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Free teacher workshop on Latin American Folktales set for Feb. 1 at Mansfield Art Center
Free teacher workshop on Latin American Folktales set for Feb. 1 at Mansfield Art Center avatar

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MANSFIELD — The Mansfield site of the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program will offer a professional development workshop, Exploring Latin American Culture Through Animal Folktales, for teachers on Thursday, Feb. 1 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In this workshop, participants explore ways to help students enhance their understanding of human relationships, cultural similarities and differences, and develop their oral communication skills by telling folktales. Teachers examine how to choose appropriate folktales, help students bring the story to life using voice and body, and invite listeners’ participation to enhance the story’s effectiveness.

Presented by Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Felix Pitre, this professional development workshop is geared towards educators and administrators who are interested in using the arts as a teaching tool, and will be most beneficial for teachers of grades K-6.

The workshop will take place at the Mansfield Art Center from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 and dinner is included. Participants will receive up to three contact hours for professional development credit.

There is no fee to attend thanks to the generous sponsorship of Charles P. Hahn of Cleveland Financial Group and additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Registration for the educator workshop is available online at www.folktales.eventbrite.com.

Felix Pitre is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist who found his way there as a performer of bilingual programs. A Nuyorican, credits his career to the life-changing education he received at the original Performing Arts High School. Born in Cataño, a small village across the bay from San Juan, he arrived in New York City at the age of two, attended public schools, and received his B.A. in theatre from Hofstra University.

After working as an actor in theatre, film, and TV, he created a performance called Stories and Songs of Latin America, using his grandfather’s stories and songs heard growing up in a multicultural family. The demand for the program led to performances throughout the country, from the Kennedy Center and Smithsonian to classrooms, libraries, museums, and festivals.

Two of his stories, Juan Bobo and the Pig, and Paco and the Witch, became picture books and his signature program, Stories and Songs of Latin America, is now a CD. His workshop, Exploring Latin American Culture Through Animal Folktales, is a product of his experiences as a performer/educator, and training in the Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program at the Kennedy Center.

Mansfield was selected in 2010 to join the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in its Partners in Education program. Mansfield is one of approximately 100 sites across the country in the program. For more information on these or other Renaissance Education programs, contact the Education Department at 419-522-2726 ext. 251 orvisit www.mansfieldtickets.com.

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