May 2018

Big picture

During March, April, and May, the district had KidSing--its first choral festival for 5th and 6th graders; Opera Iowa visited all of the elementary schools with their production of Jack and the Beanstalk; all of the eighth graders attended a production at Hancher, and the sixth graders made a movie.


On April 4, all the district’s eighth graders attended a performance of Feathers of Fire at Hancher.

Feathers of Fire was created by the artist Hamid Rahmanian. It employs eight actors, 160 puppets and 15 masks and costumes. Its 158 animated backgrounds are projected from backstage onto a vast, 15-by 30-foot screen. The story in Feathers of Fire is part of the Shahnameh, a poetic account of the pre-history and history of Persia, a now known as Iran. The plot has several themes that we see in other traditional stories and myths.

Some comments from the students about going to Hancher. . .

What was your favorite part of the show?

  • When they showed behind stage and how the shadows and the puppets work.
  • The costumes.
  • The flight scene.
  • The funny part where they were dancing
  • Everything.
  • The story—its happy ending; when the bird adopted the boy.
  • “That it almost seemed like a movie, not a generic puppet show.”

What surprised you about the show? Why?
  • It was live performed. Because everything seemed to be too perfect to be live.
  • How the shadow part worked, because I thought it was pre-recorded but it was actual people playing it.
  • I thought it was more directed to children and it’s surprised me because I was expecting more of a play then puppet show.
  • When the boys father hid and left him in the woods because no matter your race or your gender, or your looks/personalities, you should be accepted for just being yourself.
  • I was surprised at how long it took to make the costumes and puppets. (2 years)

When you're in high school, what do you think you will remember about the field trip to Hancher?
  • It was a spectacular building.
  • Seeing people I know from other schools.
  • The costumes the actors wore.
  • The shadow parts of the play
  • It was a great story.
  • The cool way the filming worked.
  • It takes so much time and effort to put on a quality performance.
  • It was a really good show and I've never been to a trip like that before.
  • It was cool and odd at the same time.

6th Grade Animation Project

During March and April, sixth graders worked with Mark Jones to create a movie using stop-motion animation.

Not only did the students design the visuals for the movie using the app, Stop Motion Studio, if you listen carefully to the movie's soundtrack, you can hear claps, stomps, and vocal sound effects provided by the classes. The app Keezy was used to record the sound effects.



On March 8, over 90 fifth and sixth graders from throughout the district arrived at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts to rehearse together for the first time. Later that afternoon, the choir, directed by ICCSD music teacher, Rebecca Fields-Moffit, and accompanied by music teacher, Diana Hawley, performed for a packed house.

Opera Iowa

Opera Iowa brought singers, costumes, lights, and sets to every elementary school in the district to provide a 40-minute operatic version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Along with the performances, the singers provided workshops on the voice, costumes and makeup, and how to make an opera to older elementary students.

About Any Given Child

Any Given Child Iowa City, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, uses local arts resources to provide equitable access to diverse, interactive, and inspiring arts experiences for every K-8 student in the Iowa City Community School District.

To sustain and provide more arts programming for every student, please consider supporting, volunteering, or sharing information about Any Given Child with friends!