123’s & ABC’s of GETTING STARTED
Preparing to Write an Opera
1. No one gets hurt. Creativity is sometimes a messy process when individuals in a classroom community collaborate. This is often referred to as synergy; a collective group energy. It is important that creativity be nurtured by positive responses to student ideas, even if some of those responses are not ultimately used. When an environment of trust has been established students will risk sharing ideas. This feeling of safety is then extended to include the audience.
2. Everyone participates. It is important for ALL students in a classroom community to contribute in positive ways to the creation of their opera. By doing so, it builds community as students work together. Work on the opera only when all your students are present, including the at-risk students who may attend ESL, special education, or other classes. Only when everyone in the class is fully participating can true communication begin.
3. The opera is the students’ work. We realize that students, as they go through the imagination and creativity process, learn much and acquire many skills necessary for not only scholastic success, but for successful living and life-long learning. When teachers make the artistic choices for their classroom operas the creativity of the students is stifled.
A) YOU BEGIN HERE:
PLAN HOW YOU WILL COMBINE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE OBC PROCESS AND YOUR SCHOOL GOALS:
ØLook at your teaching plans and the Opera by Children process. See how OBC fits into your lesson plans by matching the OBC process to your teaching goals and activities. (Many classes have written historical, scientific operas, mathematical or language related operas. Don’t forget all the life skills this project will also help teach without even trying!)
Ø Look at the subjects that you feel would best align with a topic for an opera. You may select a list for your students to choose from and post it where they can see.
Students write about what they are thinking about. If you are studying about penguins, penguins will likely be part of you opera!
Ø Plan your lessons to accommodate learning the topics for use in the opera early on in the school year, or allow for some flexibility
B) WITH YOUR STUDENTS BEGIN HERE:
Ø Sing with your class EVERY DAY . . . use movement oriented action songs!!!
Ø Establish the three rules with your students to set up an environment of Trust, Risk, Affirmation and Growth at the beginning of the process! help them commit to making them GOALS!!! What is the difference between a RULE and a GOAL?
Ø Discuss what opera is and explain the process in brief to introduce the project.
Ø Discuss story writing elements: Beginning, middle, end, character, plot, etc.
Ø Begin research such as reading or sharing stories, study the selected focus curriculum topics, etc.
C) WITH YOUR MENTOR BEGIN HERE:
Ø Plan early on with the mentors what approach you wish to take with the opera in your classroom, agree on a timeline and calendar visits.
Ø Ask questions whenever you need assistance.
Ø Answer email and phone contacts with your mentors promptly.
If you lose touch with any of your mentors contact the Opera by Children Director! I am available and ready to get you going again! email: pamgee @ ufomt.org
Or call!! Anytime!! We are here to help you. We are not here to do it for you, but we are willing to go the extra mile should you find you are in need of extra support. Life has surprises and we want you and the students to succeed!
Opera by Children Director, Pamela Gee