Kevin Spencer Creative Writing, Theatre, Drama, and Magic!

Curtis Mailloux
photo to Jeffrey Hornstein

Name

Kevin Spencer
Hocus Focus, Inc.
PO Box 10396
434-384-4740
Email Address: kevin@HocusFocusEducation.com
Website:
- HocusFocusEducation.com
- CPR4Classrooms.com

Educational Background/Training:

  • B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, Liberty University (VA)
  • M.Ed. Arts & Academic Interdisciplinary Education (candidate), Southeastern University (FL)
  • Certification in Autism Studies
  • Special Education Faculty, Carlow University (PA)

Biography

Kevin Spencer is a teaching artist, researcher, speaker, consultant, and award-winning film producer as well as faculty in the Special Education program at Carlow University (PA) where he teaches a course on the intersection of the arts for special populations. He is also a world-renowned illusionist with dozens of accolades to his credit. He and his wife, Cindy, were the recipients of the Merlin Award for International Magicians of the Year (2009) and six-time recipients of Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year. Most recently, the Milbourne Christopher Foundation honored them as Illusionists of the Year (2015) for their unique contributions to the art of magic.

Spencer is considered the leading authority on the educational and therapeutic benefits of magic tricks in the classroom. His work has taken him around the world (44 countries) where he has conducted professional development training for educators and interactive classroom activities for students. He is a regular speaker at international education conferences and believes in the power of the arts to bring transformative educational experiences to students of all abilities.
Spencer is the creator of the Hocus Focus project (an arts-based multidisciplinary curriculum) and holds a Certification in Autism Studies. His groundbreaking research on the educational benefits of integrating magic tricks into the classroom for all students, including those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, has been published in the Journal of the International Association of Special Education and the Journal of the International Society for Teacher Education.  In 2015/2016, he was the lead investigator in the development of an assessment instrument designed to measure student outcomes using an arts-integrated teaching approach. The paper, The Development and Psychometric Investigation of an Assessment Instrument for Educators, was accepted for publication and presentation at the 2017 American Educational Research Association conference.

Fees

  • 1-day residency: $850 plus expenses
  • 3-day residency: $2,500 plus expenses
  • 5-day residency: $4,000 plus expenses
  • Professional Development Training: $1,500 plus expenses
  • Sensory Friendly Relaxed Family Performance: Call for fees

Audience

Interactive Classroom Activities

  • Upper elementary, middle, and lower high school students
  • University students

Professional Development Training

  • Educators (general and special education)

After-school Enrichment Programs

  • Upper elementary, middle, and lower high school students

Sensory Friendly Relaxed Performances

  • All ages and abilities

Availability:

  • Contact us for available dates.

Educational Program Description:

INTERACTIVE CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
Spencer will visit special education and inclusive classrooms (upper elementary, middle and lower secondary levels) for 50-minute interactive activities. Students will learn one or two simple magic tricks designed to improve cognitive, motor, communication, and social skills while developing creativity.  Each activity was developed in alignment with Common Core Standards of Learning.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
Spencer offers several Professional Development training programs for general and/or special educators on arts-integration in the classroom.  Topics include:

Special Education & Arts Integration: The IDEA legislation mandates that students must be educated in the “least restrictive environment.” However, according to a study released in 2015 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, almost half of all teacher preparation programs do not mandate field experience with special education students; consequently, few general education teachers are prepared to work with the students they will inevitably have in their classrooms. It is critical that children with special needs aren’t simply “present” in the classroom but are actively “included” in the learning experience. This workshop will focus on arts-integrated teaching methods that are applicable to general and special education students to meet a wide variety of cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and behavior challenges in multiple settings.

Teach Like A Magician: This highly interactive workshop provides teachers with the tools and knowledge necessary to increase student engagement, boost creativity in the classroom, and transform their life as an educator. In these challenging and changing times, students need leaders who are willing to venture forward and explore new frontiers that will spark and kindle the flame of creativity and imagination.

Autism & Arts Integration: Many teachers are keenly aware of an increase in the number of students with autism spectrum disorders in their classrooms. In this session, participants explore questions about what autism is, how it affects people, and how some strategies are utilized to help students with autism learn through the arts. Spencer will address the impact the arts can have on motor skills, communication, emotional/behavior, socialization, sensory challenges, cognitive processes and executive function when working with students with autism/ADHD and offers practical suggestions for teachers to use.

Magic in the Classroom: Phenomenon-Based Learning is a pedagogy in which the student’s own curiosity becomes the driver for learning. The student explores, not from the point of view of trudging through a project or problem, but as a result of seeing some interesting phenomenon and wanting to understand what is going on. This works because interest and enthusiasm do not result from the content alone; they come from the students themselves as they discover more about the phenomenon. In this workshop, the art of illusion is the discipline, the “phenomenon” to which students are exposed. Through the exploration of the methods used to execute a magic trick, students are given the opportunity and encouraged to participate in the productive exchange of ideas associated with the trick. Because magic taps into the natural curiosity of people, this project has the potential to capture the shared interests of all participants and actively engage them in producing, creating, experimenting, and designing as materials and methods used in the trick are manipulated and changed.

STEAM & Phenomenon-based Learning: This workshop is centered on the advancement of next generation learning (NGL) and 21st century skills. Well-prepared teachers are essential to the successful implementation of Next Generation Learning that draws upon recent findings in how children learn best – phenomenon-based learning that is creative and collaborative. This workshop will focus on (1) defining the concept of “phenomenon-based learning,” (2) exploring the connections between Phenomenon-based Learning, State Education Standards, and/or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), (3) providing teacher training on designing authentic learning experiences for students using PBL concepts, (4) examining the effects of cooperative learning groups that embrace diversity in learners and, (5) implementing engaging activities that illustrate science, language arts, and math concepts through an arts-integrated approach (STEAM).

AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS
“Magic Camp” combines learning magic tricks with storytelling, music, theatre, and creative movement. Through the art of magic, “campers” explore their curiosity, develop their magical creativity, and discover new confidence. And when camp is over, the students perform a live magic show for family and friends that will surely baffle and amaze them! This is limited to 20 students and is held for two hours after school each day.

INTERACTIVE UNIVERSITY CLASSROOM PRESENTATIONS
Spencer is faculty in the special education department of Carlow University (PA) where he teaches a course on the intersection of the arts and special education.  He also is one of a select few to have the Approved Provider Status of the American Occupational Therapy Association. He brings valuable experience and expertise to discussions relating to the impact and benefits of arts integration in:

  • Education
  • Special Education
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Sciences

SENSORY-FRIENDLY RELAXED FAMILY PERFORMANCES
For more than 20 years, Spencer toured internationally in the performing arts arena. He gained a reputation of professionalism and unparalleled quality in the industry. Today, he offers a family and sensory friendly performance suitable for audiences of all ages. Its uncomplicated production values make it technically trouble-free delivering an impressive performance that is also affordable.

 

Additional Information