Jasmine Renee Thomas, Alley Theatre Arts Integration Manager, will walk you through an example of an Arts Integration exercise known as “The Imagination Journey.” In this exercise, a storyteller engages students through the exploration of academic concepts using theatre skills such as visualization, pantomime, and using the five senses. With effective prompting and awareness of students' previous experiences, teachers guide students through an imaginary story world while simultaneously introducing, exploring, and discussing core content curriculum.
You will notice by approaching the subject matter with an element of theatricality and imaginative play, your students will have a deeper level of engagement and enhanced critical thinking skills to promote academic achievement.
Preparations: Audio, or video with audio; an arm’s length space around each student
For this Imagination Journey Lesson Topic:
INTRODUCTION TO THE OL’ ORGANISM TRAIL
Students will be able to recognize plants and animals depend on the living and nonliving things around them for survival by exploring habitats to identify living things, non-living things, and interdependency.
For Texas Teachers: TEKS
Differentiate between living and nonliving things based upon whether they have basic needs and produce offspring (Sci.K.9A)
Sort and classify living and nonliving things based upon whether they have basic needs and produce offspring (Sci.1.9A)
Analyze and record examples of interdependence found in various situations such as terrariums and aquariums or pet and caregiver (Sci.1.9B)
Compare the ways living organisms depend on each other and on their environments such as through food chains. (Sci.2.9C)
Theatre Arts Objective
Students will be able to use their body, voice, and imagination to develop confidence and self-awareness through dramatic play; develop spatial awareness; imitate actions and sounds; demonstrate safe use of movement and voice, and create roles through imitation.
Habitat, Environment, Living/ Non-living Things, Organism, Interdependency
Step 1: Center the students’ focus, activate their Imaginations and ask them to close their eyes, listen, and imagine.
Step 2: Guide the class on an imaginary journey out of your school and ride your newfound horses to The Ol’ Organism Trail. Ask students to describe the things they see, hear, smell, and feel.
Step 3: Introduce our goal to discover examples of living things, non-living things, interdependency.
Step 4: Introduce the first challenge of discovering living things. Have students describe their setting with their 5 senses. Discover a grassy field and rabbits in a habitat. Ask students to look for other examples.
Step 5: Introduce the next challenge of discovering non-living things. Explore the aquatic habitat and list non-living things as you discover them. Ask students to look for more examples of non-living as well as living things.
Step 6: Introduce the third challenge of discovering interdependency. Find an example within you and your horse!
Step 7: Find a magic button and countdown to push together.
Step 8: Have students join you in appearing back into the classroom.
Imagination Journey Tips
Introduce the idea of “The Imagination”. We assume children know what their imaginations are, but it is our job to teach them the value and power that their imaginations truly hold.
Bring the students into a calm state of focus. Closing eyes. Lowering voice to create a dramatic tone. Possibly dimming the lights
Using your voice, visualization, and modeling, guide students through an imagination journey. Explore your storytelling skills as you dictate imagining leaving the classroom. (Ex: Heading out onto the playground, walking into the woods, swimming into the ocean, flying into the sky…)
Don’t worry if students speak out announcing the things that they see. As long as you’ve established class management procedures and clear expectations on how we share out, you’re okay. That’s how you know it’s working!
Using your skills as a narrator and actor, discover (along with your students) the living and non-living things in our imaginary story world. Approach these things with curiosity, intrigue, and keen visualization and your students will follow.