McCaslin-Inspired Movement with Poetry

Movements for Valerie Worth's Poem, Grass 0 01 42-33

When I shared this short video with some colleagues in a class I’m taking, one kind teacher said that this reminded her of the approach advocated by Nellie McCaslin.  Here is a link to an article about McCaslin and her work.  My favorite paragraph reads, “Though drama by and for children is considered a ghetto by many theater professionals, to Dr. McCaslin it was a serious artistic enterprise. Theater, she wrote in a 1990 article, ‘is finding recognition as an art that contributes to the emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.”

The video is of some students working on movements to go with the poem, Grass by Valerie Worth.  Only part of the class was able to participate, and the next day the students wrote open-ended reading responses to the poem.  While I have not yet scored each student’s work on a rubric and compared results between the students who moved and who did not, it was my observation that students who participated in the movement seemed to write more energetically, filling the page easily with questions, connections and wonderings.

Dr. Nellie McCaslin, pioneer of drama by and for children

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