This retreat is over, but please check out the upcoming retreat!

Three Days of Inspiration!

The Inspired Classroom’s fourth annual Teacher Art Retreat is over.  Contact us for information about our next retreat!


August 4-6, 2014



Retreat Workshops for TAR14

Focus Project – From Story to Puppet Play with Shadow Puppets; Led by Judith O’Hare

Puppets are a dynamic art form that can stimulate and expand literacy skills and beyond.

Retreaters will work in groups of 3-4 to retell Aesop’s fables with shadow puppets. We will learn how to turn a narrative story into a script, how to construct a simple shadow puppet with moveable parts and use the puppets and script to present a unique version of one of Aesop’s Fables.  Simple techniques for making shadow screens and lighting sources will be presented. Each group will select a different story so that the final presentation will be a collection of stories told with shadow puppets.

More Details

Shadow Puppets are magical for children and they can even be constructed by very young children. To bring the shadow puppet to life, it is important to think about how it can come to life and be animated, that is, made to move and talk. The following project uses shadow puppets to retell Aesop’s Fables. These stories are very short, only a few paragraphs, but they contain an important ingredient of drama: they present a problem, they have a conflict that needs to be resolved, and they have a moral. The story plot is not complex and the simplicity of the narrative provides space for the puppeteers to invent their own details and imaginary world based on the text.

As puppeteers decide how they will retell the story, they must create the characters and dialogue to lead to the conclusion, the moral of the story. The moral leads us to relate the story to our own lives and experiences, which this leads to more complex understanding of the literature, more complex thinking and literacy skills.

Judith O’Hare,  Judith O’Hare , Education consultant for the Puppeteers of America, chairperson for the Puppetry in Education and Therapy Committee, Artist and educator. Judith is the creator of and has been a performer and been a teaching artist for over 30 years. She developed and has hosted Puppets:Education Magic, a conference for educators on the art and craft of puppetry in education and it has morphed into the Professional Day for the Teaching Artist and Therapist for the past 10 years at regional and national puppet Festivals. She is the co-editor with Matthew Bernier, of “Puppetry in Education and Therapy:Unlocking doors to the Mind and Heart” a collection of articles by national and international teaching artists and puppetry therapists.

More about Judith

(Copies can be purchased at She is a recipient of the Puppeteers of America Marjorie Batchelder McPharlin award for Puppetry and Education and Therapy, as well as a Puppeteers of America regional award for her work in Puppetry in Education and an award from the Reading, MA, Arts Council for her contribution to the cultural life in Reading. She writes and edits a column on Puppetry in Education and therapy for the Puppeteers of America’s Journal.

Judith is a teaching artist who has given residencies in several large urban cities such as Boston, Fitchburg, and Lynn, Ma. She has taught graduate courses for the Northeast Consortium for both Salem and Fitchburg Colleges She has given teacher training courses and workshops in Hong Kong, China and Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya where she returned 3 times and wrote a teacher’s manual with the Kenyan teachers. Judith is passionate about the power of the puppet in education and most recently is on the Board of Directors of the REAL literacy program in Lynn, MA. Part of her work has included working with high school students from Pingree High School who did a week long puppetry project in a Lynn elementary school, she also has performed in several schools for BOOKS that he donates to the REAL program.

Most recently she did a puppet show for her 4 year old grandson who said,” This the best birthday of my life.” She has made a career of working with children and teachers to share the magic and wonder of puppets.


Workshop 1  – Moving Matters! With Deirdre Moore

We will explore connections between dance and science by applying the basic elements of dance (Body, Energy, Space, and Time) to the different states of matter and how the atoms in different states move. We will also examine how these movements might be applied at different grade levels with different content such as the water cycle, chemical reactions, and solutions.  Retreaters will learn specific ways to teach dance and science as well as how to apply these skills to other areas of the curriculum.  All will have the opportunity to move, make artful movement with others and have fun!

More Details

The facilitator and participants will take some time to gently warm up their bodies and then explore the basic elements of dance to have a greater understanding of each (Body, Energy, Space, and Time or BEST).

Once that foundation is established we will explore some elementary science concepts and demonstrate those concepts with movement applying BEST.  Participants are welcome to suggest other applications for their learning or ask for guidance in using it with the particular content they teach at their grade level.

The workshop will culminate in the participants showing how these science/movement experiences can be presented as a performance piece demonstrating learning in both science and dance. 

DMoore Profile PicDeidre Moore, Arts Integration Specialist, is a teaching artist and Arts Integration coach in the San Diego, CA public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. With an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience she has presented at conferences on Arts Integration in New England and in California. While Deirdre loves all forms of art, she is particularly passionate about moving and making music!


Workshop 2 – Active Listening with Elizabeth Peterson  

Music is motivational and listening to it with your students can be both rewarding and practical.  During the workshop, we will explore musical concepts and learn how to integrate active musical listening experiences into your classroom that will develop listening skills, build community and enhance literacy skills.   Retreaters will listen to and respond to a mixture of musical styles through a variety of modalities including poetry, storytelling, movement and drama.

More Details

In addition, we will explore strategies on how to introduce music to your students regardless of age or interest so that they will be open to different genres of music.  

Elizabeth Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and is currently enrolled in a C.A.G.S. program through Plymouth State University with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching and Studio Days which inspires teachers to bring the creative process into their classrooms.  Elizabeth has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired.


Workshop 3 – Delve into Decoupage with Dara Merz

We will learn how to create a theme using a variety of materials and produce a usable item that reflects your efforts. Decoupage is a wonderful tool for those with a lot of unique ideas and creativity AND those who are just trying to develop their creative abilities. This session will cover personal and educational uses for the decoupage technique. Retreaters will learn how to choose their inspiration, gather materials, design their piece, and use artistic elements as expressive tools. The session will be structured as a creative process that begins with conception and design and culminates with a finished item.

More Details

The goal of this session is to explore the uses of a relatively unfamiliar technique. Participants will gain an understanding of integrating materials, using ideas and themes to form design, and applying the technique to learning. This is a fun, meaningful activity designed to be appropriate for those who like to socialize while they create or those who like to find tranquility in their creative process. Everyone will leave with a completed product that exhibits their newly-learned art! 

DaraMDara Merz  is an ELA teacher at Amesbury High School. She has been in this field for 15 years.  Her classroom has a high level of arts integration which she is desperately trying to maintain as she witnesses more and more of the arts disintegrate with the budget cuts. Her personal involvement with the arts includes painting, crafting, and jewelry making. She has eclectic tastes in her creative processes!  She is proud that her two children are following in her footsteps.  “It is wonderful to see them love to create as much as I do!”


Listening to instructions before it’s time to play.

Follow-up Links and Additional Information

Keep in mind, this retreat is not just about the workshops, it’s about building a community of like-minded passionate teachers.  We will be busy with other activities too: movement, brain gym, collaborative art work, discussions, drumming.  When you register, you will get more info on all this other fun stuff!

For general information about the retreats, visit the Teacher Art Retreats page.

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Teacher-Centered PD


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For ALL the posts about our TEACHER ART RETREAT go to this link.


Come to the retreat with a friend!  Tell your colleagues about this great event and get special pricing!  Start asking around now, so you won’t miss out!


Check out our location!

We have a new location!  It’s bright, it’s quiet (it’s ACed) and it will be a wonderful place to retreat!

St. James Lodge in Hampton, NH

77 Tide Mill Rd Hampton, NH 03842

The inside entrance to Barker Hall

There is plenty of space for eating and creating.

Outside pictures will be forthcoming when the snow melts a little bit.  There is a large yard, a patio gathering area and a great view of the marsh.  (Not to mention a great kitchen and sound system!)  This will be a lovely site for our Retreat!

Cancellation Policy

Paid registrants may send a substitute.
If for any reason you can’t attend, 100% of your paid registration will be
refunded when you notify The Inspired Classroom at least 48 hours in advance.
Notifications after this time will be refunded less a $25 service fee.