Who are we? We are passionate teaching artists who understand that when we tap into the students’ learning styles and relate classroom curriculum to students’ lives, they will take ownership of their education.
How so? Project REAL’s techniques mainly focus on implicit learning. According to Eric Jensen in his book "Teaching with the Brain in Mind," implicit learning involves hands on physical activity including tasks we do in our everyday living, which allow us to unconsciously generate meaning that goes beyond the surface. We are unaware that we are learning in those tasks.
What do you mean by “Generating meaning”? Generating meaning means making an emotional connection. Jensen quotes neuroscientists saying, “...emotion turns out to be one of the most important regulators of learning and memory. The more intense the emotional state, the more likely we are to remember the event.”
Why physical activity? Movement gets the blood pumping. Blood flow gets our brains oxygen in order to learn. Movement gets endorphins going, which makes us happy to learn. Movement is also vital for students who learn best through kinesthetic techniques.
Who do we work with? We started our work exclusively with high schools—grades 9-12. We have since expanded to work with multiple grade levels, multiple learning abilities, and organizations outside schools. The process of collaboration has been different with every institution we’ve had the opportunity to serve. Because of this we encourage interested parties to contact us to start the conversation about how we can best serve you. We will adapt our program and cater to the needs of any school or group interested in collaborating with us.
What do we do? We use theatre-based activities to create a classroom environment that encourages differentiated learning, expression of ideas, and critical thinking while also connecting the material directly to the personal lives of our students.
Why we do what we do? Theatre is the perfect venue to address all learning styles and can be a catalyst for open dialogue. A lesson on Beowulf can turn into a discussion about homelessness; activities about topography become a debate on what makes an ideal community; student-created scenarios depicting dependent and independent variables discussed the impact of television watching on studying and grades. These activities encourage the students to become an active participant within their communities.
How do we do this? Our first action is to cultivate a strong relationship with the classroom teacher. With the teacher’s deep knowledge of the subject matter and of the students themselves, we are able to determine the needs of the students and how to best engage them in the lesson. This collaborative partnership is essential in our work.Teachers also inform us what material they would like us to discuss when we visit. We will then create a lesson plan focused on the material. Before we teach the lesson, we present it to the teacher to make sure we have addressed the desired content. This collaborative process culminates with the teaching artist leading the class in exploration of the material.
What subjects benefit? We cover all subject matters and all topics. We have had the opportunity to be a part of a wide-range of classes including: algebra I and II, biology, business management, computer technology, ecology, geometry, Latin, literature, mythology, personal finance, Spanish, topography and world history. Our work always supports the standards of learning as well as Common Core State Standards.
What else? We provide services to address social and behavioral issues as well as team-building skills. These services not only accommodate youth, but they also accommodate adults. We offer workshops through many different venues such as non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and schools. Through this service, an organization can have the option of devising a piece of theatre based off these particular issues to perform in front of an audience.
Why is this program important? Project REAL provides an opportunity for all students to learn in a non-traditional, educational setting. By using specific theatre techniques, we are able to accommodate all learning styles at the same time. It also allows for the students to talk openly on any given issue in a safe environment. This program supports the teachers and reinforces what they are teaching in their class rooms.