Welcome Teachers

Teachers offer teachers big ideas and practical resources from Bridges.
Two classroom teachers laughing while they practice playing with their puppets.

Why use Bridges?

Physical engagement, artmaking and play, help kids to write detailed stories, speak up, develop vocabulary and collaborate allowing  teachers to enjoy students and teaching more. “Bridges makes our job easier”- teachers.

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZFo4gfIq9S0
    Who has time for that?

    “[Bridges] took me from being a teacher that was just strictly about teaching what had to be taught and not having any time to fit creativity into my curriculum… Through the Bridges program I learned how to fit that stuff into my teaching and how to become a more passionate, artistic teacher, which is something that I never had the confidence for before.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FG21jXsA08
    How Bridges impacted my teaching

    Jean Antoldi on raising expectations of what her 1st graders were capable of.

    “At first I was a little afraid of all the freedom the program allows, but… the students have the total ability to make choices…Not being afraid to introduce new words to the kids, words that I would think would be too hard, through descriptive language.”

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    Supports student-centered education

    Bridges allows “students to do more of the work, and the teacher stands back and acts as the facilitator but not necessarily the controller.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/OSgsh_MNtKQ
    Take it back to why you started

    A reminder of the original impetus to teach: “Over the years you can get stuck…but take it back to why you started, and it’s about THEM…”


Addressing challenges

Throughout the research, teachers discussed their desires, in the face of the challenges and requirements they take on in classrooms. Bridges responded by developing activities and tools to support teachers to get to the heart of their work

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

    “Our curriculum doesn't…”

    Help me get to know kids, teach socialization, or build community.
  • Classroom teacher sitting on the floor with two students making a crying face as they play with their paper puppets on sticks.

    “There’s not enough…”

    Movement and play, fun,
    or time for kids to be kids.
  • Students using their bodies to act out the characters, problems and solutions listed on a chart behind them.

    “Our reading & writing programs don’t…”

    Hold the attention of young children. Meet the needs of diverse learners.Or provide enough context for our kids.
  • Teacher with arms extended like wings leading students with bird headdress masks in a line to practice soaring.

    “We need support for”

    Student transitions, Multisensory experiences, & Multiple entry points.

Using this website

This website can impact your teaching practice; to make child and process centered work that addresses academic achievements. To do this Bridges offers both big picture approaches and targeted activities

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    Activity Library

    Find activities you can directly apply in your lessons. Use resource filters to target content areas, literacy skills, artforms, and more.
    Activity Library
  • 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 Resources

    Explore the 3 Bridges model for the big ideas and protocols you can use to evolve your teaching & what’s possible in your classroom.
  • One teacher sits at a table experimenting with moving shapes around her puppet face while another sits next to her observing.
    Developed in collaboration with teachers

    137 teacher researchers engaged in a cycle of hands-on exploration, feedback, revision, and implementation of resources, tools and activities. These teachers were passionate teachers to make sure content for their peers and students that really worked.

    Action researcher landing page

3 Bridges to Literacy

Two Bridges Teacher Leaders breakdown how the 3 Bridges model & curriculum connect to literacy, and how it affected their students and their own teaching.

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/aXEUMcACews
    What is authentic artwork?

    “It is something the kids created. We’re not telling them what to do; we might be leading them, giving them some ideas, giving them vocabulary, giving them language, but they are planning it, and creating it, and making it something personal. So we’re not correcting them in any way, and they get to do it how they feel like they need to do it.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjoQtkVXZhg
    The first bridge to literacy: Multisensory literate expression

    “The first step was to immerse them in touching, feeling, thinking, seeing, smelling, whatever we could, with story concepts and ideas- so, the five senses, and getting them up and moving while they’re doing things.”

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gz6OWiSSycw
    Bridge 1 continued: Multisensory Literate Expression

    “It really was a good way to bring them in…they’re visualizing, they’re thinking about what they’re hearing, what they’re seeing, if they’re going to smell anything, and then afterwards we would go and do activities and they’d be able to use what we ‘saw’ on our journey to [make] setting, or make up a story…”

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/-vqJlpZWJOU
    Teachers explain Bridge 2: Notice, Describe & Ask

    “When we look at their work we’re not saying ‘this is a good job’…. We’re being very specific about what we see… not praising, not correcting anything, just letting them talk about their work, and thinking about how to describe it.”

    “Don’t tell them, let them tell you. …They might have something else in their minds. You don’t wa

    Learn More
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/qNsK3FBROVw
    Bridge 3 to Literacy: An Artist’s Work Process

    It gave them an opportunity to

    • try things out
    • discuss things
    • revise & edit their artwork
    • think about the decisions they made
    • use a higher level of vocabulary to describe what they’re doing
    • describe their process

Get inspired: teacher research

Classroom teachers in Bridges explored different topics in their research. Have a taste of some of their work below.

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pxz7ODFzZ_Q

    Teaching for individuality

    Jessica Giler’s research goal after the pandemic was to find ways to support the individual voices she saw so strongly during remote learning.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/CztzGOh_RRU

    Teaching from students work

    Giler validates the variety of choices that the young artists in her class are making to express their ideas in drawing and collage.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/u3AtBB4nQE0

    “Talking up a storm”: a quiet ML student

    Ms. Vallone watches footage of Anusha working with peers. She’s amazed to see her restrained student engaged in storymaking and conversation.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/gJ3apHhidvI

    Healthy Noise in the classroom

    Ms. Vallone’s research focused on the impact of 3 Bridges work on her ML students’ oral expression, engagement and sense of community.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/RVQ12VF3iQ0

    What do children learn through artmaking and play?

    Hear from kindergarten teacher Kathy Anderson and her students about what they learned from their art making and play and puppetry experiences!
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/YLvZwKawMHQ

    Kids at play: rigor and autonomy

    The opportunities for children to challenge themselves, to learn how to collaborate and to work through conflict are unique in play.
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/8QwF9eswI8I

    Social learning through play

    Kristin Sousa speaks about how she structured a play practice in her first grade classroom and what her kids learned about working together.
  • Four cute kindergartners practice raising their eyebrows to show facial expressions.
    Focus on Literacy Topics

    Many teachers chose to focus their Action research on literacy topics, and how to integrate Bridges activities and approaches in their literacy curricula. Check out their research and see how their students developed active vocabulary, explored stories to build understanding of story concepts, wrote stories, developed details and more on the

    Multisensory Literate Expression Page


Use the resources below to advocate for this program to be part of your classroom practices.

  • Two students showing bumpy with their bodies during the quick pose warm up game.

    Share with your Administrator

    This page has information for your Principals and Assistant Principals.
  • Teaching artist holds up and points to his pencil in a classroom as he leads the drawing lesson.

    Bridge 1 - Evaluation

    Young children benefit from experiencing language in an authentic manner, & physically embodying language through an artistic process.
    External Evaluation
  • 1st grader smiles behind the smiling puppet face he is holding up.

    Bridge 2 - Evaluation

    Student's perceptions and understandings were reflected in their work.
    External Evaluation
  • Bird's eye view of student meticulously gluing her torn paper puppet's hair onto the head.

    Bridge 3 - Evaluation

    Artists typically learn to observe, reflect, construct meaning, represent complex ideas and engage in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy in the cognitive and affective domains.
    External Evaluation
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    What the Model Teaches

    The Bridges Model - Builds a foundation in essential working and thinking skills children need in all their endeavors.
    Learn More
Student working on a drawing at her desk.

Connections to Literacy

Bridges uses embodied comprehension to make abstract literacy concepts concrete and supports students to acquire the skills they need to communicate, express and develop their ideas.
Learn more about Literacy Connections