning into their curriculum for that week.

One activity was acting out what the moisture in the air would look like. One of the leaders, Azure Lea, said this about the experience:

 

“Wonderful workshop!! I loved becoming the moisture in the air. (These are) great skills to start using right away. Thanks so much!!!”

 

We appreciate these comments and are so grateful for the opportunity to train and teach professionals new skills. It was the success of seeing the process being adopted by these amazing educators that really made all the prep work we had done more than worth it. Even with many more workshops, professional developments and other events completed with satisfaction this year, we are SO VERY EXCITED about the success of this one and the impact it will continue to have thanks to the teachers that will put what they learned into action day by day, year after year. 

 

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