POPS: Resources for Professional Development and Remote Learning in the Arts

Recently, the quick shift to remote learning presented a unique challenge to many educators. Though school may be out for the summer, we know teachers are continuing to work hard, preparing for the unknowns of next year through summer team collaborations, individual development, or lesson planning. POPS (Professional Outreach Program in the Schools) has resources to help prepare for the upcoming school year. There are also great resources available to share with your students during the summer months. 

POPS is a resource managed by the Utah State Board of Education and sponsored by the Utah State Legislature. POPS is designed to connect schools, teachers, students, and administrators with arts education. POPS empowers educators to expand their confidence and capacity in arts education by providing free or subsidized access to high-quality professional development and performance programs, including professional artist visits to schools. Learn more about pops at POPSUTAH.org.

Plan-B Theatre

Due to the recent transition to remote learning, Plan-B Theatre provided a unique, fun, and engaging curriculum that is easily accessible (and free!) on Plan-B Theatre’s remote learning page. These materials apply to a wide range of core standards and easily translate from the classroom to the living room, and back again. Videos of past tour performances (with accompanying study guides) include three plays each for grades K-3 and 4-6. Additionally, a free, downloadable picture book of Plan-B Theatre’s most recent tour, Flora Meets a Bee by Morag Shepherd (K-3), includes a read-aloud video featuring the cast and the playwright.

Ideal for use at home and in classrooms, Playwriting with Young People is a 13-page booklet available online, written by Julie Jensen and illustrated by Andrew Livingston. This resource explores the essentials of playwriting for students in grades K-6, accompanied by video tutorials in both English and Spanish languages.  

You and your children or students can try your hand at radio making at home through Plan-B Theatre’s RADIO SLAM, designed for grades 4-6. An inspiring project teaching participants how to create their own radio play at home, RADIO SLAM pops boredom bubbles and sparks innovation in a socially-distanced living room environment. Kids or adults can listen to four recently premiered episodes to guide them through the process outlined in the study guides that accompany each episode, exploring multiple elements of core curriculum including mental and emotional health, reading, writing, nutrition, and social studies. 

Look for Plan-B Theatre’s 2020-2021 FEST (Free Elementary School Tour) of Presenting: Super Cat and Reptile Robot by Rachel Bublitz, coming to serve and excite students in grades 2-4 at an elementary school near you!

Downloading Plan-B Theatre’s free app enables all users to access tickets, updates, and information about free elementary school tours. 

Spy Hop Art Shop

Explore the Spy Hop and discover a digital media arts center offering in-school and after-school programs, summer camps, youth-in-care and satellite programming for all students who carry aspirations in filmmaking, music, audio production, and design. The Spy Hop Art Shop is an extension of Spy Hop’s POPS curriculum and is available to everyone, providing on-demand video tutorials for hands-on, STEAM-based art projects. Professional artist mentors produce step-by-step videos that show how to make cool stuff! Kids or parents can create just once, or tune in weekly to catch new videos that enable you to make projects with a Sky Hop mentor as your guide. Share your creations with the Spy Hop team via email (artshop@spyhop.org) or tag #spyhopartshop on social media to receive feedback and digital “high-fives.”

Teachers or community members can even schedule a two-day online Zoom and video tutorial intensive workshop sessions for groups of up to ten students in a variety of subject matter. Please email adam@spyhop.org  to schedule a customized online lesson and learn more about ways Spy Hop can serve your classroom. 

For more information about the Spy Hop Art Shop, summer classes for your children or students, and to learn more about Spy Hop’s “Voices of the West,” an online summer program for kids aged 13-19, go to www.spyhop.org.

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company

If you’re a classroom teacher or dance educator from any public or charter school in Utah, you can enjoy the many benefits of Ririe-Woodbury’s live-stream sessions. The specific date, time and content can be tailored to each classroom’s particular needs: the company can schedule a convenient time to conduct a creative movement class, have a dance party, or set up a shared movement practice with students–these dance professionals will help create a unique and memorable dance experience for your students. These free classes are available on either Zoom or WebEx. Please contact the Ririe-Woodbury Education Director, Ai Fujii Nelson, at education@ririewoodbury.com

While planning for the upcoming school year, teachers can access many other online lessons and remote learning-related resources here. Some Spanish versions and audio versions of lessons are also available. 

We believe that all teachers are artists: we hope these ideas inspire you to explore and use the many and varied resources offered by POPS as you bring art making to your classroom. Art will add depth to your teaching and create fun, new, and engaging learning experiences for your students. Check out the POPS website, and watch for our next blog post to learn about more amazing POPS resources and opportunities. 

Laura Giles is a lover of all things art, a first-grade teacher in Alpine School District, a writer for The Daily Herald newspaper, an Arts Leadership Academy graduate and has earned the Arts Integration Endorsement from Brigham Young University. She can be reached at LauraCGiles@gmail.com

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