Teaching Artist

INTERACTIVE CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Spencer will visit special education and inclusive classrooms (upper elementary, middle and lower secondary levels) for 50-minute interactive activities. Students will learn one or two simple magic tricks designed to improve cognitive, motor, communication, and social skills while developing creativity. Each activity was developed in alignment with Common Core Standards of Learning.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING

Spencer offers several Professional Development training programs for general and/or special educators on arts-integration in the classroom. Topics include:

Special Education & Arts Integration: The IDEA legislation mandates that students must be educated in the “least restrictive environment.” However, according to a study released in 2015 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, almost half of all teacher preparation programs do not mandate field experience with special education students; consequently, few general education teachers are prepared to work with the students they will inevitably have in their classrooms. It is critical that children with special needs aren’t simply “present” in the classroom but are actively “included” in the learning experience. This workshop will focus on arts-integrated teaching methods that are applicable to general and special education students to meet a wide variety of cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and behavior challenges in multiple settings. 

Teach Like A Magician: This highly interactive workshop provides teachers with the tools and knowledge necessary to increase student engagement, boost creativity in the classroom, and transform their life as an educator. In these challenging and changing times, students need leaders who are willing to venture forward and explore new frontiers that will spark and kindle the flame of creativity and imagination. 

Autism & Arts Integration: Many teachers are keenly aware of an increase in the number of students with autism spectrum disorders in their classrooms. In this session, participants explore questions about what autism is, how it affects people, and how some strategies are utilized to help students with autism learn through the arts. Spencer will address the impact the arts can have on motor skills, communication, emotional/behavior, socialization, sensory challenges, cognitive processes and executive function when working with students with autism/ADHD and offers practical suggestions for teachers to use.

Magic in the Classroom: Phenomenon-Based Learning is a pedagogy in which the student’s own curiosity becomes the driver for learning. The student explores, not from the point of view of trudging through a project or problem, but as a result of seeing some interesting phenomenon and wanting to understand what is going on. This works because interest and enthusiasm do not result from the content alone; they come from the students themselves as they discover more about the phenomenon. In this workshop, the art of illusion is the discipline, the “phenomenon” to which students are exposed. Through the exploration of the methods used to execute a magic trick, students are given the opportunity and encouraged to participate in the productive exchange of ideas associated with the trick. Because magic taps into the natural curiosity of people, this project has the potential to capture the shared interests of all participants and actively engage them in producing, creating, experimenting, and designing as materials and methods used in the trick are manipulated and changed.

STEAM & Phenomenon-based Learning: This workshop is centered on the advancement of next generation learning (NGL) and 21st century skills. Well-prepared teachers are essential to the successful implementation of Next Generation Learning that draws upon recent findings in how children learn best – phenomenon-based learning that is creative and collaborative. This workshop will focus on (1) defining the concept of “phenomenon-based learning,” (2) exploring the connections between Phenomenon-based Learning, State Education Standards, and/or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), (3) providing teacher training on designing authentic learning experiences for students using PBL concepts, (4) examining the effects of cooperative learning groups that embrace diversity in learners and, (5) implementing engaging activities that illustrate science, language arts, and math concepts through an arts-integrated approach (STEAM).

AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS

“Magic Camp” combines learning magic tricks with storytelling, music, theatre, and creative movement. Through the art of magic, “campers” explore their curiosity, develop their magical creativity, and discover new confidence. And when camp is over, the students perform a live magic show for family and friends that will surely baffle and amaze them! This is limited to 20 students and is held for two hours after school each day.

INTERACTIVE UNIVERSITY CLASSROOM PRESENTATIONS

Spencer is faculty in the special education department of Carlow University (PA) where he teaches a course on the intersection of the arts and special education. He also is one of a select few to have the Approved Provider Status of the American Occupational Therapy Association. He brings valuable experience and expertise to discussions relating to the impact and benefits of arts integration in:

  • Education
  • Special Education
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Sciences

SENSORY-FRIENDLY RELAXED FAMILY PERFORMANCES

For more than 20 years, Spencer toured internationally in the performing arts arena. He gained a reputation of professionalism and unparalleled quality in the industry. Today, he offers a family and sensory friendly performance suitable for audiences of all ages. Its uncomplicated production values make it technically trouble-free delivering an impressive performance that is also affordable.