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Member Mention: Sandra Makielski Uses AAEF Grant For Art
posted by: Melissa | August 15, 2013, 07:18 PM   

Sandra Makielski was one of our AAEF Classroom Grant winners last spring. With grant funds, Ms. Makielski was able to integrate arts into a cross-curricular unit on Africa. Read what she says about her program below:

Seventh grade is usually not a favorite year of school. When I tell others that I teach seventh grade, the instinctual response is often: "Bless you." The good news is that I LOVE teaching seventh grade and I love making learning come alive for my students.

Part of the seventh grade geography curriculum is to teach about the geography and culture of the African continent. I wanted my students to have a hands-on experience where I could integrate music, art, and literature into the curriculum. As teachers, we know the value of addressing as many multiple intelligences when we teach our students and this is a goal I strive for when I plan my units.

With the assistance of AAE and other funding sources, ninety seventh grade students from Davisville Middle School worked in groups to PRODUCE and PERFORM, "KUMI HADITHI" An Original adaptation of 10 African Folktales for their peers, parents and invited guests. To accomplish this goal, students researched various tribes in Africa, chose an African folktale to bring to life and created three dimensional masks representative of the tribes that were researched. We invited Mr. Issa Coulibaly, a master African drummer, for an all-day workshop to teach our students basic drumming techniques. As Mr. Coulibaly instructed the students in various drumming techniques, he shared very personal stories from his life in Mali.

Ms. Beth Hettrick Berry, visiting theater artist, worked with our students for sixty-four hours over a six week period. She assisted the students in the selection of the folktales, script development, blocking, prop and set construction, and the use of musical instruments as the students worked as a team to create their exhibition. One important piece to our success and the element that made this experience feel special was that we hosted our event under large tents outside. This was done to help foster a sense of community and to help replicate a traditional African storytelling experience for the audience.

My seventh grade students ended the year feeling they had accomplished something BIG as a team and they mastered the many target objectives funded by AAE. We could not have outfitted 90 students nor could we have created such dynamic music without the support of AAE. Thank you.

The next deadline for the AAEF Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Grant program is October 1st.

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