SANTA FE — Educator and illusionist Kevin Spencer, an authority on using magic to teach students with special needs, will present his Hocus Focus learning workshops Nov. 5-9 in Santa Fe public schools.
Spencer comes to Santa Fe through a Lensic Artist Residency and The Lensic’s Performing Arts Education program.
Spencer will teach 50-minute sessions in more than 21 special education and inclusive classrooms at 14 Santa Fe schools. He will teach the students one or two simple tricks, each designed to improve cognitive, motor, communication, and social skills while fostering creativity. Each activity is designed to align with Common Core standards.
The Hocus Focus program, developed by Spencer, is an arts-based multidisciplinary curriculum that builds on students’ innate curiosity. Spencer has found that when magic tricks are properly presented, they can result in student achievement, improved skills, and personal growth. Hocus Focus uses both teacher and peer instruction and contains elements of inquiry-based, problem-based, and project-based learning combined with hands-on, arts-integrated activities and responsive teaching.
Spencer holds a Certification in Autism Studies. His groundbreaking research on the educational benefits of magic tricks has been published in the Journal of the International Association of Special Education and Journal of the International Society for Teacher Education.
In 2015-16, 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.
Spencer also is a world-renowned illusionist with dozens of accolades to his credit. He and his wife, Cindy, who perform as “The Spencers,” received the 2009 Merlin Award for International Magicians of the Year and have been named Performing Arts Entertainers of the Year six times. In 2015, the Milbourne Christopher Foundation honored them as Illusionists of the Year for their unique contributions to the art of magic.
Spencer’s Lensic artist residency and Santa Fe outreach activities are generously sponsored by the Gale Family Foundation.
Arts Education Progams at The Lensic Performing Arts Center
The nonprofit Lensic Performing Arts Center, a landmark historic theater in the heart of Santa Fe, is home to arts and cultural experiences for everyone, all year round. In addition to hosting or presenting more than 200 events, The Lensic offers groundbreaking educational programs that touch the lives of 16,000+ students annually, including free school matinees, technical theater internships and scholarships, and master classes held at The Lensic and in local schools.
For more information about our arts education programs, visit www.lensic.org.