Learning Goals for Different Grades

  • With a first-grade class, George E. Jackson, III, stresses basic physical coordination, using activities in rhythm, movement, and stretching to help students develop essential motor skills and learn to work together as a team.
  • With a fourth-grade class, Jackson rehearses an original play about Barney Ford, the former slave for whom the school is named, who became a successful business and political figure. Jackson uses “reader’s theatre,” which focuses on dialogue rather than stagecraft to establish character and move the plot forward. Through this exercise, children polish their skills in reading, projection, and stage presence along with basic proficiencies such as paying attention and sitting still.
  • Fifth-graders work with Jackson to create original masks, inspired by the work of Harlem Renaissance poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Inside each mask, students paste words that describe their inner characters. Then they paint the outside to reflect what they believe the world sees. Variety in techniques and approaches is important to Jackson. “I want to expose them to different things so they can decide what they like,” he says.