Saturday, June 20, 2015

Turning Our Classroom Into An Inclusion Gallery & Performing Arts Centre

After reading the book "Don't Laugh At Me" by: Steve Seskin & Allen Shamblin and celebrating "Light it Up Blue" with all my classes, my students really expressed their interest in building inclusion in our school. We decided we wanted to promote inclusion through the Arts and that's when my grade 6 homeroom students,  grade 4 art students and grade 3 dance students teamed up to create some real magic! They turned our classroom into an Inclusion Gallery & Performing Arts Center.

This event was truly for students, by students. My students paved the way by doing many different tasks such as: creating their own original dances, artwork and event program, assembling a band and seeking out the assistance of their music teacher Ms. Karin Hui, dedicating their after school, recess and lunch times for rehearsing and setting up and making this event an incredible success. 

Student artwork included: a huge painting, photography, visual art in English & French, masks, poems and wordle display that reads “hello” in all the languages that my students speak. 

Performances included: dances by the grade 3s and 6s and Grade 6 student band who rehearsed and performed an instrumental version of Bob Marley’s “One Love”.

Below is a virtual tour of the space:

My students as well as the rest of the student body from grades 1-8, could not stop talking about the day and a half long event! We have received sincere and heartfelt feedback from students who say how their performances have touched them deeply and even brought them to tears! I am so unbelievably proud of my students and really recommend that other teachers try out a similar event with their own class!
Thanks for stopping by! :)


  1. Amy, thanks for sharing and your students created a wonderful project. I think we forget that often many students can best express their "voice" through the Arts. As "creators", the artists invites the viewer to relate to a piece "of their (the artist's) story". Viewers can then connect, relate and question their own stories and perspectives. Projects like this also foster collaboration, which can only happen, when all voices are included, ideas are shared honestly and people (students) realize how much more they can achieve together than alone. Inclusion and belonging to me is that value which says; I matter, my story matters, what I create matters and I invite you (the audience or my peers) to partake in in what I have created. Well done, would love to know more about the organization of such an undertaking. Cheers
    Jim Reilly

    1. Wow! Thank you so much Jim for such kind words and expressing the need for these kind of activities to engage our students and let them find their voice! Feel free to connect w/ me to talk more abt it!