Classroom Residencies

Opera Ignite’s specialized teaching artists will facilitate arts-based workshops in classrooms (schools, home-school, after school programs, etc.) Programs may include one-time sessions or a series of scaffolded workshops that take place over an extended period of time. All residencies are co-planned with classroom teachers to meet the students’ specific learning goals. While Opera Ignite specializes in Early Childhood programming, residencies are available for grades K-12.



Children ages 3-5 explore a famous opera over four 30-minute classroom sessions. Through interactive musical storytelling, children develop skills in the arts, early literacy and social-emotional development. Age-appropriate musical and thematic elements are pulled from the operas to encourage childrens’ active participation, comprehension and problem-solving. Past operas have included Carmen, The Barber of Seville, Porgy and Bess, The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel and The Merry Widow. Opera Ignite has faciliated this popular residency program for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh (since 2008) and Toledo Opera (since 2014.)

“My children were interested and engaged in activities during all workshops. Even the children with behavioral concerns were focused and participated in the activities. The children initiated follow up activities after every residency. – Sara Wittmer, preschool teacher

“One student in my room, that never responds to WH questions, could answer all my recall questions about the story. It was amazing!” – Michelle Wilson, special education teacher

Revolutionary War Drama

Fifth grade students developed dramatic skills (such as tableaux, dialogue, improvisation, etc.) to explore multiple points of view regarding the American Revolution. At the end of the five-session unit, students performed dramatic sketches for classmates and parents that expressed the tension between the Patriots and Loyalists. Opera Ignite collaborated closely with the classroom teacher to identify essential questions within the social studies curriculum that encouraged deep immersion.

“Acting out the story made me understand the tough choices the colonists faced.” – Ethan D., student

Too Many Spiders

Based on the book “Argh, Spider!” by Lydia Monks, children ages 3-7 discover that sometimes “less” is better! When a family discovers too many spiders in their house, the children use songs, chants, creative movement and role-playing to help the family move the spiders to the backyard. This delightful four-session residency develops beginning math skills such as counting, numerical comparisons, one-to-one correspondence, addition and subtraction.

“My students wanted to tell this story over and over. Each time they acted it out, their counting skills improved!” – Ms. Szolis, preschool teacher