Theater Inspires Lessons Beyond the Stage

“Frog and Toad" was part of a year-long collaboration between the School of Education and the Cardinal Stage Company

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

While the vibrant arts scene in Bloomington gives students a way to enjoy a night at the theater, for a group of School of Education students, the play “Frog and Toad” became more than a place to be entertained. It became another way the arts are bridging traditional subjects and leading to even more opportunities to learn.

“Frog and Toad" was part of a year-long collaboration presented by Gus Weltsek and involved the Arts Education program in the department of Curriculum and Instruction and and the Cardinal Stage Company, a local theater. School of Education graduate Jim Morrison, a fifth grade teacher at the Bloomington Project School and member of the Cardinal Youth Education Board, felt that a collaboration could be formed between School of Education students and the Cardinal’s youth program. As an advocate for live youth theater, Morrison was concerned that all too often teachers viewed going to the theater as nothing more than a field trip, while he knew it was much more.

With the help of Donna Adomat, Associate Professor of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education, IU preservice teachers attended Cardinal's performance of "Frog and Toad" and engaged in a hands-on educational theater workshop that resulted in the creation of lesson plans which crossed the curriculum from math to science. The IU students were treated to a private performance of one of "Frog and Toad's" crucial scenes and an inspiring address on the value of live theater for youth by the Cardinal Stage's Artistic Direct and director of "Frog and Toad" Randy White. The students also had their lesson plans reviewed by a panel of local MCCSC experts. The project was a huge success, and plans are already underway for an expanded event for next semester.