Friday, April 27, 2012

Memorable responses to Class Acts 2011-2012

After each Class Acts performance, teachers are emailed a link to a brief survey about their experience.  They are asked to share their comments, as well as the comments of their students.  Below are the highlights of responses received for shows in the 2011-2012 Class Acts season.  Many thanks to the students, teachers, artists, staff, volunteers and our series sponsor, PNC Bank for making this great season possible.

Students were very engaged.  I saw many instances of carry-over of concepts over the next few days.  One student commented, "He was hilarious."  When I responded, "Yes, he was funny."  she said, "No--hilarious!"  I heard several students quote the presenter throughout the day.
-          6th grade teacher attending Garry Krinsky: Toying with Science

Both the students and I loved the performance and it was a gateway to discuss important issues back in the classroom.  It made me laugh and it made me cry.  Excellent performance!
-          4th grade teacher attending Danny, King of the Basement

The topic coincided perfectly with our Unit of Inquiry about Heroes.  Within this unit we are studying Civil Rights.  The actors made the characters we have only read about or seen pictures of come alive.  It was very meaningful.
-          3rd grade teacher attending The Color of Justice

I thought the performance was great! It really kept the students on the edge of their seats (literally) and tied right into our unit on simple machines! 
-          3rd grade teacher attending Garry Krinsky: Toying with Science

I really liked the connection to children's literature.  My students enjoyed seeing stories that they had read "come to life."
-          3rd grade teacher attending Fancy Nancy and Other Story Books

I had seen Gary Krinsky's performance before and was excited to see him return because it is one of the best Class Acts I've seen.  He makes the learning seem like a magic act and kept all of the students’ attention the entire time.   My students said he was awesome.  I watched them laughing and staying focused the entire time. 
-          3rd grade teachers attending Garry Krinsky: Toying with Science

The Class Acts performances can often bring history and literature to life.  The students can see the fun in learning when it is something live presented to them.  It is a nice option to have to supplement school.
-          Homeschool parent of a 6th grade student attending The Color of Justice

My students enjoyed the production immensely and look forward to seeing another production soon!  One student said that she wanted to be on stage with the actors and wanted to be the main character's little sister. :)
-          6th grade teacher attending The Color of Justice

My students and I LOVED the performance.  They talked about the puppets all the way back to school and during our lunch.  The children commented on how the puppets looked so real.  Some shared how the puppets looked like the illustrations in the book.
-          1st grade teacher attending Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

This presentation fit in perfectly with our Science curriculum. Mr. Krinsky was very entertaining and kept the attention of all the kids and teachers. :)  They all thought it was really cool!
-          4th grade teacher attending Garry Krinsky: Toying with Science

My students were very engaged and entertained.  They loved the connections to the literature that they have already read.
-          1st grade teacher attending Fancy Nancy and Other Story Books

I loved that it was set to music! The kids were highly engaged throughout the entire production!  This is the second year we have attended a Class Acts performance at Sangamon Auditorium. I have been greatly impressed by the professionals and organization of the day. It is often difficult for me to find field trips that all of my students with Autism and other disabilities will enjoy and be engaged with. They were engaged throughout the performance this year! My students have enjoyed both shows and I look forward to taking them to view another!
-          Teacher of a K-3 special education class attending Fancy Nancy and Other Story Books

Their comments were very simple. They said "it was good." It was a bit hard for some of them to understand the story as they are all students with special needs and lower cognitive ability. However, bringing them to the play is a great way to help them practice their social and daily living skills.
-          Teacher of 7th-8th grade learning disabled students who attended A Thousand Cranes

Excellent!  Enjoyed the smaller atmosphere.  Brought a tough and serious topic to real life for students.  Really like the feeling of learning outside the classroom.  It provides a different outlook to education, and it provides variety rather than just reading a textbook.  They bring lessons to life.
-          Homeschool parent of a 6th grade student attending Through the Eyes of a Friend: The World of Anne Frank

The topic was excellent.  I hope it helped open some of my students’ eyes (and hearts) so they will be more understanding of their peers that are living in poverty.  Many students never get the opportunity to attend a play and they are in awe of the whole experience.
-          5th grade teacher attending Danny, King of the Basement

Students related what the characters went through in the play to their own lives and their friends.  They felt empathy for the characters.  For some it was the first play they had ever seen.
-          4th-5th grade teachers who attended Danny, King of the Basement

Our school has a high percentage of poverty children who would never get to see anything like that if we did not go to the class acts. Thanks so much.
-          Kindergarten teacher attending Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

My son came home and wanted me to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to him right away, and many times since then.  My second grader loved that they showed how they moved the puppets after the performance. She was sitting there the whole time guessing about how it was done, so she loved seeing "behind the scenes."  My almost 5-year-old would break out into spontaneous clapping he was so into the story. The production was so well-done the entire audience was interacting without any prompting at all...a great early theater experience.
-          Homeschool parent attending Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

I loved the performance!  The actors were fun and kept the children entertained...adults too!  I saw many of our students laughing throughout the performance...I think that says it all.
-          Teacher of a 3-year-old preschool class attending Fancy Nancy and Other Story Books

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You're Invited: Listen to the River

Sangamon Auditorium is delighted to be working with the UIS departments of Biology and Environmental Studies and the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble on a truly unique event coming up on April 14 in the Studio Theatre.

Listen to the River is a special performance that integrates live music with stories, photographic images, and commentary on the past, present, and future of the Illinois River, one of Illinois’ most important waterways. The woodwind quintet of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble will perform water-themed selections interwoven with presentations from noted regional professionals as well as faculty and students of the UIS Biology and Environmental Studies Departments. Staged in the UIS Studio Theatre, Listen to the River is sure to be an engaging performance in the comfort of an intimate setting.

For more information about the project collaborators, please visit their websites:

Illinois River Presenters for “Listen to the River”:

Ben Briddell Ben obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently completing a Master of Science degree at the University of Illinois at Springfield. His research focuses on carbon and nitrogen storage in natural Illinois wetlands.
Morgan Diffenderfer Morgan Diffenderfer is a second year graduate student in the Biology department at UIS. She is doing research at Emiquon on the effects of herbivory on three different native species and is also a TA for Cell Biology and Chemistry II. Other than work and classes, her time is devoted to her 16 month old daughter. Their time is well spent playing outside, reading books, listening to music and of course exploring science.
Doyn Kellerhals Doyn Kellerhals is a graduate student in biology working with Dr. Michael Lemke. Her thesis work is "Changes in Bacterial Communities on Decomposing Silver Maple Leaves in the Illinois River Floodplain".  Doyn is also employed as the research technician for the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon  and is leading research crews working on Thompson Lake and Lake Chautauqua near Havana, Illinois this summer.
Mike Lemke Michael J. Lemke is a Professor of Biology at the University of Illinois Springfield and the Director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon. His research interests include microbial ecology focusing on bacterial population interactions in streams, rivers, and floodplain habitats.
Keith Miller Keith W. Miller is the Schewe Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is also the Associate Director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, where he does the bidding of the field station director, Dr. Michael Lemke. Prof. Miller’s research areas include computer ethics, software testing, and online education.
Mike Wiant Michael D. Wiant is the Director of the Illinois State Museum—Dickson Mounds.  Trained in Social Sciences (BS Illinois State University), Sociology-Anthropology (MS Illinois State), and Anthropology (MA, PhD Northwestern University), as an archaeologist, Wiant studies ancient Native American life in the Illinois River basin.  In particular, he is interested a broad sweep time called the Archaic Period (10,000 to 3,000 years before present), during which there are substantial changes in way of life and environment.  Wiant has published research results on a variety of subjects and frequently presents public lectures on Illinois archaeology and Native American history.  He is also an adjunct professor at Illinois State, teaching courses on museums and archaeology.  In 2012, the ISU Department of Sociology-Anthropology recognized Wiant as a Distinguished Graduate.
Chris Young (photographer) Chris Young iis a writer, photographer and videographer at The State Journal-Register in Springfield, focusing on outdoors, nature and environment coverage. His specialty is nature photography, highlighting the wildlife and natural areas of central Illinois. He studied journalism at Iowa State University and is currently working on his Masters degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield.