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Where I've Taught

2019-2021

Teaching Assistant, Emerson College

I have served as a teaching assistant to two of Emerson's professors: Prof. Javier Hurtado (Latinx Theater and Drama) and Prof. Ted Hewlett (Close Quarters Combat, Introduction to Fight Direction, BFA Acting Studio, and Historical Weaponry).

2021

Student Teacher at Wayland High School

I provided in-classroom support in the fine arts department, as well as designed and implemented drama lessons in classes such as Acting, Honors Dramamtic Arts, and Communication Studies.

2018-2020

Teaching Artist, Arlington Community Education

I designed and implemented after-school or vacation week drama activities for groups of students in grades K-2.

2014-2017

Substitute Teacher, Minuteman High School/Colonial Children's Center

I worked as a substitute teacher at Minuteman High School, providing supervision and academic support to students as well as coverage for absent teachers. I also spent much of my time as a long-term substitute at Minuteman's Colonial Children's Center, a preschool the school runs as part of its Early Education and Care department.

2015

Acting Coach, Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater

I served as an acting coach at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre's Gamm Summer Intensive. I served as support and text coaching for high school students performing two Shakespeare shows in rep over the course of the summer.

Teaching: Experience

Philosophy

My educational philosophy centers on appreciating students as active contributors in their own education. To me, the beauty of theatre is the inherently collaborative nature of it; theatre cannot exist without relationships between audiences, performers, writers, directors, designers, and anyone else who might be involved in the creative process. I believe education should mirror this collaboration, honoring and nurturing the creative and intellectual contributions of students in both the classroom and the rehearsal room.


Furthermore, I believe that theatre education is not just for “theatre kids” but for everyone! Theatre arts are fundamentally about self-expression, exploration, and collaboration, and arts education fosters creative thinking, problem-solving, and understanding. All students, regardless of their aptitudes, interests, and abilities can benefit from time spent on these skills.


At its heart, theatre is about humanity, and the purpose of theatre is to explore the human experience and tell honest stories. Students can use anything under the umbrella of the performing arts (from playwriting to acting to stage combat) as a means to that end, and should have the opportunity to do so. My role as a theatre educator, then, is to provide the students with tools they can use to become their most creative, confident, and empathetic selves through engagement with the theatre arts.

Teaching: About Me

From my students:

"Class is always amazing!"

High School Student

"Ms. O’Donnell has enriched my academic experience indefinitely. Her positive and supporting feedback has helped me grow as an actor and a person. Because of her, I’m better able to see different perspectives and experience new ideas in the way I act."

High School Student

"Thank you for reminding us to be strong, creative, flexible, and inventive! And thank you for reminding us about having a growth mindset: we can learn anything with practice! We were so lucky to have you visit our class!"

4th Grade Class

Teaching: Testimonials

Sample Lessons

These are some of my favorite lessons I have taught at workshops and in classrooms.

Flow Props and the Art of Movement

A Workshop

In this workshop, I introduce students to a variety of flow props (such as hula hoops, silk fans, poi, etc.) and use these props as a way to help students develop comfort and confidence with physical expression and exploration. It's a great way to introduce students to movement vocabulary and generating artistic responses to a variety of works through movement.

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For The Queen: An Adventure In Devising!

Class Exercise

This lesson introduces students to the basics of devising a theatrical work: what it is, why artists do it, and how it can be done. Using the collaborative storytelling card game For The Queen as a starting point, students get to create their own characters and go on a group adventure while devising their own story! In doing so, students learn to generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work, organize and develop those ideas through game play, and connect game play to the wider principles of devising theatre.

Introduction to Shakespeare

Unit Lesson

Shakespeare can be one of the most challenging topics for student actors. Over the course of this unit I guide students through introductions to the language, the plays, and how to perform these advanced texts. By the end of the unit, students will be able to read, analyze, and understand Shakespeare's works and interpret those works through thoughtful and meaningful scene and monologue performances.

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Circus Arts At Home

Virtual Demonstration

With this online presentation, I can virtually introduce elementary school performers to circus arts! Students learn about what constitutes "circus arts" and how they can safely practice them at home, introducing them to performance disciplines such as juggling, hula hooping, and even clown makeup!

If you would like more information or to see detailed lesson plans, please contact me!

Teaching: Projects
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