A Virtual Time Travel Performance

By Amanda Moses

The Spring Creek Towers’ After School Program offers children from kindergarten to fifth grade a wide variety of fun and educational activities throughout the school year. Their slogan has always been, the “Learning doesn’t stop at Spring Creek After School Program!” 

Since the fall, the children were able to receive homework help, have fun knitting, conducting science experiments, playing chess, and participating in the performing arts at Abe Stark Primary School 346. However, in March, the Spring Creek After School Program went virtual, offering scholastic lessons remotely through the video/audio platform, Zoom.   Many parents were pleased that the program continued to run virtually. “I truly appreciate the entire Spring Creek After-School Team. You guys have always been the best in my opinion, but even during these trying times you guys still managed to make sure our children had a social outlet, that they may have lost this school year due to the pandemic. Again, I appreciate you all and Saniya is truly grateful as well. Have a Blessed and Safe Summer,” Saniya Gray’s mother said.

Without skipping a beat, the staff continued their projects with students and even hosted an End of Year Performance with the theme “Time Travel” on June 24th.  

Boogie Back to the 70s

Each grade was given a decade to research and gather information about the historical events, arts, and culture of that time frame. The kindergarten and first grade classes were deemed the Sunflowers, and they studied the 1970s.  They learned how to dance the hustle and other cool moves, listened to musical hits from that era, such as Earth, Wind, & Fire. During their End of the Year film, their instructor shared videos and photos of the children’s activities in the classroom before the pandemic along with the online classes.   

Cut Loose, For An 80s Footloose

The third and fourth graders delved into the 1980s, during which time they discovered the era’s big fads (such as yo-yos, Rubik Cube, and Legos!)  They also discovered that before songs were downloaded from iTunes or streamed, people would use boom boxes and Walkman cassette players.

One instructor asked the children to create cardboard Walkman’s and imagine the songs they would listen to during the 1980s.  Some children said they were jamming to Whitney Houston, while others were bopping their heads to Salt ‘N Pepper.  The learned all about Prince, Beastie Boys, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, and Madonna.  The students also created vinyl albums using construction paper and paper plates!

Another trend during this timeframe were graffiti artists. The class researched images of New York during the 1980s, and saw that trains, sidewalks, and numerous buildings were covered in graffiti. Inspired by the creativity, the children produced their own 3-dimensional graffiti designs using glitter, rhinestones, and other craft materials.

Rock into the 90s

The fifth graders entered the 1990s, where they discovered numerous cartoons and the booming comic book culture.  The class participated in a virtual comic book workshop, creating various drawing blocks, and how to weave their own stories visually and contextually. According to their instructor LaShonda, “The goal is to give students the tools and knowledge they need to develop their own stories to express themselves, and vent about the world around them.”

Their next project investigated popular 1990s cartoons, such as the creation of Pokémon, Hey Arnold, Johnny Bravo, and various anime (Japanese cartoons) series. “The purpose of the 90s cartoon characters was for the children to learn about television shows from that era,” said Group Leader LaShonda. She asked the children to illustrate their favorite cartoon characters now, and some shared images of Sponge Bob, Avatar, and some even drew 90s classics like Johnny Bravo and Arnold.   

Hop into the Millennial Zone

Students in second grade showcased their artistry, reading and comprehension skills, as well as their ability to participate in the performing arts.  They were assigned the 2000s, also known as the Millennial era. With the artistic direction from Group Leader Rhamsys Holoman, the children crafted a short story entitled, A Tale Through Time.

The story follows two children who discover that a necklace is actually a time traveling device. The protagonists, Ravi and Kai accidently take a trip back to New York City during the early 2000s.  Through beautiful drawings, the students read out loud the adventure as viewers followed the turning pages. Their ability to act the scenes, grasp the story line (which they created), truly showcased their reading comprehension, writing skills and critical thinking abilities.

On June 24th, students and their families watched their final performance showcasing each of their time traveling adventures with the Spring Creek After School Program’s staff. Many of the parents were eternally grateful for the program, writing “I thought you guys did an amazing job adapting to the circumstances. You showed up every day for our kids and kept them engaged and entertained and as parents we appreciate the support. As always, you guys are a great resource and tool for our kids, you have a dedicated and caring staff and as parents we feel that, it really comes across,” said Danielle Jones Asante.  

Some parents even apologized for not being more diligent in making sure that their children participated in the virtual sessions. “Please, please forgive me for not making sure that Olivia participated in the virtual After School sessions. Being in Social Services, this has been a very busy time for me working from home and being out in the field. Still, I am ever so grateful for the support and the love that you and the staff of Spring Creek After School show our children…even checking in on us during the pandemic, making calls and sending text messages and emails,” said Melissa Wilson.

Screenshots by Amanda Moses