First of all, we wanted to begin with a Thank You. We know that you get thank you notes every time you donate but you must realize that without your support these projects would not come to fruition. My name is Debbi Arseneaux, and I am a Program Director and a Master Teaching Artist with Story Tapestries. From November to January, I worked with 2nd and 3rd graders after school at Tyler Elementary, reading stories and bringing them to life. We aimed to increase understanding of main idea and story structure by helping the students act out scenes from the stories and giving voice to the characters. WE had success at a level I did not expect. The students finished the program by creating their own versions of the stories in new settings, changing details but keeping the main lessons intact. Throughout, we used writing and visual art projects as well to engage every learner.
This group of students was at times challenging, and tested both my patience and my teaching skills. But the smiles and hugs they gave when they enjoyed an activity, the pride in their voices when they made a new realization, the thrill they got when given the chance to get up and perform a role...these moments were so bright and so inspiring that the struggles fade away. In these sessions, they develop difficult but important life skills as well, like teamwork, listening, respecting each other and taking turns.
One teacher in the classroom told me that she had never seen some of these students so engaged and so vocal in their participation. So despite the occasional rough day, I know I am getting through, and I know we are making progress, and I sincerely hope that these students continue to receive the encouragement and opportunities to thrive through creative expression that they need to succeed.
We will be launching a new microproject on March 5th to continue offering programming at Tyler and your support will be essential to the success of the next chapter. If you can, forward this project report on to your community. Let me know about this organization you support. Tell them to Look for more details soon! Thank you again for playing an important role in the future of these students.