Culminating Events: Options for Sharing and Student Roles

Provide opportunities for everyone to shine at the end of a residency by creating culminating events or products that are co-designed with students.

Culminating Events: Options for Sharing and Student Roles
  • Wrapping Up & Reflecting
  • Practical Tips & Accommodations

Culminating Events: Options for Sharing and Student Roles

Try This Flag Try

Plan roles in advance–or identify ways roles may need to shift during rehearsals and test runs. This will help students feel comfortable in and proud of the roles they’re playing.

Try This Flag Try

For staged performances, a student who is uncomfortable in the spotlight might excel at offstage narration–or as the voice for a larger-than-life character. Scene partners and line buddies can also help!

 Learn

Culminating events can be open to others (friends, family, school community, etc.) or they can include just the classroom community. Sharing work with peers, looking at pictures from the residency, or playing a fun game to demonstrate learning can be meaningful, low-pressure culminating events.

Collaborating With Students to Create the Culminating Event

  • If possible, have a conversation with Classroom Professionals to discuss goals, expectations, questions, and concerns they have.
  • Connect with your organization about their expectations and contributions.
  • Make a plan for logistics that need to be addressed and who will manage what pieces (e.g. budget, location, time and date, invitations, space, equipment, etc.).

  • Discuss the initial idea of the culminating event with students and ask for their input. Ask students and Classroom Professionals how they would like to be involved and what they would like to contribute—you may learn about a hidden talent!
  • Ask for Classroom Professionals to help determine how students will contribute. Emphasize that everyone’s participation is crucial for a successful culminating event/project.
  • Document the conversation/share-back in a way that you find helpful.

  • Students may need to put finishing touches on their work, rehearse and/or prepare supplemental pieces for the culminating event/project.
  • Establish a clear timeline for this work.
  • Build collaboration and excitement by creating a chart or visual of the timeline and how everyone is involved.

  • Consider having a few students talk through the creative process that resulted in the work being shared.
  • Create opportunities for guests to participate in rituals, warm-ups, or games from the residency. You may even have students who are interested in stepping up to the plate as facilitators!
  • Invite guests to ask questions and provide positive feedback.

Remote Teaching and Learning Tip:

Consider having students submit their performances as videos, then put these together as a compilation that feels like a performance. Remote learning settings (both synchronous and asynchronous) provide a great opportunity to bring in parents/guardians, siblings, etc. as performers, audience members, and participants.

Culminating Event and Role Ideas

Theater, Dance, Music, Spoken Word

  • Performer (and support ideas)
  • Chorus Member
  • Musician/Dancer
  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Audience Support/Ushers
  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Documentarian
  • Front Stage/Backstage Crew

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Scene Partner
  • Cue Card Holder
  • Line Buddy
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documentarian
  • Sensory Space Host

Visual Art & Media Arts

  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Audience Support/Ushers
  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Documentarian

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documenter
  • Sensory Space Host

  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Audience Support/Ushers
  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Documentarian

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documentarian
  • Sensory Space Host

Written and/or Visual Work

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Writer
  • Editor/Assistant Editor
  • Illustrator

  • Editor
  • Designer
  • Printer

You can film students throughout the residency, compile and edit the video and have a viewing party for the class on the last day of the residency.

All Art Forms

 

If inviting outside guests, students can take on the following roles:

  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Audience Support/Ushers

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documentarian
  • Sensory Space Host

Invite outside artists to perform work written/created by the students.

All Art Forms

 

  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Audience Support/Ushers
  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Documentarian
  • Front Stage/Backstage Crew

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documentarian
  • Sensory Space Host

Have students teach a workshop to younger students.

All Art Forms

  • Facilitator
  • Model Participant
  • Stage/Event Manager
  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Documentarian

  • Co-curator/Assistant Director
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Documentarian
  • Sensory Space Host
  • Model Participant

Host a game with Jeopardy-style questions. Ask the class about what they’ve learned, and have them answer verbally, visually or modeling in another way.

All Art Forms

This kind of culminating event/project is intentionally light in terms of student roles as they will engage primarily as game show participants. Students can be involved on the day of in the following ways:

  • Documentarian
  • Production Crew (various roles)
  • Cue Card Holder

Classroom Professionals can also contribute a “Grand Prize” in the form of a treat or another reward. They can also help to make the game board/slides.

  • Narrator/MC/Host
  • Sensory Space Host

Students who are well-organized can support by watching the clock and checking things off the to-do list. They can update the task schedule leading up to the culminating event/project and help keep the class following the agenda on the day.

For students who are sociable but not interested in being in the spotlight and who feel more comfortable staying in one space during the event, they can collaborate by greeting guests, handing out programs, distributing snacks, making signage such as direction arrows for the restroom(s), managing traffic flow and directing guests to their seats. They can also manage the audience volume and level of engagement by kindly asking audience members to silence phones and keep the volume down.

Students who communicate non-verbally may enjoy working closely with a Classroom Professional on selecting the content for the culminating event/project: songs written, play performed, drawings made, choreographies, poems crafted, drum solos played, etc.

During your time together, you may identify students with a strong sense of observation who could focus on documentation. This is a great opportunity for students who have one-on-one time with a para. They can photograph the class while working, they can record audio snippets, take video and even live sketch. Students can work directly with the teachers or the para to decide how the above documentation can be incorporated into the culminating event/project, and the students selected as the Documentarian(s) can document the final pieces which will be presented. Documentation can keep students who prefer to be behind the scenes engaged during the residency and culminating event/project.

There may be some students who are shy about sharing their work but are not necessarily shy on the mic. Have them MC the show, host the party, or narrate the play. Also consider an offstage speaking role for a larger-than-life character (e.g. a giant, a ghost, the voice of a puppet that’s being manipulated onstage, etc.). This voice will move the story and event forward!

Inviting students to facilitate parts of opening rituals, warm-ups, and activities during the culminating event, can be a wonderful form of reflection and celebration. Student facilitators can lead audience members or other students, depending on the format of the event.

If during your final event, the class is leading the audience through any opening rituals, warm-ups, and activities, students can play the role of model participant by helping to direct energy and attention toward the facilitators and by engaging enthusiastically so that audience members feel welcomed into and supported in the experience.

Students may support adults in setting up sound/tech equipment; facilitating sound and mic checks; starting/ending a slide show or music when prompted; and controlling the lights. These students can also help in creating special effects with light and shadow, and/or sound effects with their voices, bodies, and objects (e.g. stomping for thunder, rice for rain, etc.).

Kinesthetic learners may be tasked with how artwork is to be displayed; for example, they can help to hang 2D work and mount 3D work. They can also provide support for physical tasks like holding a chair/ladder in place, using a tape measure, moving tables and chairs and having tools handy/organized for use with adult supervision. They can also be in charge of decorating the space.

Adults in the room, and/or students who are working with the support of an adult, can serve as hosts in the sensory space, helping cast and audience members navigate the space as needed during the culminating event.

This area can be a good opportunity for students who enjoy visual arts or working with their hands/bodies. If you have discovered a doodler in class, you can ask them to doodle some costume ideas. If a student has shown interest in using their hands to build and is drawn to 3-dimensional objects, ask them to make some props. A group of students can also collaborate with the TA(s) to create scenery—which can be simple (a few scene-setting elements) or extravagant (a mural backdrop).

Front Stage crew can focus on keeping the performance space tidy, making scenery changes, and helping prompt performers: sitting in front to demo dances, holding cue cards, directing, being “on book” in case a student forgets a line and needs help, etc.

Backstage crew can help performers with changing costumes, and hair/makeup; moving sets, furniture and props; and curtain opening/closing.

Maybe there’s an off-stage band! Add a drum beat, some shakers or any other instruments the students know how to play.

Performance Tips

Think about Placement

Is there a spot onstage that would best support performers? Maybe front and center isn’t the most conducive to their success. Perhaps they would feel more comfortable on the side of the stage close to an adult and/or exit. Maybe they could be down in front of the stage (if you have a raised stage) so they can be closer to the adults in the front row.

Video Component

Is there anything from your show that could be shot ahead of time? Perhaps one of the characters appears on a screen (i.e. Could Mufasa’s ghost be a projection?), or maybe there’s a commercial you could make for the show to use as a transition. If students get stage fright, it can be much more comfortable to film something in the classroom and watch themselves during the show, than have to perform live on stage.

Help non-verbal students to program dialogue into their devices and hold the speakers near a microphone. Alternatively, you might print large dialogue/lyric signs they could hold up during their lines or songs.

Hold up cards with dialogue, lyrics, directions, both written and visual. For example, if you need a certain actor to come down to the mic, you might print out a picture of that student.

A student or staff member can stand behind or next an actor to say their lines quietly for the actor to repeat. You can even make it theatrical by writing in an assistant role: maybe the Queen has a butler, or the Diva has a stage mom, etc. The Line Buddy can prompt lines by saying the full line and having the actor repeat it; providing an intraverbal, such as the first part of the line that the actor can fill in; and by asking questions that prompt the line. Line Buddies can also use non-verbal cues to help their partners.

You can create roles that supports students speaking/singing as a group, such as the Hyenas in The Lion King.

Classroom Professionals can perform alongside students to support memory, ease stage fright, and maintain the flow of the performance. This can also be a role for student who can act as a great role model, knows the lyrics/lines, is giving it their 100%, and is actively working to make sure their scene partner does well!

For dance performances, place adult partners at the edges of the dance line so that they can model choreography and not take the focus away from the students.

Students and adults can provide support by leading other students with hand-over-hand assistance. For adults working with elementary students, try having the adults sit on chairs/benches behind the students so that everyone is at the same height level.

Have students who enjoy writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and any other form of literature contribute writing for a final anthology. Students who enjoy writing can also write something to be displayed during the final sharing or to be read aloud (another student can read this piece if the Writer is not comfortable performing/sharing their writing during the culminating event).

If you are creating an anthology, offer the option for students to illustrate their classmates’ work, create the cover design and/or images for the margins.

For students who do not want their final work to appear in an anthology, offer the option to take on the role of Editor: reviewing student work and deciding the order of pieces. The Editor could also write a short introduction to the anthology.

For students who enjoy collage or graphic design, offer the role of Designer to help create the layout of the anthology.

For tech-savvy students, offer the role of Printer. This student can print out students work for the physical pieces for the anthology, or cue cards, or other visuals. Or alternatively they could hand write out anything that is needed.