Full Circle TAP (Teaching Artists Program)
Available Teaching Curricula


“E(energy) + motion = Emotion”
Exploring the work of Eric Carle


10-lesson residency for K and 1st grade students
Arts integration: Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts with Literacy, Math, and Social Skills
Availability: Fall 2017
Classroom time: 10 one-hour lessons
Conceived and directed by: Ann Law

Based on Eric Carle’s books, this 10-lesson residency guides K and 1st grade students in experiencing and understanding their feelings and decision-making through the creative process. Using the art forms of dance, music, theater, and visual art, we explore the importance of self-awareness as we enliven learning through the arts. This residency creates relationships between students and teaching artists that can enhance positive decision-making and personal accountability connected to classroom learning.

Lesson 1: The Grouchy Ladybug

Have you ever been grouchy? Have your parents ever been grouchy? Have your friends ever been grouchy? What did that feel like for you? What kinds of behaviors did they use? What things did they do that showed you they were grouchy?

Teaching artists lead students thorough a series of questions to clarify grouchy and sensitive behaviors. This is an opportunity for children to learn and to practice appropriate social skills, such as: developing self-awareness, understanding empathy, treating others with respect, and using self-control in different situations. We experience different concepts of size and locomotion in dance; theatrical role-playing to physically and verbally understand different scenarios; and create torn paper collages to express and communicate our issues and solutions.

Lesson 2: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

When you eat an apple, how do you feel? When you eat a big piece of chocolate cake, how do you feel? Do you feel the same? How do you make healthy choices for your body to become big and strong? Do you use self-control when eating? Have you ever read a label on the back of a product in a grocery store? What did it say? Could you pronounce all the words?

Children learn and practice self-control as we explore nutrition, self-awareness and human development. Through arts integration, we explore developmental phases of human growth, investigate food ingredients, understand ways to improve the food chart, and create a clay model that explains the importance of eating healthily.

Lesson 3: The Very Clumsy Click Beetle

Have you ever wanted to do something physically but could not? When do you lose your patience? How do you feel when someone is critical of you? When someone laughs at you? Do you feel like giving up? Is it easy for you not to complete what you have started? What words of encouragement and/or praise do you like to hear? Which words of encouragement do you use? How do we build self-confidence?

Starting with “beetle zumba” students engage in physically challenging movement that plays with ideas of failure, perseverance, and success, ultimately reinforcing “growth mindset” in our selves. Taking explicit cues from the story, students role-play athlete and coach practicing encouragement, empathy, perseverance, and improvement.

Lesson 4: The Very Lonely Firefly

Have you ever felt lonely? When do you feel lonely? Does feeling lonely only happen when you are alone? What other emotions come up when you are feeling lonely? Can you explain loneliness? What can you do about loneliness? Can you show loneliness? Can everyone feel a little lonely now and again?

Students examine and express ideas of loneliness and connection. Beginning with a paired BrainDance, students exchange roles of leader and follower, and examine the figurative language in the story. Students follow with creating geometric cut-out portraits of their own firefly, and afterward practice reflection, explaining their firefly’s story and their artistic choices. Students practice self-awareness and teamwork, learn more about using language skills to ask for help when needed, and they learn to recognize sadness in others and ways to offer appropriate support.

Lesson 5: Papa Give Me the Moon

What do you see when you look at the moon? Does the moon change as you look at it through the cycle of a month? How does it change? Have you ever noticed the shapes of the moon? Does the moon always show up in the same place in the sky? What does the moon make you think of when you see it?

Learning about the moon begins with a dance inspired by shapes and phases of the lunar cycle. Students create a two-dimensional work using the waxing and waning portions of the lunar cycle. Lastly, students come back to center, actively listening and moving quietly to Eric Carle’s story about a child’s wish and a father’s imagined travel to the moon and back.

Lesson 6: The Mixed-Up Chameleon

Do you wish, sometimes, that you were someone else? What qualities does that person have that you do not? What qualities do you admire? What is the difference between admiring others and being jealous of others? What are some of the things you wish you could change about yourself? What can you change about yourself and what can you not?

This lesson plan starts with drawing a self-portrait representing who you are, unlike the mixed-up chameleon. Students create a word bank at the beginning of class, and each student selects words that describe their best qualities and writes these words on their portraits. We take the image of the chameleon and allow the students to “try on” different characters to see what feels similar and what feels different. The lesson concludes with another drawing that represents what we have experienced.

Lesson 7: The Very Busy Spider

Have you had a really big job to do but you had a hard time staying focused or finishing your task? Is there is something you like to have or do more than anything else? Do your friends have special likes or favorite activities? What happens when we put people and their favorite things together?

Eric Carle’s beautiful spider tale teaches personal focus and social interdependence. Students begin the specifics of the lesson by listening and acting their animal roles in the story of The Very Busy Spider. After a playful interpretation, students create an activated, kinetic web sculpture with yarn. The result for students is a deeper understanding of the ways individual action and group efforts complement each other.

Lesson 8: The Very Quiet Cricket

                  Is it OK to be quiet? Is it OK to be loud? When might you be quiet? When might you be loud? What do you think of people who are quiet? What do you think of people who are loud? Sometimes, is it hard to find your voice around a lot of people? Is it easier to sometimes talk to just one other person? Why is it easier to talk to one person and not another? What does it mean to be an introvert? What does it mean to be an extrovert? Do you know the importance of listening?

We begin with listening to different sounds from music all over the world. Using simple instruments, we begin to understand rhythm, tone, volume and breath in music. We finish with creating an orchestra that creates a sound-scape to accompany the very quiet cricket, full of stillness as well.

Lesson 9: The Very Greedy Python

                  Have you ever eaten too much? Have you ever been so full, you have felt sick with a tummy ache? How do you know you have eaten enough? How does it feel when you take too much? How do you tell yourself no? What is self-control?

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to understand consumerism and the importance of recycling. Students begin with an informative BrainDance that explores self-control. Students create imaginative instruments from recyclable products and learn a song that supports our desire for change. When we take too much, we begin to see the impact of our behavior on our environment, and ultimately the world.

Lesson 10: Pancakes, Pancakes!

                  Why is cooking so important? Where does food come from? What is the creative process of cooking? Why do we follow instructions? Have you ever cooked anything? Would you eat something you cooked? Have you ever read a recipe?

We begin with activities that explore problem-solving and following instructions. Students guide Full Circle Teaching Artists through the process of making pancakes. The importance of reading and following a recipe exposes the chemistry behind cooking and how science is involved in our daily actions.

“Romeo + Juliet: what went wrong?”
Introducing Shakespeare and the Importance of Communication Skills

5-lesson residency for 4th and 5th grade students
Arts Integration: Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts with Literacy, Math, and Social Skills
Availability: Fall 2017
Classroom Time: 5 one-hour lessons
Conceived and Directed by: Ann Law  

Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this 5-lesson residency guides 4th and 5th grade students in experiencing and practicing effective communication skills. Students examine passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, and assertive behaviors, coming to understand their feelings and decision-making through the Integrative Negotiation Procedure. We examine four passages for communication in Romeo and Juliet, using dance, music, theater, and visual art, encouraging students to create new patterns of self-awareness and healthy assertiveness. This residency creates understanding of the importance of positive and healthy relationships among peers.

Lesson 1:

Identifying the unhealthy communication behaviors and acknowledging that ultimatums don’t work. Students examine force and weight in choreography to create a dance based on healthy communication skills.

Lesson 2:

Keeping secrets involves dishonesty that affects others. Practicing positive assertive skills allows students to advocate for themselves through being transparent. Understanding that the lack of trust comes from being secretive, we begin to see Romeo and Juliet in a different light.

Lesson 3:

Taking the Communication Skills further, we expose the characters with boundary issues such as Mercutio. When faced with the highest tensions in the entire play, Shakespeare’s characters do everything you should not do when in conflict. Focus on the phases of Conflict Resolution is critical here.

Lesson 4:

Friar Lawrence’s very dangerous plan misleads the main characters ultimately to death.   When friends lead us into the web of secrecy, we lose our accountability for who we really are. Gossip, indirect involvement, and enabling are examined, encouraging us all to take responsibility for what we say and what we do.

Lesson 5:

Our final lesson plan is self-reflective and an artistic response to the curriculum. Through this powerful play, the importance of clarity, transparency, healthy communication skills, and conflict resolution prevents misunderstandings and disasters.

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