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My First Week

by Marett Hanes, Teaching Artist at Smith Elementary School

Jumping into my first week as a Teaching Artist (TA) for Creative Action felt a little bit like being launched from 0 to 65 mph on one of those awesome roller coasters—terrifying, exhilarating, and significantly less scary once it gets started!

I started on September 10, a week later than I normally would have, because I had just gotten married and was on my honeymoon during my start date. I immediately wanted to jump in and start doing great things with my classes upon my return, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

My classes revolve around art and real-life issues, a deep passion of mine, and one of the driving forces behind my wanting to work with Creative Action. To start off my 2nd and 3rd grade classes, I chose to have my students create superheroes, and focus on what “job” the superhero had—how did they help others? Many of the responses I received were astounding. Heroes brought clean water to Africa, removed trash from the ocean, watered dying plants, helped the poor, ended bullying, and saved homeless animals. It was so exciting for me to see students identifying problems that they wished to change and using their artistic abilities to create a positive message.

During the next class, I used an idea that I was introduced to at training by another TA to help the students understand Creative Action’s 4C’s. I created a superhero on my agenda board and taught the children about his four superpowers:

  • Critical Thinker
  • Creative Artist
  • Courageous Ally
  • Confident Leader

By the end of the class, students could identify and explain the 4C’s based on books and in games that we played together in class.

I finished off the week by having the students choose personal heroes for their selves. They chose moms and dads, teachers and policeman, even other kids in the class. Seeing their ability to think critically and creatively was so inspiring to me, and I can’t wait to continue the rest of the semester! Having the 4C’s so deeply embedded in my lessons has really helped the students and myself to focus our ideas and our work toward my intended goals.

UPDATE: Theatre Action Project is now Creative Action. Read more about our name change.

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