On three Saturdays per year, you can find over twenty schoolteachers from all over Connecticut gathered in one of Long Wharf’s rehearsal halls. They might be performing Shakespearean monologues, sharing memories from their childhoods, or writing original plays. No matter the day’s topic, there is always a palpable feeling of warmth and community.
This is Ed Lab; Long Wharf’s dedicated professional development series for teachers of all subjects and grade levels focusing on arts-integration in the classroom.
“Words cannot express just how amazing the ED LAB program has been for my own professional growth and my students’ enrichment,” says Rob Esposito of Cooperative Arts High School in New Haven. “Each and every workshop I attend gives me practical hands-on techniques and exercises I can bring right into my classroom. Almost every Saturday workshop gives me something I use in Monday’s class.”
Each ED LAB consists of two master classes on various topics. Past facilitators include members of the Fiasco Theater Company, Kym Moore of Brown University, and Godfrey K. Simmons of Civic Ensemble.
The most recent ED LAB featured workshops from actress/teacher Barbara Hentschel and spoken-word poet/performer Lemon Andersen. Barbara’s workshop focused on the play Endgame by Samuel Beckett, which hundreds of students from all over New Haven will attend as part of Long Wharf’s Student Theatre Series. Following this, Lemon’s workshop focused on writing and performing spoken-word poetry. This was intended to help teachers prepare their students for the theatre’s annual poetry competition, Moments and Minutes.
“For the first Ed Lab of the year we wanted to set the tone for both arts integration in the classroom and for tackling the art of storytelling, so we invited two fantastic facilitators (Barbara and Lemon) to make this a reality. We knew that these two artists would bring very different elements to the table that would not just work on their own, but would enhance each other and give the teachers tools to approach our season and our Moments & Minutes Festival for k-12 students,” said Director of Education, Madelyn Ardito.
By the end of the long day, the teachers were both exhausted and invigorated.
“It was an empowering day, with techniques and activities I can incorporate RIGHT NOW!” said Tim Kane of James Hillhouse High School.
If you’re a Connecticut teacher and would like to sign up for future ED LABs, please sign up for the Education mailing list at longwharf.org/education
– Eliza Orleans