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Drama Expert Louise Clark Visits WISS

April, 2016
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wiss-louise-clark-1PYP students and teachers at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) eagerly welcomed the return of drama expert Louise Clark to classrooms in early March. Clark, who works with the International Schools Theater Association (ISTA), brought her unique form of interactive storytelling to classrooms, demonstrating the power of drama as a tool for deepening classroom inquiry.

In each classroom, Clark invited students to join her participatory storytelling circle, bringing their imaginations with them! Within the circle, children dramatized characters, used their bodies to physically recreate settings, and used their five senses to dramatize plot points. Children guided their friends on perilous journeys, designed imagination machines, and enacted a teddy bear picnic! The dramatic play enabled students to experiment with points of view while developing understanding of conflicts and literary themes. 

To extend learning beyond the two days Clark spent with the students, teachers were invited to observe multiple storytelling sessions and join together to discuss their observations. Teachers also had the chance to join their own story circle in an afternoon professional development session in which Clark introduced a painting of a dense rainforest and guided teachers to explore issues of environmental protection, urban development, and cultural change. Through follow up conversations, teachers shared how they and their students were completely absorbed by the drama, noted the active participation of even the most reticent students, and strategized ways to incorporate drama and story circles into their classrooms to enhance student learning.


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