Welcome Administrators

Bridges integrates arts, literacy and social emotional learning in every activity and lesson.
Students using their bodies to act out the characters, problems and solutions listed on a chart behind them.

What is it?

The Bridges model supports educators to teach literacy skills and build confidence using a resource library of puppetry, theater and visual arts activities that have been developed in collaboration with classroom teachers

  • Bridge 1: Multisensory Literate Expression means children explore ideas and tell stories through multisensory activities using physical expression, vocal/sound exploration, visual art and puppet play. Bridge 2: Notice, Describe and Ask Protocol means children's artistic choices are at the center of this conversation protocol which involves richly descriptive and non-judgmental language. Bridge 3: An Artist's Work Process means children discover their own ways of thinking and working through a process in which they imagine, experiment, problem-solve, collaborate, self-reflect and revise.
    3 Bridges Model:
    • Bridges children’s curiosity, agency and imagination and the world of school learning.
    • Reconnects literacy, the arts, and social emotional learning.
    • Builds a foundation in essential working and thinking skills children need in all their endeavors.
    • Offers tools that give power and space to all children creating a socially just cl
    Learn More about what the 3 Bridges Model teaches
  • Four kids exuberantly playing with puppets they drew and taped to wooden sticks in front of background settings they made form torn paper.
    Literacy and Metacognitive Skills

    How does Bridges teach literacy and metacognitive academic learning skills through authentic arts activities? How can our work compliment your reading and writing programs?

    Literacy Connections

Why teachers love it

  • Kindergarten teacher sitting playing side by side three students with torn paper puppets and backgrounds in folders.

    How it feels in the classroom

    Teachers enjoy the chance to be playful with students, to see their students open up and relax, and to learn more about what their students can do.
  • Teaching artist holds up a puppet face with a crescent shape smile off to the side to the emotion mapping tool in the

    Easy to use

    Thorough resources geared for a range of learning styles: presented thru video and text; includes big ideas, tips, scripts, stencils for charts etc.
    Activity Library
  • Teacher sitting with two students at their desks prompting them as play with their drawn puppets and settings.

    Professional development

    Includes resources to support reflection and growth as a teacher. Protocols applicable across content areas.
    Example Protocol Page
  • Students playing the Emotion Statue Game and making expressive poses to show different feelings.


    Resources show adaptations for different grade levels, student populations and class types including ML, SWD, ICT, online.
    Example Activity Page

Our Pedagogy

Our model includes 3 Bridges to Literacy, our “instructional absolutes”.

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjoQtkVXZhg

    Teachers on Multisensory Literate Expression

    From a presentation by Bridges teachers on the Bridges model and their experience of it to their Principal and colleagues. Scroll for Part 2
    Bridge 1
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gz6OWiSSycw

    Teachers on Multisensory Literate Expression

    (Part 2) From a presentation by Bridges teachers on the Bridges model and their experience of it to their Principal and colleagues.
  • Two students at desks sitting across from each other hold up paper puppets they drew with colored pencils and attached to straws making them talk to one another.

    Impact of Multisensory Literate Expression

    “Students were able to comprehend complex concepts and stories through multisensory immersion in location, character and narrative…”
    Evaluation Results
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/-vqJlpZWJOU

    Teachers explain Notice, Describe and Ask

    “When we look at their work we’re not saying ‘... good job’... We’re being very specific about what we see… not praising, not correcting…”
    Bridge 2
  • Teaching artist Donna Maria DeCreeft listens with enthusiasm as a student describes what she is working on.

    Bridge 2: Notice, Describe and Ask

    “The children would use words we learned …’shocked, broken-hearted, slanted, thrilled, annoyed.’ throughout the day”
    Evaluation Results
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/qNsK3FBROVw

    Teachers on An Artists Work Process

    "It gave them an opportunity to try things out, to discuss, revise & edit; & use a higher level of vocabulary to describe what they’re doing."
    Bridge 3
  • Classroom teacher Hope Kamal crouches down to get a better look at a torn paper collage backdrop that her student is working on. Although, she is masked, her enthusiasm and attention to his work is evident. The student is describing his choices.

    Impact of An Artist’s work Process

    Artists typically learn to represent complex ideas and engage in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy in the cognitive and affective domains.
    Evaluation Results

Academic Learning

The arts inherently integrate academic learning. Bridges builds on this by offering pedagogy, protocols, tools, & activities to explicitly teach the overlapping concepts and skills.

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/GFnDxZfd-JI
    Helps access difficult content

    In this video,  challenging content and language from the book “Charlotte’s Web” are made accessible through puppet play activities and abstract literacy concepts like revision are made concrete through a peer to peer feedback process. For more examples of how teachers use bridges to tackle challenging content and concepts visit the page for

    Multisensory Expression
  • Three students seated at a table look at, point to and discuss one of their drawings.
    Creates a Language Rich Environment

    Notice, Describe & Ask Protocol makes language an exciting tool for children. It engages them in talking about artistic choices, process, and ideas, using specific vocabulary to describe their observations. It builds community as children converse freely about their work, asking each other questions and describing what they see. Visit the page for

    Notice Describe and Ask

Social Emotional Learning

Bridges taps into the power of connecting with your emotions visually, verbally, and kinesthetically, and gives teachers tools to guide students through emotional exploration, recognition and communication.

  • Boy holding up and mirroring his puppet's emotions with his own face, happy and shocked.
    Teach Literacy, SEL and Arts together

    The 3 Bridges model offers approaches and curriculum to restore the inherent connection between emotions, literacy and arts learning.  Children connect to complex content and concepts when their emotions are acknowledged and respected. Find resources to help teachers address frustration, support joy and make space for their students emotional lens on the

    Working with Emotions Page
  • A group of studnets each expressing the emotion vocabulary word 'frustrated' in their own way using their face and body.

    Emotion Identification Strategies

    Students learn about their own emotions through full body multisensory experiences.
Two kids happily play with the table top puppets that they made.

My Emotions, Character Emotions

As students learn to recognize their own emotions they transfer these skills to understand character emotions, deepening comprehension.
  • Student uses emotion mapping tool to get ideas for how to draw expressive puppet faces.

    Emotion Mapping: clarify and connect to vocabulary

    Facilitate physical exploration and conversation about how emotion words feel and what they mean. Activity resources videos, supports on the
    Page for Emotion Mapping
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/QEckRG-hR3E

    Builds on what kids know as individuals

    Everyone experiences emotions differently. Emotion Mapping connects how emotions feel in your body with language to describe your experience.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/sfcMDXhbR-c

    Facilitates peer to peer learning

    An Emotion Map is a resource that students build collectively to reflect the diverse perspectives & experiences of the classroom community.

Learn more about our research & PD

ArtsConnection has a long professional development practice, engaging educators as researchers in their classrooms. Through a process of deep noticing and collaboration, teachers, artists and administrators innovate their teaching and learning.<

  • Group of educators talking around a table about the observations made during Bridges research.
    Who did the Bridges research?

    The 3 Bridges model, curriculum, activities and supports were collaboratively developed over 8 years, through cycles of questions, implementation, reflection and revision by classroom teachers, administrators, evaluators, artists and kids.

    Meet the action researchers who created Bridges
  • Workshop facilitator leading a group of TAs in a physical warm up. The featured Teaching artist smiles, leaning over mid movement. The teachers facing her have their arms thrown up and forward fingers outstretch engaging in some sort of movement activity.
    Bring Bridges professional development workshops to your school

    Bring ArtsConnection to your New York City school to do Bridges professional development workshops for your classroom teachers.  On-line workshop available for schools and orgs outside of NYC. Email Info@ArtsConnection.org for more information.

    More info about Educator Workshops