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Masks help kids prep for 'Shrek'

Staff Writer | April 7, 2010 9:00 PM


Zach Sensel, 9, relaxes as he has his mask molded to his face and Rikki Hickman, 11, cuts fabric for her mask.

COEUR d'ALENE - Cassidee Jacobs inspected a freshly molded, unpainted cast of her face on Tuesday at Bryan Elementary School.

"This is what I look like," the 11-year-old said with a hint of wonder in her voice.

Cassidee is one of 14 third- through fifth-grade students participating in the Readers Theatre after-school club at Bryan.

With University of Idaho elementary education students as their guides, young club members made masks Tuesday.

"We did them on ourselves a few weeks ago," said University of Idaho student Alexis Wood.

The university students have been working with the elementary school students since January, playing theater games and reading scripts.

Now the kids are preparing to perform their own versions of "Shrek."

They have already written their scripts, and once the masks are complete, the university students will help the elementary school children create original music and dance routines.

"This is really cool," said Abby VanDuyne, 10. "It's really fun. I like the acting."

The club provides a learning experience that spans several educational levels.

While the elementary students are working on their writing, reading and critical thinking skills, the University of Idaho education students are learning how to integrate the arts into the classroom.

"This makes it fun for them," said University of Idaho student Teresa Kennard.

For the future teachers, it's also a lesson in how to be "guides on the side" as their young charges express themselves creatively.

Another group of University of Idaho students will be making masks later this week with a Readers Theatre club at Seltice Elementary School in Post Falls.

In May, the groups will present their final creations to friends, family, other students on stage. Show times will be announced at a later date.

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