How can middle school students use the arts to transform knowledge into social action and be empowered to act as educators for younger generations?
Project or Program Summary
Please provide a summary of the project/program as demonstrated in the case study: 
Beyond Recycling gave students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to create and develop an original musical theater piece for younger students about creating a sustainable earth. Zachary Green, the lead teaching artists for the project, used the creative process of script and song writing to empower and educate 6th, 7th & 8th grade students at Academy 1 Middle School around the concept of "the commons; those things upon which we all depend and for which we are all responsible". At the end of the residency, the students performed their work as a staged reading for a younger audience from a visiting elementary school.
Portfolio Purpose and Rational
Portfolio Purpose and Rationale: Why has this case study been submitted?: 
This project is a great example of how the arts can support in-depth learning. Students used script and song writing as a mode of learning that addressed the complexity of current social, economic and environmental issues. This learning was then reinforced through application as they presented the information to younger audience in the form of a stage reading.
Overall Conclusions
What are your overall conclusions regarding the documentation gathered for this case study?: 
Although hesitant in the beginning, students participating in the project became actively engaged in the process of developing a work of art with a social message. Students took great care when crafting their scripts and songs, paying particular attention to how they would be viewed by a younger audience at the final presentation. Students relished in their roles as artists, educators and activists.
Assessment Conclusions
What conclusions have you drawn from the responses to the assessment tools you have developed?: 
Students responded positively to the new process of thinking introduced through this project. Mind Mapping, a visual brainstorming technique used during the residency to organize student thoughts, and writing from multiple perspectives were applied when developing the scripts and songs. These techniques made it easier for students to relate to the concept of "the commons" on a personal level, and as a result of this, they became more invested in their task to educate younger students about the issue.
Answering the Inquiry Question
Back to the initial inquiry question, can it be answered?: 
The arts can give students a voice to deliver a social message to the world. Students participating in this residency emerged with a deeper understanding of the unique and effective power the arts have to transform knowledge into social action. Students were deeply invested in this project because it had direct and actionable outcomes for their community.
Conclusions: What Was Learned
What was learned?: 
This project was successful because it offered a multi-disciplinary and collaborative working environment for its participating students. It also provided students the chance to not only learn about an issue that affected them all, but to use the arts to take steps towards addressing that issue in their lives in and outside of school. Most importantly, students felt ownership towards the project because of their responsibility to educate and inspire younger students to take action.
Conclusions: What Can Be Done Differently In The Future
What can be done differently in the future?: 
Time was an issue for this project, especially since script writing and development took up more than that originally expected. In the future, more days will be provided for the project and more time allotted for each session.
Conclusions: How Will This Inform The Work Moving Forward
How will this inform the work moving forward?: 
At the moment, we are in the planning stages to offer Beyond Recycling as part of our regular artist-in-residence programs. The conclusions drawn from this project will also be applied to new and existing programs that we offer to middle school students.
Core Content Standards
Key Ideas and Details
Craft and Structure
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Text Types and Purposes
Production and Distribution of Writing
Speaking and Listening: 
Comprehension and Collaboration
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Conventions of Standard English
Knowledge of Language
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
Science / Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices: 
Engaging in argument from evidence
Science / Dimension 3: Core Ideas In Four Disciplinary Areas / Earth and Space Sciences: 
Earth and human activity
21st Century Learning Skills
Global Awareness
Civic Literacy
Environmental Literacy
Learning and Innovation / Creativity and Innovation: 
Think Creatively
Work Creatively with Others
Learning and Innovation / Communication and Collaboration: 
Communicate Clearly
Collaborate with Others
Life and Career / Flexibility and Adaptability: 
Adapt to Change
Be Flexible
Life and Career / Initiative and Self-Direction: 
Manage Goals and Time
Work Independently
Be Self-directed Learners
Life and Career / Social and Cross-Cultural : 
Interact Effectively with Others
Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
National Core Arts Standards
National Core Arts Standards: 
Local Standards
Describe Any Local Standards Met By The Program: 
NJSCCC Arts Standards: Standard 1.1 The Creative Process: All students will demonstrate an understanding of the elements and principles that govern the creation of works of art in dance, music, theatre, and visual art Standard 1.3 Performing: All students will synthesize skills, media, methods, and technologies that are appropriate to creating, performing, and/or presenting works of art in dance, music, theatre, and visual art.
Project Summary
Visual Arts
Multidisciplinary Arts
Language Arts
Institutional Overview
Young Audiences New Jersey
200 Forrestal Road
08540 Princeton , NJ
United States
New Jersey US
School District(s)
Jersey City Public Schools Jersey City , NJ
United States
New Jersey US
Academy 1 Middle School
209 Bergen Avenue
07305 Jersey City , NJ
United States
New Jersey US
Warren Gramm
Subject Taught: 
Teaching Artist(s)
Zachary Green
Artist Field(s): 
Music, Theatre, Visual Arts