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Lions, and Tigers, and Polar Bears... and butterflies...and elephants...and oh my!

3/2/2012
Once again, it is time for one of the year’s most exciting events: the Elementary Residency program. For two weeks, Elementary students participate in a celebration of the creative process...

 
After a day of trying out different activities, students become part of mixed-age groups that meet twice a day in the Art Room and the Multi-Purpose Room. They brainstorm and collaborate with each other, different teachers, the Art Department, and our Artists in Residence to create material for a performance given for the entire community.
 
This year, we are excited to host four artists from Bread & Puppet, a performance ensemble based in Glover, VT. Bread & Puppet is known throughout the country and the world for their gigantic puppets and spectacular parades. The company is also popular for its “Cheap Art;” accessible and reproducible pieces made using natural and recycled materials. Susie Perkins, Katherine Nook, Lili Wreckler and Ali Boyce are all experienced members of the touring Company, and talented singers, musicians, and puppeteers. They are enthusiastic and patient teachers, and have worked hard to prepare creative activities that help the students turn their ideas into reality. Elementary students will be spending the next week building giant puppets and creating dances, songs, and skits for our showcase on March 8th.
 
Right now, half the Multi-Purpose Room floor is covered with colorful depictions of animals. These animal drawings are painted on recycled cardboard and old bed sheets cut down to make flags, and they belong to 6 different biomes. Biomes are living communities in distinct ecological regions of the Earth. They are characterized by a certain climate and particular types of plants and animals. The groups of students representing a particular biome—whether it is the Arctic, the Savannah, the Rainforest, or the Desert, for example—are in the process of creating their own acts. The Arctic group spent Tuesday afternoon creating papier-mâché icebergs to build a giant glacier; in the Savannah group, students painted dozens of cardboard pieces of grass to create a habitat for giant zebra puppets. The Tundra group has collected branches from the Upper Field, which they then transformed into caribou antlers. All the children are excited for the projects to come.
 
The puppeteers have told me that the LMS residency is the “most collaboration we’ve ever done” with children, and they are excited to have all of the “puzzle pieces come together in the end so that all the kids have their puppets in hand.” But what is one thing they still need? “More cardboard!”
 
Please bring large pieces of used cardboard—if you have them!—to the front hallway of the Elementary building. We will be having a Dress Rehearsal on March 8th at 10:30am, and we invite you to attend the evening performance at 6pm, in the Multi-Purpose Room.
 
- Laini Szostkowski '01, Upper Elementary teacher & Residency Committee member