about the imagination journey
In the Fall of 2020, Spring ISD and Alley Theatre partnered in developing “The Imagination Journey (IJ),” a video series designed to improve literacy skills for students in grades K-2. Each week, a Teaching Artist from the Alley uses storytelling to guide students through an imaginary world that allows them to experience and explore core content curriculum through theatre skills such as visualization, pantomime, and sensory awareness. To date, the initiative has garnered district-wide participation and interest from the school community. K-2 teachers have lauded IJ as an extremely valuable instructional tool that substantially increases student engagement. Some teachers have even cited IJ as contributing to gains in student achievement and improvements in student discipline.
The Alley Theatre staff collaborated closely with a cross-functional team from Spring ISD comprised of directors, coordinators, and specialists in the Performing and Visual Arts and Curriculum Departments. The team at the Alley was attentive to curricular details and carefully crafted the episodes with the goal of having the maximum impact on students. Throughout the year, the Alley provided teachers and administrators with the necessary support to ensure that IJ is properly integrated into the curriculum and implemented in classrooms. Overall, Imagination Journey has proven to be a game-changing instructional resource for facilitating in-person and remote learning that is substantive, engaging, and impactful for improving K-2 literacy.
What are TEKS?
Imagination Journey videos are aligned with classroom TEKS. The TEKS describe what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level or course. School districts are required to provide instruction at appropriate grade levels to help students develop proficiency in the TEKS.
"The students are really engaged. The Teaching Artist does a great job of incorporating the TEKS of the lesson with imagination and creativity strategies."
- Samantha Rollins, First Grade Teacher, Link Elementary
Seventy-seven 10-15 minute K-2 TEKS aligned videos created
200 teachers served & 12,315 students reached
12,315 video views
3,079 contact hours (based on a 15-minute average IJ length)
84% of teachers surveyed said the video supported their curricular needs
83% of teachers surveyed said students were highly engaged
Snippets and Samplers
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
In the development of a child, imagination helps build social, emotional, creative, physical, lingual and problem-solving skills.
Yet in a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas.
Experts say creativity is innate, so it cannot really be lost. But in a test-driven world where there is often only right or wrong multiple choice questions, it needs to be nurtured.
At the heart of theatre education is the skill of developing and practicing the use of imagination. What better organization than the Alley Theatre to help teachers and students hone their innate skills that will usher them into their own journeys with their own imaginations?