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Students at Ben Bronz Academy in West Hartford Dive into Literature and Theater

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Activities during research week at Ben Bronz Academy in West Hartford included a Shakespearean workshop.

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Students at Ben Bronz Academy immersed themselves in the world of writing and theater for as part of an intensive research weeklong project in mid-December.

During “Research Week,” things were a little different at Ben Bronz Academy as class schedules were set aside and students were found working in various groups outside the classroom. Mediators (teachers) and students alike were immersed in a lecture by a famous author, participated in writer’s workshops, attended a play, and participated in a Shakespearean workshop. Research week is an intensive week where students forego their regular schedules and immerse themselves in a real-life research project centered around a theme, which this year was literature and theater.

At Ben Bronz Academy, a State of Connecticut approved special education private day-school, students learn differently due to learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism Disorders and Executive Functioning Disorder. Students spend their time at Ben Bronz Academy remediating academic skills so that they can return to their public schools with the skills and strategies necessary for them to be successful in their learning. Instruction at the school focuses on planning, problem solving, communication and self-advocacy. Research week allows students to apply these skills in a real-life situation – an academic project. 

“We are both passionate about literature and wanted to build a Research Week that would ignite all of our student’s curiosity and joy for literacy,” said mediators Monique Marcantonio and Kerry August. “Reading and writing can present difficulties for our students and we want to show them how fun and rewarding it can be.”

Activities involving literature and theater this year included a visit from two authors – Daryl Cobb and Suzy Kline. Cobb is a children’s author and educational performer, and his live performance captivated the students as he used performance, music and interactive activities to teach about writing.

Kline, a Connecticut author and creator of the famous “Horrible Harry” series, came to speak to the students about being an author and the inspiration for her books. Students were able to read her books and apply new and creative strategies that they learned from her workshop.

I liked Research Week! We had a lot of positive moments as a team. The hard work paid off,” said grade 5 student David Root. 

In addition to the author visits, Ben Bronz Academy students had the opportunity to partake in a field trip to see “A Christmas Carol” at the Hartford Stage and also interact with Shakesperience Productions, a professional theater company that offered a Shakespearean workshop. 

After studying famous poets, poems and short stories, each student composed a writing piece and prepared a presentation. The week culminated with a Writer’s Café and Book Bistro where students presented their work to families, alumni, peers, board members, and staff. 

“I enjoyed the writing part. It got me thinking. It really opened up my mind,” said 11th grader Jenny Peck. “There are so many amazing small moments in our lives. It got me thinking about my reading. It was something I struggled with before I got here and now I just can’t wait to read! I wrote a poem about a butterfly. I drew a butterfly and on one side was what I had before. In the middle was my change and the other side is what I’m doing now. I’m confident!”

Ben Bronz Foundation, Inc. is the parent organization of Ben Bronz Academy and The Learning Incentive.  

If you are interested in learning more about Ben Bronz Foundation, Inc. and our programs, Ben Bronz Academy and The Learning Incentive, please visit our websites: www.benbronzfoundation.org or www.benbronzacademy.org or contact Executive Director Kim Holley at 860-236-5807 or [email protected].

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