The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Washington National
Opera are pleased to announce a new opportunity for professional development for classroom teachers wishing to implement authentic, project-based
learning. Building on years of
successful use and development in a handful of Montgomery County Public Schools classrooms, this approach
to the standard curriculum emphasizes student engagement—which
is linked to positive academic and behavioral outcomes—and utilizes key
practices for developing SEL skills, addressing the achievement and opportunity
gaps, and developing skills necessary for the 21st-century
To learn more about this
program and its impact, please watch our video here.
Kids Create Opera: A Vehicle for Learning
Who can participate?
In practice, the curriculum is designed to be implemented by individual K-5 classroom teachers or equal partnerships between classroom and arts
teachers with support from additional educators and/or volunteers. The professional development seminar is open to all: classroom teachers, special area teachers, special education and EL/ESOL teachers, principals, staff, teaching artists, volunteers--anyone who may take part in project implementation. A background in music or theater is welcome but not required.
This is a program that requires collaboration to implement at its best. We encourage multiple participants from each school to register and participate in the training.
What schools should consider this program?
A school that will successfully implement this program should
- Have a strong interest in maximizing student engagement and its educational benefits
- Have one or more creative, flexible teachers with an interest in the arts and in partnering across the school and with the community willing to lead this work
- Have strong support from administrators
Title I schools and schools that serve low-income students and English language learners are encouraged to consider this program.
The seminar content will be adaptable to various curricula and requirements throughout Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Teachers from around the greater Washington, DC area are encouraged to participate.
In the very unlikely instance that we cannot accommodate all applicants, applications will be reviewed for selection. Considerations for acceptance will include dedication to implementing the program in the 2018/2019 school year and working with a student population that includes a significant proportion of students from low-income communities and/or students who are English Language Learners.
program, classrooms form an opera company in which students write, compose,
produce, and perform their own original opera over the course of a full
academic year. This project becomes the
authentic vehicle through which the standard elementary curriculum is learned. In a process-driven, student-directed
project, students take on jobs parallel to those in professional opera
companies such as the Washington National Opera (WNO): composers, writers, PR representatives, set
designers, electricians, costume and make-up designers, and performers. Each student becomes an expert and a
valuable, necessary contributor to the company.
The opera is based on a socio-emotional and/or cultural theme, determined by the students and derived
from issues that are important to the class as a whole. Past themes addressed barriers, failure, longing, empathy, and judgement. These themes allow
students to develop SEL skills as well as to become agents of change and voice
in their communities—both of which are vital to growth and engagement. The program is incorporated into all subject
tie student work to the real world beyond the classroom, the Kennedy Center and
the WNO provide insight into the work of students’ professional counterparts in
opera production through opportunities such as classroom visits from WNO
professionals, backstage tours of the Opera House, and tours of the WNO
rehearsal and costume studios.
This program can be adapted to fit the needs and resources for various classrooms, grade levels, schools, and communities. Topics related to implementation and adaptation will be discussed during the professional development intensive and in follow-up support sessions. However, we understand that teachers and schools will want to begin thinking about implementation before this time period and are committed to helping. To discuss best practices, possible structures, and other ideas on how this process can be best implemented in your school prior to the summer seminar, please contact us at email@example.com.
What is being offered?
Kennedy Center is offering training and ongoing support to K-5 classroom teachers who are interested in implementing opera creation
curricula in their classrooms.
Kids Create Opera: A Vehicle for Learning—Professional Learning
- 8-day intensive
session in August
support meetings for participating classrooms
Create Opera Partnership
A limited number of schools fully implementing opera creation curricula will be eligible to receive the
following from the Kennedy Center and WNO:
visits from WNO professionals
tours of the Kennedy Center’s Opera House
of the WNO rehearsal and costume studios
rehearsal passes for participating teachers
- Early registration for age-appropriate Opera Look-Ins and WNO Dress Rehearsals
Please use the following form to request to be registered for Kids Create Opera: A Vehicle for Learning
professional development offered by the Washington National Opera and Kennedy Center Education. In order for us to adequately prepare for the program, all participants from each school (teachers, volunteers, staff, etc.) must submit an online registration form
. Your answers will help us understand your current goals, concerns, and experiences as an educator.
August 1-8, 2018
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
WNO Rehearsal Studios in Takoma Park6925 Willow St NW
Washington, DC 20012
All materials are provided.
Participation at all sessions is required; participants must commit to attending each day for the full time period.
During the training, participants will go through a parallel process similar to that which students will experience in the classroom. Participants must commit to participating fully in all activities.
Washington National Opera will cover the cost of participation and materials for all attendees.
Participants are responsible for covering their own parking, transportation, and meals.
Optionally, teachers may choose to take this course for graduate credit from Trinity University. Additional fees and registration processes will apply. The cost is as follows:
3 credits: $375
6 credits: $750 (additional course requirements apply)
(Note: Once a credit option is selected, it cannot be changed)
If you are interested in taking the course for credit, check the corresponding box on this online registration form to receive additional instructions.
Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive notification of your acceptance into the workshop or if further information is required.