PSU Integrated Arts Conference held January 24

PLYMOUTH — The 19th annual Integrated Arts Conference presented by Plymouth State University's Educational Theatre Collaborative (ETC) moves to Friday this year and uses the Common Core and the new National Core Standards as its theme.

The day of workshops and presentations will be held January 24, 2014 at the Silver Center for the Arts on the PSU campus. The conference is presented in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Education, with support from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Arts Learning Network. The conference is one of five aspects of ETC's 2014 initiative, culminating with a full-scale production of Oliver! January 22-26 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center.

Elementary school teacher and integrated arts graduate student Kirsten Mohring says an education rich in the arts enhances cognitive development and student performance. "It creates a multi-sensory, integrative environment that fosters higher-order thinking skills and the essential qualities needed for the 21st century student. With the arts we can teach students to think outside the box and not be defined by it."

After a welcome by ETC co-founder and creative director Trish Lindberg, PSU Professor of Health and Human Performance Irene Cucina will share her ideas about how the arts can be the impetus to improve academic success. Marcia McCaffrey, N.H. Department of Education arts consultant and facilitator for the National Coalition for Core Standards will follow with a broad overview of the new National Core Arts Standards. McCaffrey says the conference "is a great opportunity to learn about, imagine and inform the possibilities for the future of arts learning in New Hampshire."

Breakout sessions with concurrent workshops will be held from 10-10:55 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.-12:30 p.m. In session one, topics include exploring the new National Core Arts Standards and building understanding for the Common Core, presented by McCaffrey and Lyn Ward Healy.

Session two topics investigate what can be done with the Common Core in workshops such as Connecting Oliver to Social Class; Common Core Standards and Core Competencies for Dance and Theater; Unlocking the Heart, the Hands and the Mind; Pip, Pip, Cheerio—the Arts of the Times and Using Oliver! as a Gateway to History and the Common Core.

After lunch at the University dining hall, 2013 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Heidi Welch will talk about why the heart needs the arts. Welch has taught music in New Hampshire since 1996. She has presented workshops in the areas of assessment and music electives, and holds a master's degree in education focusing on instruction and curriculum.

At 2 p.m. PSU's award-winning professional educational theater troupe, TIGER (Theatre Integrating Guidance, Education and Responsibility), will perform Bully-Free You and Me. This new TIGER production integrates research on the importance of educating bystanders about the powerful role they play in helping to stop bullying behavior in schools.

Conference participants will have an opportunity to "construct and reflect" in a post-performance discussion with presenters beginning at 2:45 p.m. and to create a Reflection Quilt with Lindberg and Kirsten Mohring at 3:15 p.m. A Conversation Café opens at 4 p.m. with light refreshments, music and an opportunity for networking, followed by a wrap-up session ending at 5 p.m. during which participants can share final thoughts.

The registration fee of $115 includes the full-day conference, a staff development certificate, lunch, refreshments, an electronic teacher resource book, and a ticket to Oliver! Cost is $95 without performance.

Registration is available online at For information or to register by telephone, call Deb Stalnaker at (603) 535-2933.