A wealth of resources

19 January 2021

Our ISTA community is a talented bunch and some have created some stunning websites to share with their fellow theatre teachers and practitioners. This month we celebrate the wonderful theatre websites that have been created by our community members.


Ian BakerISTA school member teacher at King George V School, Hong Kong

Website: www.theatreroomasia.com

I started this website as a way of sharing resources and ideas with my IB students. My friend La Mor had started something similar (www.ibtheatrereadingroom.wordpress.com) and I was inspired by her. It became very wide-ranging over time and I really enjoyed the weekly research and trawl through all things theatre around the world.

The site is for everyone – anyone with an interest in theatre. I try to signpost where material might be directly relevant to IB Theatre and I try to use language that addresses that audience. I also wanted to provoke discussion with my students, which is why some of the entries are simply just curation of material. The search facility works well and I rely on that a lot.

I haven’t added to it for a considerable while but I do know what is there remains useful. My students use it all the time. It has become a curated resource bank effectively. I simply stopped adding to it because it became an obsession and I found myself losing my weekends to it entirely!


Kieran BurgessISTA artist

Website: www.kpburgess.com

What this site contains:
• Resources for students and teachers of IB DP Theatre.
• Top tips for the delivery, planning and assessment tasks in IB Theatre.

I created the site partly because I was creating resources for workshops and my own students and so why not share? And partly because when I run workshops in other schools (remember those days?!) I would often be asked to share the resources that we used to launch practical work and so it made sense to pre-empt the request. As an examiner for DP Theatre I was seeing some common pitfalls over and over again and I know many teachers don’t always know where to find the subject reports so I wanted to try and help improve the quality of student work in any small way I could.

The resources are really aimed at students and teachers both – some support the practical workshops and some are standalone. I’ve been lucky enough to work with and meet some amazing artists through ISTA and so I try to bounce off collaborations where I can. The education pack I created for Ad Infinitum theatre company is an example of where I saw an opportunity for both students and teachers to access research that directly responds to the requirements of the course, whilst also engaging with an amazing group of professional theatre-makers in their own right. I’ll keep adding resources as I create them and as I’m currently piloting the next version of the DP Theatre course I have a bank of resources ready to publish as soon as the new course goes live for all.


Nikki Holdaway – ISTA member teacher at TASIS – England, United Kingdom

Google doc resource site linked here.

I created this list of resources for my students to help save them some precious time in online searches but also to point them towards sites which would truly aid them in their work and understanding. I collected them over a couple of years and still add to it now when I find a helpful resource. I have found these sites helpful so they are great for teachers too. With younger students I tend to be more specific with resources as it can get a bit overwhelming but have definitely used them, particularly with my pre-IB and Acting 2 classes.

I have benefitted over the years from shared resources and links on the IB DP Theatre Facebook group and am more than happy to share the wealth. It is a great support group and a place to get the creative juices flowing.


Fenella KellyISTA Honorary Life Member and artist

Website: www.oxfordstudycourses.com/author/fenella_kelly

I was asked to write the blog by Oxford Study Course to help teachers and students with their coursework and assessment. The website and blog is a useful resource for teachers and students, particularly when looking for ideas for classwork or guidelines for assessment tasks in IB Theatre (as well as other IB subjects).


Gretchen Nordleaf-NelsonISTA individual member teacher, United States of America

Website: www.wsaibtheatre.org

What this site contains:
• Many fantastic links and resources for DP Theatre students and teachers.
• Teacher resources.
• A list of professional theatre companies and links.
• Example student work.

 

It’s all about the journey… After attending my first IBDP Theatre training seven years ago I discovered that one of my classmates, Jeff Redman, had created an IB Theatre site for his students. I thought ‘What a brilliant idea!’ I created my website initially with my students in mind. I wanted to make all of the assessment pieces accessible to them in a clear and manageable way so they could refer to them whenever they needed to.

Students and teachers will benefit from the Libguides on the site… As I moved through my first year of teaching the IB Theatre curriculum I discovered that finding resources was very challenging for my students and for myself. So I sat down with our librarian and we brainstormed how we could create a hub for resources and ways to think about accessing academic sources. We didn’t want to do the work for the students – our goal was to make the journey more accessible. So my librarian designed LibGuides for each assessment with my help of supplying the IB Theatre guide suggestions. The LibGuides are an incredible resource and they can be found on their own page on the website or at the bottom of each assessment page. Teachers and students will find these resources a hive of information.

Student work… I chose to post my student’s website pages on the site because I think it is important for students to share their journey and their ideas responsibly. Most of the time knowing that their process journals are being published online pushes them to do their best work – which is to explain their process. For the most part the students do an admirable job most of the time but not all of the time.

On this journey with IB Theatre the students and I have discovered that their websites and the individual pages for each assessment also makes it easier for them to organize their work and their journals. A happy accident – the student journals on their websites makes reading their journals easier for me. Someone asked me ‘aren’t you afraid other students will steal their work?’ I’m not really. If a student does it is their loss and if they use any of the literal text from the journal or process work in their work it will come up in a source check. We learned that the first year when students put their assessments through Grammarly – they came up at 90% unoriginal text because it all sourced to their own websites.

Teacher resources… About three years ago teachers started contacting me asking me questions about what I do in my classroom and through those conversations I created the Teacher Resource page. I’ve posted some of my classroom ideas, ideas I’ve learned at workshops and resources from other teachers. When I find a resource that I think is amazing and useful I contact the author/teacher and ask if I can post their template or powerpoint on the page with author credit given.

Since the site was created with IBDP Theatre assessments in mind, the people who will most benefit from the site are IBDP Theatre students years 1 and 2 and teachers of that curriculum.

What’s coming in the future… I’ve been attending a plethora of ISTA workshops to help in my teaching theatre and IB Theatre in the virtual classroom. I will be creating materials for the Teacher Resource page with that focus in mind.


Hannah NorthcottISTA artist and school member at International School of Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Websites
Drama: www.dramayogi.com
Lifestyle : www.wellwomen.me

What these sites contain:
• TEDx video: Awaken the force within: The transformative power of drama
• Drama warm-up videos for your offline or online classroom
• Drama production ideas
• Photo gallery for shows, costume and set inspiration
• Blog with teaching resources and expat lifestyle articles
• Community lifestyle resource on fitness, wellness and sustainable style

Why did you create your site?
‘What show are you doing?’ is possibly the most popular question that drama teachers get. There’s pressure to know what materials are available and relevant for the students that we teach and the community that we serve. Thus I created a place that teachers can visit to get inspiration for shows suitable for young people and a school community. Plus there are short videos of warm-up exercises that teachers can use both in their online and offline classrooms.

After nine years living in China the website has also expanded to include community-building initiatives revolving around fitness, style and women empowerment workshops. We’ve also created another website – www.wellwomen.me with articles to support you to thrive in your international life.

Who would benefit from visiting your site?
Teachers can get inspiration for show titles, set and costume ideas for middle and high school shows. They can also use high-quality videos of kids leading kids for physical theater and vocal warm-ups. Students can access the videos and practice these exercises at home. And artists can pick up tools that they can include in their festival toolbox and arm themselves with strategies that they can use with their ensemble.

If you’re based in China, we have a WeChat group for Beijing-based drama teachers and WellWomen is a WeChat community that provides a space for women to come together to thrive in their international life. We have specialty groups in fitness and wellness, style, planet, home, parenting and serve the community with online and offline events including regular content for your heart, body and mind. Follow WellWomen in WeChat to subscribe.


Keriann O’RourkeISTA staff, Singapore

Website: www.keriannorourke.wixsite.com/ista

What this site contains:
• An example of how I marketed festivals to parents who were new to ISTA when I was a teacher in a school.
• Aimed at festivals for lower primary, primary and middle school events.

Website: www.ppconnect.weebly.com

What this site contains:
• An information site I set up for participants for the Phnom Penh HS Connect festival developed with the host Lizzie Hodge.

 

Website: www.keriann0.wixsite.com/telunas

What this site contains:
• An information site I set up for participants of the Telunas Island middle and high school festivals. These events are unique and required a number of additional details to be shared with participants and artists attending.
• I wanted to create a one-stop place where everyone could find all the information they would need.

 

Why did you create your sites?
Admittedly – I am a bit of a tech nerd. I really love organising details into one-stop places for people to find information and I also love creating dynamic and eye-catching websites. I don’t have training (one day I just decided to give it a try!) but I do enjoy the artistic and logistical creation of things like this. It takes a bit of trial and error and practice at the start – but it is amazing how quickly something so visual can be created.

All of the websites I have developed have served a purpose for me because with creating each site it helped to answer questions in advance and provided a place where parents, teachers and artists could use to find information. The practicality of it is that creating these one-stop places for information has saved me countless emails by providing detailed information from the start and also helped to pique the interest of students and parents when I was first introducing ISTA to a new school community at some of my schools. It was a great way to communicate and as a result parents and students had fewer questions.

Who would benefit from visiting your site?
Any teacher who is hosting an event – either face to face or in an online setting. Creating a website for your event is a great way to ensure that everyone who is attending has the information they need and it is easily accessible and organised. Go digital! For face to face events, depending on the age of participants, websites easily replace any need for printed materials.

I have used website creation tools Wix, Weebly and WordPress to make all of my sites. Both are easy to use, though if you are newer to creating something like this I feel Weebly and WordPress are a bit more user friendly for ‘drag and drop’ website design but I do love the design styles that Wix provides. There are lots of amazing tutorials out there and Facebook groups to offer ideas and support – give it a try and stick with it – the results can be beautiful and make you look like a pro!


Cath RankinISTA artist and school member at International School of Manila, The Philippines

Website: www.crankinblackbox.com

What this site contains:
• Everything from information about ISTA festivals, theatre productions and classroom theatre work and ideas – organised into helpful categories such as practitioners, genres, tech theatre, journals and much more.
• A blog focusing on what is happening in Cath’s theatre classroom.
• Dance resources too!

Why did you create your site?
When I was living in China YouTube was not available for students to access so I started downloading videos that supported what I was doing in the classroom. Then it just grew. I started to use it to help focus students with their research so they weren’t wandering around the internet, especially in the younger years. Now I have been teaching online for over 20 weeks it has become a valuable one-stop-shop to refer students to. I also use it as an extension site so if students are interested in a certain topic they can learn more about it.

Who would benefit from visiting your site?
Students – I have created a section on Practitioners to help the DP Theatre students and there are also sections in Genres relevant to them. There are also lots of resources for younger students.
Teachers – For ideas, inspiration and resources.

I am trying to build in more resources. I like the Peking Opera section with videos and work from my Masters. I would also like people to know I made sure I have permission from students and parents for sharing any images. Other images used are from Creative Commons.