Inspiring Creativity through March ’14 CAPS Programs

On the week of March 9-15, 2014, elementary students were lucky enough to have three amazing artists come to their schools! The week was full of dancing, singing, talking, creating, and learning thanks to these talented individuals.

Beverly Botsford was the first stop, presenting her “Dancing Drums” performance at Easley Elementary School. She spared not a second in starting to create music with students. The time flew by as she taught the children about her extremely interesting collection of instruments and sampled them all. She also showed students some instruments that they could make at home to continue the jam session. Some kids were selected to come up on stage to drum with her, but the rest of the audience was equally engaged in body percussion throughout the performance. As students kept the beat and engaged in call and response, she explored different rhythms and sounds with drums, shakers, chimes, and a myriad of other percussion instruments. Students were also lucky enough to hear a couple of poems, complete with exotic, and sometimes altogether surprising, sound effects from her table of musical trinkets. The kids were lively and focused as they watched and followed along; even the teachers were joining in by the end and no one could keep the smile off of their face!

Next up was Mary Ann Nilsson’s “Bugs, Birds, Animals, and Music” workshop at Sandy Ridge Elementary School. The kids were invited to participate in discussions about familiar creatures to learn new and exciting things about them by exploring their physical and behavioral characteristics. Their eyes widened as they discovered that the wingspan of an eagle was as long as three of them were tall! They also listened to both recorded and live piano music and were engaged in guessing what animal a song was imitating or describing. Once they had it figured out, the children were invited to move like these animals, flapping and moving around the classroom. When it came time for the end of the workshop, every student was able to share something new they had learned!

The final stop of the week was Chris Vitiello’s “Poetry Laboratory” workshop at Hillandale Elementary. Funny and engaging, he encouraged students to create poetry like they never have before. They started with a noun randomly picked from a student and collectively made a detailed word map that traced their different trains of thought leading away from this single word. Soon enough, after about ten minutes and lots of silly suggestions, the students found themselves with a full board, sharing personal experiences and vivid stories. Then it was their turn. Each student was given a different small object and they placed it in the middle of their papers to create their own word maps around. Mr. Vitiello gave the kids pointers as they worked and read them samples of different kinds of poems to get their creativity flowing. Their final task was to create a poem of any kind about their small object. The children were eager to share their poems with the class and one student even incorporated a small dance performance into her presentation! Through this workshop, the students had clearly acquired the skills and experience to effectively tap into their creativity and allow their voice to shine through in their writing.

To find out more about these or similar CAPS programs, call 919-560-2718 at any time Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. If you already have a copy of the current CAPS Guidebook, more information about Beverly Botsford, Mary Ann Nilsson, and Chris Vitiello can be found on pages 38, 50, and 35, respectively. In the meantime, we hope this beautiful spring weather inspires you to keep creating!