Any Given Child

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Recap: Professional Development provided by Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Lenore Kelner

This week, Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Lenore Blank Kelner visited Indianapolis to provide professional development to teachers and teaching artists. On Tuesday, January 16, Kelner provided two workshops on Character Interviews; the morning session was held at Eliza Blaker Elementary School, and the afternoon session was held at Edison School of the Arts. The workshops focused on connecting reading comprehension with drama. Kelner took participants through three lessons, which included tips on how to keeps students engaged during read-alouds, teaching vocabulary words by using theatre/drama tools and concepts, and using a talk-show setting to interview students as characters from books to test comprehension and encourage inferences. 

On Wednesday, January 17, Kelner demonstrated her lessons with a fourth grade class at Edison School of the Arts. Teachers were able to observe and have a debrief discussion afterwards. Between the two days of professional development, over 60 teachers were able to participate.




Second Annual Arts Education Day at the Indiana Statehouse

The Indiana Arts Education Network is busy planning for their second annual Arts Education Day at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, February 13th. The network is planning a full day of activities to help our elected officials understand the powerful benefits of a well-rounded education that includes music & the arts. Activities include individual appointments with elected officials, a legislator & staff luncheon, and a formal resolution adoption in support of Arts Education. The network plans to present a unified “ask” for this year’s general assembly and hopes to nurture relationships with elected officials and staff members. If you are interested in attending Arts Education Day at the Indiana Statehouse, please email Mark Goff ( by Wednesday, January 17. 

Year-End Program Update

I am excited to report that a year of program design work is now complete. In September, Any Given Child Indy began Phase 3, implementation, of its 5-year plan to provide robust arts education for all 23,000 K-8 students in Indianapolis Public Schools. We divided the plan into three stages, and we hit the ground running with nine schools
Stage One focuses on “Co-Curricular” activities to fill the 60% gaps in school access to arts organization programs. We infused three schools with the arts during September’s Arts Education Week; provided 8 schools with Professional Development for Fine Arts Teachers in October through Art With a Heart, Indiana Music Education Association, and Music for All; and we selected an arts liaison in each of the nine schools to plan field trips with groups like The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana State Museum, and Indiana Repertory Theatre. 
Stage Two focuses on “Arts Integration” with the goal of partnering teaching artists with the 94% of math, reading, and science teachers seeking training on how to integrate the arts into their school curriculum and to bolster student motivation and achievement. Leading the way, Edison School of the Arts began using their Kennedy Center training in arts integration in their core academic classrooms this fall. Also, Any Given Child Indy recently submitted a grant application for Sapphire Theatre to begin similar work with James Russell Lowell School. 
The final stage is “Arts as Curriculum.” In this stage, we ensure the elimination of the 78-80% gaps in weekly instruction in theatre and dance. While this is a later stage, IPS has already jumped ahead to demonstrate its effectiveness by placing two arts organizations in two schools beginning this January. Next month, Young Actor’s Theatre and Kids Dance Outreach will begin providing weekly instruction in theatre and dance in both James Russell Lowell School and George Buck Elementary. Finally, we found that this ambitious plan needed additional funding in order to expand district wide, and we engaged Thomas P. Miller & Associates of Indianapolis to guide us in securing the needed additional resources. The most updated initiative framework can be found here. 
Special thanks to our financial supporters such as Notable Measures, and to the 64 volunteers and educators who met monthly this past year for a combined total of 328+ hours to design the Any Given Child Indy plan!  Help us continue to support arts education in Indianapolis Public Schools in 2018 and beyond, with a year-end contribution to Any Given Child Indy. Every dollar makes a difference. 
Happy Holidays!
Ernest Disney-Britton
Director of Grant Services and Education Partnerships
Arts Council of Indianapolis

Eliza A. Blaker School Hosts Third Painting Event

Families came together for an evening of art at Eliza A. Blaker Elementary School #55, an Any Given Child Indy school. This was the school’s third family painting event, which has already become a tradition for some families. Students, parents, grandparents, teachers and friends created beautifully unique paintings of a winter scene. This time spent in community with one another was cherished by all. The artworks will be on display in the school for the Winter Concert on December 12th

Professional Development Opportunity in January 2018

The Professional Development Committee of Any Given Child Indy has chosen Lenore Blank Kelner as the arts integration teaching artist for January 2018 professional development. Lenore will present two workshops for teachers on January 16, as well as a demonstration lesson and debrief for teachers on January 17. She plans to present her workshop “Character Interviews: A Dramatic Approach to Reading Comprehension” to give teachers an amazingly fun way to achieve and assess reading comprehension in their classrooms.

Since 1981 Lenore has trained thousands of teachers in how to integrate drama into daily classroom instruction. She has been a presenter with the education department of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for 28 years, served as a Master Artist for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts for 25 years and is a frequent consultant for the Maryland State Department of Education.

Lenore has been a keynote presenter at many education and arts in education conferences as well as a speaker at many regional and national conferences. In addition Lenore has worked with hundreds of teaching artists across the county on the how to create effective showcases, arts integrated lessons and residencies.

In 1981 Lenore founded and directed InterAct Story Theatre an educational theatre touring company. In this capacity she wrote, produced and directed professional productions for children and families. These productions continue to tour throughout the United States. 

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