What does Cultural Exposure mean?
Cultural exposure means that Kinsella students attend a broad range of plays, dance and music concerts. In addition to seeing productions outside of the building, visiting artists come to the school to work with the students to deepen their perception, critical thinking and decoding skills. Each cultural experience is tailored to strengthen the students’ abilities to comprehending visual, verbal and physical communication. Students make internal connections about their external worlds, process their learning and demonstrate their understanding by analyzing, applying, evaluating, interpreting and synthesizing in both academic and artistic environments.
Our Community Partners in the Performing Arts
HOT Schools, (Higher Order Thinking Schools)
Kinsella is a HOT School and is supported by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism with master teaching artist visits, professional development and standards based arts integration. In HOT schools, the arts are rigorous academic subjects, each with its own sequential curriculum that conveys knowledge not learned through other academic disciplines. HOT schools integrate the arts across disciplines, creating arts-rich environments that motivate students to make connections between and among subject areas and ideas. HOT schools cultivate a democratic school culture to which all members of the school community contribute and in which individual leadership is emphasized. The HOT approach is reflected in a school’s commitment to child centered, experiential, arts integrated teaching and learning. In an arts infused environment, the processes of creating, performing and responding lead to increased achievement, increased attendance by students and staff, lower rates of retention, higher self-esteem, decreased discipline problems, greater parent participation and a growing sense of community.
The Hartford Symphony
In addition to the Pre-kinder and Kindergarten Early Strings program, every 4th grade student plays an instrument at Kinsella Magnet School. Every 3rd and 4th grade student sees seven symphony concerts annually including performances at the school for smaller, more intimate concerts by the Hartford Symphony Jazz Ensemble, String Quartet, Woodwind Quintet, Brass Quartet and Chamber Orchestra. The students in 1st through 8th grades all visit the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts to see the full orchestra in three Discovery Concerts annually. Finally, members from the Hartford Symphony visit the school twice a year for their instrument zoo, a program where prospective instrumental students get to hold, play and experience instruments first hand (literally first hand).
Kinsella 7th and 8th grade students attend three Hartford Stage main stage productions annually. Each of the three productions includes two preshow workshops and one post show workshop. Students share in talk backs with the actors and directors. The three-play series provides students with opportunities to compare and contrast, think critically and elaborate on artistry, production value and cultural relevance.
Pilolbous has choreographed for our annual Polar Express production and worked with students during the extended day program. Pilobolus is known internationally for its imaginative and athletic exploration of creative collaboration. For over 40 years, it has evolved into a pioneering American cultural institution. Pilobolus teaching artists focus on collaboration, improvisation, movement and physical expression.
Kinsella Magnet School hosts the annual Hartford Beat production of Ebeneeza. In Ebeneeza - A Hartford Holiday Carol, HartBeat Ensemble tells a local story of an old miser’s path to rediscovering humanity. This show gives its audience views of Christmas feasts, Chanukah rituals and Kwanzaa celebrations. HartBeat is dedicated to creating new works that challenge the status quo. Through Mainstage plays, Open-Air performances and Education programs, Hartbeat Ensemble makes theater accessible beyond the barriers of class, race or gender.
Imagine Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince and the Hansel and Gretel told through opera. Kinsella students from Kindergarten to 5th grade see various productions annually. The experience allows them to process these traditional stories through the classical art. All performances include a 10 minute pre-show discussion and post-show talk back.
Students from 1st grade to 8th grade see a circus in which actors juggle bottled water and polar bears dance on melting ice floes. The props and set are all recycled materials and the core of clowns is called the Fossil Fools. Circus for a Fragile Planet is an exciting educational circus performance featuring juggling, clowning, physical comedy, acrobatics, unicycling and other circus arts built around a strong environmental message. Featuring a lively contemporary and classical musical score, Circus for a Fragile Planet is a side-splitting, mind-opening blend of circus and science that every Kinsella looks forward to annually.
Judy Dworin Performance Project www.judydworin.org
The Judy Dworin Performance Project offers three residencies during the school year that encourage students to explore their creative inspirations and imaginations in dance, song and story writing. In the first two sessions, meeting two times each week, the students create their own songs, poems and stories that address different themes that are important in their lives such as the way we experience time or taking a look at our roots and the cultures. The third session, which meets everyday, starts out with a performance by the Judy Dworin Performance Project () that sparks an idea for the students to work on. The students then develop their own original performance piece based on that theme through song, dance and spoken word which is performed on the Kinsella main stage—theme for 2011 is “In this School” and will reflect on the ways we can honor difference and diversity right here at Kinsella through song, dance and spoken work.
7th and 8th grade students workshop their poetry with Elizabeth Thomas, a widely published poet, performer, teacher and advocate of the arts. The author of two poetry collections and one book on writing for youth and teachers, she has read her work throughout the United States. She has been a member of three Connecticut National Poetry Slam teams and in 1998 was a member of the U.S. team that traveled to Sweden. As an outstanding advocate of youth in the arts, Elizabeth Thomas is a coach and organizer with Brave New Voices: International Youth Poetry Slam and Festival. She is also the founder of UpWords Poetry, a company dedicated to promoting programs for young writers and educators, based on the belief that poetry is meant to be heard out loud and in person.
Other Extended Day and Production Teaching Artists
Nick Frasco, Visual Artist
Khaiim Kelly, The Rapoet
Jose Camacho, Underground Coalition Hip Hop Literacy
Julia Bowers, Costume Support