July 16th, 2024

Collaboration focus of school play workshop

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 25, 2023.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Lethbridge School Division's Tyler Leavitt speaks to teachers from around southern Alberta about how to produce a school play, as part of a session at the South Western Alberta Teachers' Convention, Friday at the University of Lethbridge.

The South Western Alberta Teachers’ Annual Convention wrapped up Friday afternoon after two days of teachers coming together from across southern Alberta.

Sharing ideas and techniques, the convention is held at the University of Lethbridge every February while the students are away for Reading Week.

For two days teachers engaged with one another in workshops and sessions, sharing ideas and knowledge to help their colleagues allwhile bettering themselves for the students they teach.

Session focused on topics like supporting anxious children in the classroom, skills for making learning fun, leadership as a practice in growth, and producing a play in school.

Workshops during the convention looked to bring a collective mind together, sharing skills and techniques that can benefit all attending.

Tyler Leavitt, with the Lethbridge School Division, held a session on producing a school play, looking to bring teachers together and share collaborative skills towards the goal of theatre.

“I’m looking to collaborate with a lot of other teachers and get information from them, as well as share information about how does each school put on a school play,” said Leavitt.

Teachers attending the session came from different teaching backgrounds: urban and rural, Catholic and pubic, along with time and experience, sharing their experiences to help create a collective set of skills that teachers could keep in their back pocket.

“We are looking at how does a school do it? What is covered and what’s not covered? What are some of the mistakes we have made over the years? What are the successes we have found? How do we get kids involved? All of these kinds of things,” said Leavitt.

“I’ve been doing school plays for 15 years, but this is the first time I’ve led a session.”

With a history of staging productions, Leavitt notes the importance of giving students an opportunity that aligns with their interests.

“It is a rewarding experience, especially having all those kids that don’t necessarily have a space somewhere else in the building. Providing that space creates families over the years and friendships grow,” said Leavitt.

“Yes, it is introducing them to art and different forms of art, musical or play, we do all of those things. But for me, the biggest part is creating that home in that space that is family to those kids.”

Drama helps in many ways to student growth, especially through social skills.

“There is a marked difference in some of the kids in the way that they interact with other students. The way that they hold themselves, and the confidence that it brings to a lot of these kids that are normally not out there,” said Leavitt.

“One of the best things is seeing them create little pods of friendships, even cross-grade. (At our school) we only go to grade eight, and kids will invite their grade nine friends from previous plays to come back and watch. They come in watch multiple shows, because they formed these bonds and still connect.”

In a world that in constantly changing and evolving, it is important that young learners have teachers who are equipped to educate them for their future. The South Western Alberta Teachers’ Convention helps educators in southern Alberta stay on top of their subjects, while helping spread the knowledge to others in the field. With another year down, teachers will go back to their classrooms with new insights and skills to help their students be the best they can be.

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