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!

End of Year Jams

Students in Grade 1 and 2 have ended the year singing a variety of songs which will culminate in an end-of-year sing along in the Forum on the last day of school. They’ve had so much fun with them that I thought I would post them here so they can sing them at home as well!

Save the Afternoon! After School Performing Arts Opportunities

Next year, the Lower School Performing Arts Department is excited to offer many after school experiences for the 2018-2019 school year. As you organise your child’s schedule for next year, keep the following opportunities in mind:

Treble Timbertones, led by Ashley Benusa will meet Tuesdays from 2:45-3:55. It is open to any student who loves to sing in Grade 3 to Grade 6.

LS Intermediate Band led by Kimberly Butler will meet Wednesdays from 2:45-3:55. Students who are already studying a wind instrument or percussion in Grade 3-6 are welcome to audition to be a part of this group.

LS Strings Ensemble led by Ashley Benusa will meet Wednesdays from 2:45-3:55. Students who are already studying violin, viola, or cello outside of school in Grade 3-6 are welcome to audition to be a part of this group.

LS Beginning Band led by Kimberly Butler will meet Thursdays from 2:45-3:55. Students in Grade 4-6 will have the opportunity to start an instrument from the beginning and work within an ensemble setting.

LS Dance Troupe, led by Carole Saunders is a new LS offering. It will meet on Thursdays after school for Grade 4-6.

More information about joining each of these ensembles will come out in August.

Getting Ready for G1 Spotlights!

Our Grade 1 Spotlights are coming up soon! We will be using shadow puppets, dance and singing to tell the story of the Chinese zodiac. Here’s what you need to know to help your Grade 1 child get ready for their performance!

Performance Dates:

Tuesday, May 8, 8:30am – 1A/1C
Tuesday, May 8, 12:30pm – 1B/1D/1E

What to Wear:

Performance dress that is appropriate for dancing. Girls are asked to please wear shorts under their clothing so that they can move comfortably on stage.

Help your child to “practice” at home by asking them to think through their performance with them. By transferring these ideas to a different environment, students are able to solidify the flow of their performance better!

  • Ask your child about their special job. What are they teaching the audience about dance? What do they like about this part of the performance? What do they dislike?
  • Ask your child to teach you “Sashay the Donut.” Who do they dance with? What moves do they enjoy? What moves are tricky for them?
  • If your child has a line, help them to memorize it, or at least speak it fluently with expression and confidence.
  • Ask your child to sing through “Animal Boogie” and “Celebration” for you, watch the videos below, as your child, how is the version for the Spotlight different?