Circus Blogs: Camp News Big Top Tour News Residency News

The official Circus Smirkus Residency Blog

Mt. Lebanon School Residency

Meet Smirkus Residency artists Joy Powers and Nettie Lane, and learn about our recent residency at the Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Learn more about bringing a residency to your school.

Winooski Middle School

Winooski Middle School Circus Smirkus Residency, funded by the Vermont Flexible Pathways program

In the fall of 2017 Circus Smirkus received a grant from the Vermont Agency of Education via its Flexible Pathways program to conduct a 7-week circus residency with the 6th graders at Winooski Middle School in Winooski, VT. The grant allowed us the unique opportunity to create an extended learning provider model that aligns circus arts education with social and emotional learning outcomes. Watch this video to learn more: Learn more about bringing a residency to your school.

DIY Circus Lab

Jackie Davis, Author of DIY Circus Lab

“I believe more kids — ALL kids — should have the chance to discover circus.” So says circus educator and Smirkus residency consultant Jackie Davis, author of the newly released DIY Circus Lab for Kids. The book, she says, is the culmination of her lifelong work as a circus educator, and guides readers through the ABCs of making their own circus. It teaches basic skills like juggling, tumbling, clowning and how kids can make their own circus equipment and props. Using the book as a guide, readers can learn how to combine skills into an act, and acts into a circus show. Newly released by Quarry Books, it is an…

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Study: Circus Arts Improve Student Learning Skills

The results of a year-long education study are in, and show that integrating the circus arts into K-12 education can improve student performance. Nationwide, circus programs improved social and emotional learning skills in all areas measured. Conducted by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, the study observed children in school residency programs offered by Circus Smirkus and seven other circus arts providers across America. The study asked a simple question: Do the circus arts improve Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in schools? “Circus arts delivered results measurably better than the comparison group composed of a wide range of school arts and sports activities.” The answer is…

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Lakeview Residency Update

The Lakeview Elementary School in our hometown of Greensboro, VT has about 80 students in grades K – 6. This school year something extraordinary happened there – nearly half of these kids participated in an extended Smirkus Residency that lasted about half of the school year within their PE class. For me, as a former classroom science teacher and longtime unicycle coach, this was a chance to get to know many of our local kids and their parents, while expanding my skills in teaching circus arts. In this project I was fortunate to be mentored by Jackie Davis, a Circademic,…

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Residency Program Awarded VT Grant

A partnership between Circus Smirkus and the Winooski (VT) School District has been awarded a grant from the Vermont Agency of Education to demonstrate how an engaging learning opportunity – like the circus arts – can support a school’s shift toward personalized learning experiences for students. This change encourages students to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and educational goals. In this project, Circus Smirkus and the Winooski Middle School will be aligning their offerings around important content and skills and developing ways to track students’ individual progress toward their learning goals. As an engaging series of skills that…

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Update From Nettie Lane, Residency Artist

I am working at a school in Vermont right near the border of Canada and New Hampshire. It’s cold and snowy over here, but something happened that warmed my heart. I have one student who is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have much muscle or muscle control. It is difficult for her to lift things. Yesterday, we worked together on finding ways to adapt the activities. We cut a stick down making it a lot shorter and worked out a plate spinning routine. Today, her mother found me before my class to say ‘thank you.’ The circus magic had taken…

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Jackie Davis, volunteer extraordinaire!

With Ringmaster Residencies, Circus Smirkus joins students in the classroom with an artist-in-residency program that enlivens the classroom with the magic and joy of the circus while using the “CircusSecrets” to teach kids important life skills. These strategies are helping kids to develop their self-awareness and interpersonal relationships within the teaching framework of Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL for short. Educational researchers have shown that improvements in SEL are correlated with increased  engagement and improved performance in the classroom. In partnership with Cirque du Soleil and the American Youth Circus Organization, we’re working on a study to demonstrate the…

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Reinventing Ringmaster Residencies

Students demonstrate their spinning plate skills at a final 2016 Ringmaster Residency performance. Circus Smirkus comes into classrooms year-round to offer artist-in-residency programs that  use the circus arts to enliven the classroom, promote the arts and teach life skills to students throughout New England and beyond. While teaching circus skills, Ringmaster Residencies also introduces the “Circus Secrets,” engaging learning strategies that every child can use to improve their ability to gain new skills and concepts. Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act has replaced No Child Left Behind, and many states are adopting the National Core Arts Standards, Circus Smirkus…

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Smirkus and Rick Davis Fan, Anna Doucet Pays Tribute

When it came time to complete her class project, Smirkus Camper Anna Doucet wrote about her favorite subject, circus. In this essay, she writes a beautiful tribute to our late Residency Director, Rick Davis. Please enjoy.  Rick Davis Anna Doucet, 2015 For my study on circus, I did an essay about Rick Davis, a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performer and former director of the Circus Smirkus Residency program. Rick Davis is a truly exceptional man and his many stories amazed me. While I couldn’t have put them all into this paper, I took some of my favorites. During…

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