LOGO residency
Chris Holder
14663 West Lake Road
Hammondsport, NY 14840

Phone: Bus/Fax: 607/868-7249

As schools strive to achieve and exceed the New York State Leaning Standards while meeting the challenges of increased grade level testing and the guidelines of NCLB (No Child Left Behind), Chris Holder is collaborating with teachers to develop Curriculum-Based Arts in Education Residencies.

If you have a high speed link you might like to see this slide show.  It shows activities at one recent residency. 
A twenty-five year veteran of the arts in education field, Chris Holder has designed and led scores of residencies across New York and New England which
  • teach and enliven existing curriculum in a challenging and innovative way.
  • bring teachers, students, parents and community together
  • focus on the process of learning to write, to reason, to create.

Here are just some of the possible formats your residency may use:

Grades 1-3
Storytelling, music and creative writing residencies often focus on genres of stories: how and why stories, tall tales, fairy tales, etc. Chris tells many examples and then students work in groups or collaboratively to create their own, often presenting their work for their peers in other classes or publishing these works for the library.
Recent popular themes have been animals, dinosaurs, the environment, a local celebratory landmark, or the dramatization of a favorite book.

Grades 4-5

Local history, cultural traditions, social studies, the environment or landmark celebrations figure prominently at this level. Writing skills have advanced significantly so that complex prose, poetry, songwriting and interviewing is possible; confidence in performance is dramatically increased.

Recent residencies have included: grandparents' oral history days (fourth grade students heard the stories and retold them in story and song). Fifth graders worked with Chris to write a new school alma mater. Art, music, and classroom teachers collaborated with Chris to create a claymation animated video based on the historical stories children had written about their town.

Students researched the Civil War, Westward Expansion or the Erie Canal and then wrote and performed their own program on what they've learned, written  and created.

Grades 6-8

For middle school students there is really no topic too daunting to approach through the combination of literary, musical and performing arts. They can be excellent writers and collaborators, terrific storytellers and songwriters, and they are strongly motivated by activity based projects with challenging themes.

Recently sixth graders chose, learned, dramatized and performed Greek myths for the rest of their school. Through the songs, stories and tales of the Dust Bowl eighth graders have worked with Chris to design newspapers, articles, letters and even obituaries chronicling that time. Seventh graders have recreated the era of the Erie Canal through research, site visits and musical theatre scene creations and performance.

Grades 9-12
Arranged and developed through collaborative efforts of individual arts-in-ed representatives and High School teachers and administrators. Often based in two or more departments (music and history, arts and foreign language, English and social studies, etc.)

A recent residency focused on the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's through protest songs and writings. Constitutional freedoms, prejudice and equality were all examined through recreations of historical scenes. All 11th grade English classes participated in the creation of a Saturday Evening Post-style magazine about the politics, art, culture, poetry, music and popular crazes of the 1950's.

A Sampling of Recent Residencies

"In this educational atmosphere of teach and test, the addition of Chris Holder's creative production is a blast of fresh air.  He has the remarkable ability to find just the right songs to intertwine with student research to create a memorable performance"        
Gail Wolczanski, Teacher Leader - Social Studies        Oxford Road School   New Hartford, NY


Middle school English and Social Studies teachers in Schalmont, NY were looking for a way to enliven their study of the early European Explorers with drama, writing, art and music. So the teachers and Chris worked together to have the students write three separate scripts about three different explorers. Chris helped them design, direct and write music for it. Then, students created ships' logs, biographical sketches of many explorers, a huge time line mural of early exploration and presented an extravagant Explorers' Fair for the community, parents and friends.

Third graders in the Greenmeadow School in East Greenbush, NY and Chris studied habitats around the world. With each class studying a different region (desert, rainforest, arctic, etc.), they worked together to study those regions' habitats, learned some of their stories and composed a song about different habitats around the world.

Upward Bound High School students learned many Appalachian folk stories, songs and customs and then worked with Chris to dramatize them in anticipation of their field trip visit to the Appalachian Mountain Range.
"Thanks for all you did to make our 5th grade residency so successful. The students' written work certainly demonstrated their understanding of not only the facts about the Civil War but also the powerful emotional issues during that period of history. What a tremendous learning experience for our school community!"
Martha Deborah Brown, Principal, Arthur School, Athens, NY
Fourth graders in Arlington Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, NY and Chris studied four major waterways of New York State and the style of boat which historically plied these waterways. From Jacque Cartier on the St. Lawrence to "LOWBRIDGE!" on the Erie Canal, the students wrote stories, songs and created a time line mural of New York's waterways, water crafts, history and lore.


With high school juniors at Ravena Coeymans Selkirk High School, Chris led a dramatic project examining the political and cultural climate of the 1950's. The McCarthy era, the shadow of the Bomb and the urge to conform were mirrored in two plays we studied, THE CRUCIBLE and WEST SIDE STORY. Chris directed and rehearsed all of the students in scenes from one of the two plays, videotaped them all and gave them an overview presentation of the era through music, poetry, song and story.

"Wonderful! This residency reinforced a multitude of concepts within our social studies/science/language arts curriculums."
Marty Deyo, Third Grade, East Greenbush, NY

Staff at Albany, New York's Saddlewood School were in search of a school theme song to sing at their morning program and unite the school community. In a week residency with 3rd and 4th grade classes Chris and the classes brainstormed, collaborated and wrote their new school song, SADDLEWOOD. Pegeen Jensen, the project coordinator, reports to Chris, "Thank you so much for your wonderful residency! The song has had a lasting effect: we sing it every Friday at the morning program."

In Athens, NY 5th grade teachers were seeking a new and memorable treatment of their history text's one chapter on the Civil War. Chris and the teachers designed a one week residency together during which the children took on either the North or South side to write letters, diary entries or first person accounts of events leading up to Gettysburg. A final program for the whole school, combining their writing, performances and authentic songs of the era, capped the week.

All of us felt the storytelling residency was a highly successful, productive and valuable experience. The children were inspired by you, as were we."
- Peg Howes & Sixth Grade Team, Stillwater Middle School,  Stillwater, NY

LANDFORMS All 'Round Our World 
3rd and 4th graders at the Clarksville, NY Elementary School researched  15 of the most prominent landforms in the world (canyons, archipelagos, glaciers, estuaries, caves, volcanoes, etc.)   Then, writing songs and stories with Chris, they presented a school-wide program and art show of their landforms.  A final performance for students and parents showcased their written work, their art work and their new song about Landforms All 'Round Our World.  

Residency fees?  see the Fees page. and see this "slide show", best viewed with high-speed link.

If you need a Big Photo for publicity use? press photoClick on the photo for a large image.

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