Findley Ends Big Week with Royal Breakfast
On Tuesday the 5th graders went to the Civic Center for a behind-the scenes look at how Joey, the title character in the touring production of War Horse, plays his part under the spell of master puppeteers. It was like having a magician explain how the tricks are done. Last night they went to see the live show as a group.
“It was phenomenal,” according to Veronika Jones, “and besides that we had a field trip yesterday to John Deere (the school’s community business partner) where we performed our fine arts concert!”
Veronika was wearing a tiara and grinning as she delivered her wide-eyed account because this morning was The Royal Breakfast at Findley, marking the culmination of the school’s joint, month-long effort with Lovejoy Elementary called Two Schools, One Book. The school-wide project was designed to engage whole families and create communities of readers around Roald Dahl’s The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant), the whimsical tale of a girl named Sophie and the big-eared behemoth with a long, special trumpet that blows dreams called phizzwizards into children’s bedrooms.
Regalia were everywhere and Principal Tara Owen was back in character sporting the Sophie outfit she donned for the assembly at the end of October that kicked things off.
“I think it’s been successful in getting families engaged in reading together,” she commented while dispensing scones and snozzcumbers and frobscottles to a steady stream of kids in crowns. Hopefully, the classrooms didn’t break out in whizpoppers later. “Next spring we’re going to use the same approach with Charlotte’s Web. And as far as War Horse goes, yes, that whole experience was fabulous for the kids.”
Last spring the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities selected Findley as one of eight schools nationwide to receive an arts education grant developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The Turnaround Arts initiative is a public-private partnership designed to narrow the achievement gap and improve student engagement through the arts. Findley is receiving intensive arts education resources, expertise and even the involvement of Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker over the course of two years to support their turnaround efforts.
Another example of Findley’s flourishing arts scene will be onstage next week when the school’s drama club, one of the district’s few at the elementary level, performs on December 18.
When the kids at Findley take their seats on any given morning they don’t exactly settle in because there’s no telling where they might be headed next. Learning there is becoming a world-widening art form.