Team Creative Directions (TCD)
For 5th through 8th grade students
Led by Gina Samardge and Gwynne Watkins
There are so many ways to tell a story; to express an idea, a thought, a feeling; to share your own unique voice and speak out about what's important to you. What do you want to say? How do you want to say it? In this pilot program students will meet to explore a variety of art forms and tools they can use to express themselves, tell a story, and create independently or with others.
Each meeting will start with some kind of creative warm up to get the juices flowing, share examples of different art forms that they might use, and help them discover where their passions lie. There will be idea shares, partnering for collaborative projects, opportunities to share work and receive feedback and guidance from teachers (if desired by the students), and moments to connect as a community and support one another. Students may have clear thoughts about what they want to create or may just want to explore a different medium each class or help another student work on their idea; each person will be supported in their own process as they uncover the skills they have to offer and are encouraged to stretch themselves and play.
We're envisioning after school programming possibilities and this pilot is our first step in learning more about what that might look like, so it is important for us to have the chance to co-create with the students and center their voices in its development. Come be a part of this vision!
Have questions? Maybe this will help:::
What is Team Creative Directions?
Team Creative Directions is a new after school program that we are developing specifically for middle-school age kids (grades 5 through 8). Through games and activities, we explore different creative outlets connected to theater, art, music and storytelling. When kids find a particular activity or art form that inspires them, they're given the opportunity to pursue a project independently or in collaboration with other students.
Why is this program only for middle school kids?
Middle school, as most adults will remember, is a difficult time, full of transitions and challenges. At the same time, these tween-to-teen years provide unique opportunities for kids to explore their own identity, make new social connections, explore a range of interests and start figuring out who they want to be. With TCD, we are creating a safe space for self-expression and creative exploration, as well as an outside-of-school community where kids can build relationships, strengthen their sense of self, explore skills and ideas that may be new to them, and laugh together.
Why is it called Team Creative Directions?
Our middle schoolers came up with this name early in the process of creating the program. The "creative directions" part was adapted from the Compass Arts tagline, and the kids liked the idea of being a team -- and being able to call it TCD for short!
This sounds like it might be hard for my kid. How do I know if it's in their comfort zone?
We recognize that kids have different reactions to being in group settings and trying creative activities. Our goal is to make TCD as safe and supportive as we can. By incorporating multiple creative disciplines, the program appeals to all kinds of skills and talents. No one is expected to be good at everything, and that's part of the fun! We've really seen some students come out of their shells in the first couple months of the program. That said, no student is ever required to share their creative work with the class if they're not completely comfortable doing so.
Is there a big concert/gallery show/play at the end?
This particular class is focused more on the creative process than on working towards a presentation. Still, we'd like to give students opportunities to share completed projects or works-in-progress. What form this will take depends on COVID and weather conditions, and the students' preferences.
What if my kid only wants to do theater, or art, or music, like Rompatom, Theater Crafters, or Cartooning?
Every TCD session is tailored to the participants' interests. We do a variety of creative activities as a group, and then kids are free to pursue projects related to whatever they're most excited about. If a student mostly wants to play guitar or draw, we'll help them find ways to incorporate guitar-playing or drawing in their projects! We will also have additional resources available for music, theater and drawing on different days of the week (see next question).
Does my kid need to do every day?
While participation in all four days is encouraged, kids can sign up for as many or as few days as they'd like. Our sessions are all interdisciplinary, but the days of the week will be loosely themed as Games and Storytelling Mondays, Music Tuesdays, Theater Wednesdays and Art Thursdays. Students who have formerly been in Rompatom or Theater Crafters will be able to continue that work in TCD.
What kinds of projects do TCD kids work on?
Some of the projects we saw in the winter session are:
- A five-person comedy scene about a Zoom class gone wrong
- A scene from a '60s Western re-dubbed with original dialogue
- A script and storyboard for a three-character animated scene, about video game villains getting tacos together after work
- A choreographed dance to a Taylor Swift song
- An animated music video
In this pilot program students will meet online to explore a variety of art forms and tools they can use to express themselves, create, and tell a story. Students may find they want to work independently on a song, a poem, a painting, collage, or animation; or they may desire to collaborate with others in writing a skit, composing, or creating a dance. Perhaps one student writes a poem and another composes music to go with it....the possibilities are only as limited as our imaginations.
Each meeting will start with some kind of creative warm up to get the juices flowing, sharing examples and ideas of different creative avenues that could be explored, and then letting the students discover where their passions lie. There will be idea shares, partnering for collaborative projects, opportunities to share work and receive feedback and guidance from teachers (if desired by the students), and moments to connect as a community and support one another. Students may have clear thoughts about what they want to create or may just want to explore a different medium each class or help another student work on their idea; each person will be supported in their own process as they uncover the skills they have to offer and are encouraged to stretch themselves and play. Students who have participated in Rompatom Music Ensemble and Theater Crafters Ensemble will both still be able to work on those projects this spring on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, respectively, as part of TCD.
We're envisioning after school programming possibilities, so it is important for us to have the chance to co-create with the students and center their voices in its development. Come be a part of this vision!
Registering for the full four days per week is encouraged, but students may register individually for ANY days being offered!