Getting Ready for the G3 Spotlight!

The Grade 3 How We Express Ourselves Spotlight is coming soon in the first week of March! Students will present their work learning about world dance and music cultures in two shows on Friday, March 8 at 8:15 and 1:15pm in the LLAC Theatre. Parents mark your calendars as you are welcome to attend either performance!

Below are some resources that students can use over the Chinese New Year holiday to keep their performance repertoire fresh!

1. Everyone – Memorize the lyrics to “Love Train” and “Miaweozo”

2. Emcees – Memorize or be super familiar with your lines!

You can find the script for the G3 Spotlight here.

3. Team Ghana – Know your drum/bell/rattle pattern or your dance moves!

You can see a video of a performance similar to the one we’re planning here.

4. Team Indonesia – Know your drum/xylophone/gong pattern. Dancers, start thinking up dance moves.Team Indonesia will add a mini-performance of a folk song “Gunduul” which will involve some mime and singing. If you want to learn the song ahead of time you can learn more here.

If you are a dancer in Indonesia, you will need a long shawl to tie around your waist (for girls) or keep around your shoulders (for boys) for the Spotlight. Even better if the fabric is from Indonesia!! Ms. Benusa has a couple pieces of fabric from Indonesia to loan out to students, but not enough for everyone!

5. Team Canada – Think about how you want to decorate your ugly stick and be familiar with your pattern, jig and song!

Have a great break! See you in the year of the pig!

What’s Happening in LLAC 816!

Happy New Year! It’s great to be back to school after a refreshing holiday. There is a lot of really wonderful learning going on all over the school. Here’s an update on what’s going on in LLAC 816!

Grade 1: Traditional Chinese Instruments

In the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, grade 1 students will learn about the different instruments of the Chinese orchestra. Students will have an opportunity to explore the instruments, their materials and the sounds that they make. Using Chinese percussion instruments, students will study basic rhythmic notation and create repeated patterns to accompany the well-known folk song for Chinese New Year “Gongxi Gongxi.”

Take a look at this video from the After School Chinese Orchestra that explains some of the instruments that we are learning about:

Grade 2: Mime

Our students in Grade 2 are in for a special treat this semester as we host an artist-in-residence, Bill Bowers to our school for two days in February. Bowers is a professional mime and will work with Grade 2 students on how actor’s express an idea, story, or emotion using only one’s body, face, or gesture. Students have really enjoyed a variety of drama games in “sharpening their tools in their actor’s toolbox” in preparation for Bower’s visit.

They’ve also been inspired by this fun look at what mime’s do:

Grade 3: How We Express Ourselves Spotlight

Grade 3 students have been traveling the world and looking at how different cultures express themselves through the arts. They have learned that a country can be different than a culture as some places contain many different types of people and ways of doing things. Students have explored the Ewe culture of Ghana, Javanese culture of Indonesia and the Newfoundland culture of Canada. In their work they have learned that the arts often serves a greater purpose.

Students will present their work in their G3 Spotlight on March 8 in the LLAC Theatre. More details to come soon on their work! For now, take a look at the song that student will use to close their Spotlight:

Getting Ready for Grade 2 Spotlights!

Grade 2 is hard at work preparing for their Spotlights in a little over a month!

Students will tell the story of “the Noisy Paintbox” inspired by the book by Barb Rosenstock. The story talks about Vasily Kandinsky and his “superpower” synesthesia. Through this story they will perform a selection of works that they have learned so far this year. Each works explores the PYP concept of “connection”.

Students have been examining how we can make connections to the arts. How can we see what we hear? How can we hear what we see? How can we help an audience experience the same superpower as Kandinsky?

In Visual Arts, students have been exploring creating Kandinsky inspired works to music. In Dance, students have been interpreting Kandinsky’s work into their own shapes, direction and pathways. In Performing Arts, students have been creating “soundscapes” interpreting Kandinsky’s paintbox in a variety of ways. This has resulted in some very interesting creations that we hope to share with you at our performance!

In preparation for the Spotlight, all students will have a unique special job in the performance. Ask your child, what is their job for the Spotlight? For some students this might mean doing a dance, others might be introducing a performance, others might be playing an instrument! If a student has a line to say it will be sent home with them to practice over the October break.

For now, how can you help your student prepare for their performance?

Watch a reading of the “Noisy Paintbox” here. Talk about their favorite part of the story? How do they imagine re-telling it on stage?

All students will sing a couple of songs and do one folk dance together. Feel free to practice some of these over the break:


Color My World

Try a Little Kindness

Sign-Up to Perform in a Grade Level Assembly

Each year, students in the Lower School are invited to audition to perform in grade level assemblies. Students may prepare a short solo or small ensemble piece of no more than 3 minutes. This opportunity is optional and is a great chance for young musicians to exhibit the music making that they do outside of school!

To sign-up for students in Grade 1-Grade 3, please fill in the information on this form. Sign-ups are first come, first serve (please use a CDNIS email address to sign up)! Students may only sign-up to perform in an assembly for their current grade level. Please only sign-up for one date to give more students an opportunity to perform! Also note that Grade 3 students may only sign up for the assembly that their class is hosting.

All assemblies are hosted in the Alan Dick Forum. Grade 1 and 2 assemblies start at 9:30. Grade 3 assemblies start at 1:40.

Once the form is completed you will receive an email from a Performing Arts teacher regarding an audition time and location. If you have any questions please contact Ashley Benusa at

FFF on DDD next Week

Our first Friday Fun in the Forum is on the first Dress Down Day of the year, September 7th! FFF on DDD is an informal open mic opportunity for students only during lunch recess in the Forum. Students are welcome to sign up to sing, dance, play an instrument or perform a short act of no more than 2 minutes. This is a great way to practice presenting student talents in a casual environment!

Grade 1-2 students can sign up in their PA class with Ms. Benusa. Grade 3 students can sign up by filling out this form here.

See you there!

After-school Performing Arts Opportunities for Grade 3

There is so much to do at CDNIS after school in the arts! Sign-ups are open for band, choir, strings and dance this week. Check out all the opportunities below:

Join the LS Strings Ensemble!

The LS Performing Arts Department is excited to offer an opportunity for students in Grade 3-6 who are already studying a string instrument outside of school to join the LS Strings Ensemble. Auditions will be held throughout the week of August 27. For more information and to sign-up for auditions check out the Strings page on Ms. Benusa’s PA blog.

Join the CDNIS Timbertones!

Do you love to sing? Are you in Grade 3-6? The Lower School choir, the CDNIS Timbertones, is looking for you! This year-long ensemble will practice every week on Tuesdays after school. Auditions will be held during lunch times the week of August 27. For more information and to sign-up for auditions check out the CDNIS Timbertones page.

Join the Beginning Band

Do you want to learn how to play a band instrument? Students in Grades 4 to 6 are invited to sign up for the Beginning Band here. No experience necessary! Rehearsals begin Thursday, September 6 from 2:45pm-3:55pm. Between August 20-31, interested students will select a given a day/time to try out the instruments and make their selection. Please email for more information.

Join the Intermediate Band

Do you already play a wind or percussion instrument? All students in Grades 3-6 are invited to join the new Lower School Intermediate Band. Rehearsals will be held on Wednesdays from 2:45pm-3:55pm after school starting on September 5th. Auditions will take place from August 21-31. If interested, please complete this sign-up form in order to join! Contact for more information.

Join the Dance Squad!

The LS Performing Arts Department is excited to offer an opportunity for students in Grade 3-6 to join the Dance Squad on Thursdays from 2.45-4.00. Students will be invited to learn some dance and choreographic techniques with the possibility of performances. All are welcome. Dance Squad starts September 6th. Interested students are invited to sign up here.

Welcome to a New Year in PA!

It is so exciting to be back at CDNIS for another great year of singing, dancing, drama and playing instruments! As our school transitions to using Seesaw as a tool for communicating student learning and announcements home, this blog will become a more static page with general information and celebration from Performing Arts in Grade 1-3. There are also designated pages for LS Strings and CDNIS Timbertones for students who choose to be a part of those ensembles.

I spent an amazing summer in the Volta Region of Ghana with a school called the Nunya Music Academy. There I worked with other music teachers to learn music and dance of West Africa. I’m excited to share what I learned with the students of CDNIS! Get ready for a lot of drumming and dancing!

To keep track of what’s going on in Performing Arts throughout the Lower School, I encourage you to follow all of our accounts:

LS PA on Twitter
LS PA on YouTube
LS PA on Flickr

There are so many methods of communication here at CDNIS, but the best one is via email. You can contact me at  Looking forward to seeing you in the LLAC!