Saturday, December 31, 2011

Animal Adventure

At my afterschool job, I have been working on this play with my kindergartners for a few months now. This is the second play I have done with kindergartners. My first play was during school so it was a much different environment. I set the bar pretty high for them because I wanted to challenge myself as a teacher and I wanted to push them a little to see what they could do. Every student had at least one line that they had to memorize and and three students had about 5-10 lines. One of my most difficult students, who never listens and throws tantrums, ended up having one of the main parts. He really really wanted to be the monkey and he enjoyed rehearsing (he doesn't enjoy most of the activities that we do) so I thought it would be a good motivator for him to keep him involved. It was quite a feat just to get this kid to cooperate. The play is about a cat and dog who find 2 lost monkeys and travel around to different environments looking for the monkeys' home. In the environments they sang some very truncated songs with hand motions. I was very impressed with my kindergartners ability to memorize their lines given that most of them can not read yet.

The last week of rehearsals was a little bit rough. Rehearsing the same thing over and over again requires focus and disciple which 5 year olds do not have. There were a few of them though, I tell you, that would give 100% with every hand motion, in every entrance, in how they said their lines, no matter how many times I made them do it. Stars on the horizon here. I was nervous about how it would come together. I have seen a lot of shows come together at the last minute as the kids get serious when they have an audience. I knew they would remember their lines and the songs, I was just worried about their volume and the transitions.

I was actually pretty calm on the day of the performance as I am usually frantic and stressed. (Can only be the work of the Lord). I didn't even try to do a run through. Either they knew it or they didn't at that point. It didn't quite come together the way that I had hoped but I learned what I need to do differently next time. At first, they froze a little like deer in the headlights with the audience. I think it was a bit overwhelming having so many people staring at them. They were pretty quiet, and I had to lead them on and off stage more than I had hoped, making it look unprofessional. But I have to remember that they are 5 and it was probably one of their first times onstage. Their costumes looked cute though. I got a lot of good feedback from the parents who really enjoyed it. It just didn't quite live up to the standards that I had for it. But it was good experience for me to put on an actual performance, and really who tries a play with kindergartners? I do, because I know they can do it. I can't post pictures of the kids for their privacy, but here are some pictures of some of the animals masks that I made for the show.

The jellyfish were my favorite They looked really cute. And yes, that is a shower cap, but doesn't it work for well as the top of a jellyfish!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Holiday Season

The holiday season is always a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I do love a lot of Christmas traditions. I love the lights, songs, family camaraderie. On the other hand, the holidays can be a very stressful time. The consumerism of this nation drives me up the wall. I think this line from a commercial pretty much sums it up, "But if it looks the same, how will people know that I upgraded?" The Lord really needs to bring his judgment on this nation by how we behave around Christmas time. It's really disgusting. I went out this weekend to a shopping center and almost lost it. Two people snaked my parking spot and then when I finally did get a parking spot, I got yelled at because someone thought I stole their spot. After that, I was like, I need to leave or I am going to turn into one of these crazy people. Now, I am not trying to say that I am better than all these people. Obviously I can lose it too around the holidays too with the parking madness. I buy gifts for my family. I haven't figured out how to navigate this season with justice perfectly either. I am very much apart of this consumer driven culture as well. I feel stressed, lacking time to get everything done, and feel like I am missing out on anticipating the birth of Jesus. I am in need of repentance and forgiveness for my behavior as well. Lord would you break this hold that materialism has on this nation.

I also think that it's interesting to think about holiday shopping with the juxtaposition of Occupy Wall Street. Now, I am in general I am a very uninformed person, which is terrible, I know. But it seems that people are willing to protest the rich hording their wealth, but we are not willing to take responsibility for how we contribute to the problem of greed. Now maybe the people protesting are not the same crazy shoppers at the mall, but I think the general American public would support the movement of Occupy Wall Street but not want to give up their holiday shopping either. I say this living in LA, so I realize I have a skewed perspective on the nation. But don't these two things happening almost simultaneously seem strange?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Turkey Crafts

This was a Thanksgiving Turkey craft that I did with my students. I was actually really excited about how they turned out. I thought they looked really cute. Another use for toilet paper rolls. There is just so much you can make with them.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


In the midst of it being a tiring week and emotions flying around, I thought it would be good to reflect on things that I have been thankful for in this past year.

This year I am thankful for

-being fully employed finally. And having 2 jobs that I get to work with kids
-my adorable kinders. They bring me so much joy just to see their cute little faces
-being able to put on a play with my kinder soon
-teaching theatre at my summer camp this summer
-leading When Justice and Peace Kiss and being able to perform
-my beautiful nephew that I get to see in a few days
-my family that loves me and supports me, I am really thankful to be close to them
-my roommates that teach me how to eat healthier and pray with me
-men in my life that care about me
-what I have learned and been inspired by through Inner City Arts
-being able to understand more of how I experience God's love for me
-my bible study that encourages and love me
-the cuddly kids in my bible study who let me read to them and tickle them
-a car (after getting into a accident and having to buy a car, I take it for granted less)
- that friends of mine are finally able to adapt two children that we have been praying about for years!
-the cockroaches in my kitchen have been fewer recently
-my church that values caring for the poor and being a family of faith

PS Sorry that my blog posts have been so sporadic. Working full time has left me pretty trained so far.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Presenting.....SUPER ARTSY

Super Artsy is here to save the world from boredom, fear, insecurity, and school standards. She will kill you with her creativity, inspire you to express yourself, and turn your dull life into one blossoming with art, music, theatre, and dance.

Super Arty’s superpowers surpass any superhero out there. Her curtain cape will majestically open to present a play. She can shoot paint out of her wrists and then use her paintbrush fingers to paint you a picture. Her super piano utility belt includes everything Super Artsy could need. Extra paint for shooting, hot glue gun for your craft needs, retractable harmonic to bring some music to any dull moment, and a camera to capture the perfect moment. Her guitar powered goggles help her to see any situation in a new a creative way. Her dance shoes keep her light on her feet and ready at any moment to dance into action.

I love creative and punny Halloween costumes. I’ve been pretty excited about my Halloween costume for weeks now. I really wanted to be a superhero but there are no good girl superheroes. Really I want to Nacho Libre, but I don’t think I can pull that off. So I decided to create my own superhero. And what does the world need more of, ART! Really the whole process of creating this costume and character was so life giving for me. Not only is it creative for me to come up and make all of the different elements of the costume, but it so represents what I want to be. I really want to be Super Artsy! I want to bring creativity and art to children everywhere. I have felt really met and loved by God in this process as I get to create this alter ego that represents what I am passionate about. I felt closer to God as I was able to express so much of myself and feel affirmed in who I am. I don’t think that there is a costume that could better represent who I am. Its goofy, it’s childish, it’s creative. I want to develop this character further and maybe use it when I am teaching my art lessons. Super Artsy needs a theme song, a Sidekick, an Arch Nemesis, and a comic book series. If you have any ideas for these let me know.

Hot glue gun attack
Super Artsy with MJ
Super Artsy with LMFAO dancer

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This is what exhaustion feels like

This was my first full week of working 2 part time jobs. I am completely exhausted. This week was longer than normal weeks will be because my afterschool job had parent teacher conferences all week and the kids got out early. Here was my schedule for the week. Wake up at 6:00am. Leave the house by 7:00am. Teaching Assistant job in Westwood from 8am-12:45pm. Rush to LAX area, while eating lunch and changing my shirt in the car. (Not the safest driving week for me, but I had no other choice.) Second job as an afterschool teacher from 1:15pm-6:00pm. Get home around 7:00pm. Yeah I’m pretty tired. I came home everyday ready to collapse. I also got sick around Wed which made it exponentially difficult. What I got sick with was a little funny but a little too much for a public blog.

Not every week will be this bad. Only Tues will be rushed like this, but normally the other days I don’t have to be at the afterschool job until 2:00pm. I get a little break in between. It was much more difficult to transition than I was imagining. A lot of things in my schedule are changing now. I am used to having time with God in the morning, doing my lesson plans, and running errands. Now I have to cram that all into the evening and weekends. This week I was too exhausted to do anything when I got home, so I am little behind now.

The new job

So after a month of waiting to get my background check cleared, I finally started my new job as a teaching assistant at a school in Westwood. I am helping out with two different third grade classes. I wanted to work at a school to see if I could do the whole classroom teaching thing and if it would be worth it to get my teaching credential. I know it’s only been a week, but so far the answer to that question is no. I am so bored in these classes and I am not an 8 year old child with a short attention span. All they do all day is correct sentences, work on spelling words, answer questions from text books, and do math problems. I can not teach like that every day. These classrooms are also super crowded and there is barely any room to move. I don’t blame the teachers, I really don’t. They have all these standards and tests they have to meet and they have no space to be creative with their students. I know I don’t see everything, but in this small window, I am very concerned with the state of our education system and how our students are learning. Hopefully I can find ways in the small groups that I work with to be creative with them, but the environment makes it very difficult.

On a positive note, my afterschool job has been going pretty well. One of my most difficult kindergarteners had a dramatic change in behavior this week. We have really had problems with him pushing and hitting all year. It’s like literally, every 5 minutes he is putting his hands on someone. But his behavior has really turned around to the point where the hitting has almost completely stopped. I even gave him “Star of the Week” this week because of the improvement that I saw. Praise the Lord. Praying for these kids does work because there is nothing external that really changed in how we responded to him.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prayer Retreat and Peacocking

This weekend I went on a prayer retreat at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Ranchos Palos Verdes. Most of it was just personal praying. It was very nice to have the extended space to quite my thoughts down and spend time with God. There were places that the retreat center where it was absolutely silent. Living the city, sometimes you forget what absolute silent sounds life. Even as I sit here and write this I hear the neighbor’s dog barking incessantly.

There are also peacocks at the retreat center. I think the ideas of peacocks are funny because it’s the male who is beautiful and draws the female in by his beauty. Where is our culture, it’s the women who try to look beautiful for men. Can we swap for a little bit and be like peacocks? Can men wear the dresses, high heels, makeup, and curl their hair? Can the women throw on a t-shirt and backwards hat for a little while?

It was good to hear from the Lord in different ways. In the midst of having someone pray for me, we were drawn to Isaiah 53:2 “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” I consider myself a very plain person. And to some extent that is intentional. I do not dress in a way that really draws attention to myself. It was good to be affirmed that it is ok to be plain in my appearance. There was nothing in Jesus appearance that would draw people to him, yet someone thousands flocked to see, hear, and touch him. I hope that I would become a person who is intriguing not by my appearance but by the way that I live and the things that I say. Jesus never needed to be “peacocking” to get attention, yet he got it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Beauty and the Ugly of LA

Yes, that is a cockroach of the inside of the glass of my microwave. There have been about 3 living there for a while. We are considering getting a new microwave but we have no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen to that one too. So gross. Dear cold weather, please come and scare the cockroaches go into hibernation. Please play against the cockroaches of our apt.

On a brighter note, I saw this amazing double rainbow on my home from work a few days ago. I don’t think I have ever seen a rainbow so bright. It was a nice reminder that amidst the smog and filth of the city, beauty can still shine through. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children as Parables

One of the reasons that I love working with children is because they can be great parables for my own life. Children are much more open with their emotions, say what they mean, and do not over analyze things. Jesus calls us to enter the kingdom of God like children because they are innocent, untainted by the world, and open. Here are some stories that God has spoken to me through.

On the first day of school, I was taking my kinders on the field to run a lap. I was running in a line with them to teach them how to run around the perimeter of the field. One girl fell down and scraped her knee. For kindergarteners this can be very traumatic, they can feel like they are dying. It can take a while for them to recover from a fall. The next time when I took them out onto the field the little girl did not want to run a lap for fear that she would fall again. Every day she says the same thing to me. Because her first experience being on the field was being hurt, that is what she associates the environment with and fears the same experience will happen to her. It reminded me of how often we have a first experience of something that we hold onto and assume the same thing will happen. Especially if we are hurt in relationships, we can not let go of that experience, assuming the same thing will happen each time.

Another little girl will hide her face in her hands when she is sad. When I try to engage with her, she says nothing and buries her face. I say to her, “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help you if you hide from me.” Sometimes I feel like I respond to God that way. I just want to bury my face and hide. Although God knows what is wrong with us, he is always inviting me tell him why I am upset. He gets down on my level and waits for me to respond to him as I do with my students.

I spent about a week with my nephew right after he was born, helping my sister out. Newborns really just sleep and eat. Since my sister was mainly handling the eating part, my time with him was while he slept. Most of the times that I held him he was sound asleep. But I was not bothered by this. I just enjoyed being with him. Now that he is a little older, he does a lot of more than eating and sleeping. He crawls, smiles, plays, makes faces, laughs. But he doesn’t need to do those things for me to love him. I still enjoy watching him sleep in his car seat on the way home. Even when he poops over the cute little outfit I bought him, I still love him. And isn’t that a good reminder of the way that God interacts with us. When we feel like we need to do things for him or prove ourselves to him, really all he wants is to spend time with us.

One thing that I am trying to work on with my kinders is walking in a straight line and keeping our hands to ourselves. What I expect of them in line is that they keep their hands by their sides, (I call out to them, show me soldiers, and the straighten up) face forward, and pay attention to where the line is moving. But it is a very difficult task as kinders have a lot of energy and are easily distracted. They often flail limbs of their bodies any which way, causing them to hit other children unintentionally. They are distracted by a bug, stick, or a noise and hold up the line. I get frustrated with them in how often I to stop and refocus them to get in line and repeat the same instructions. But how often an I easily distracted in prayer and have to learn things from God over and over again.

My roommate reminded me how emotions are kind of like kindergarteners. For those of us who are “J”s out there, we like things to be organized and predictable. Js who are also Fs are often frustrated when are emotions are unpredictable and come up at inconvenient time. Often I find myself trying to organize my emotions like in kinders. I want them to be in a nice straight line and follow me the way that I want them to go. But often them push, and fall, are distracted and sway from the way that I want them to go. I have to remember that my kinders are 5 and it’s the nature of their age to be distracted and need to move their body all around. In the same way I can not manage my emotions and force them to behave the way that I want them to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

General Update

This a general update on a few different things. I have not been motivated to blog recently. Hopefully that will change soon. I should be writing a one year in review post since I have been living in LA for a year now. We shall see if the reflection for that post will come about.

New School Year

I started the new school year with my afterschool job. I was very resistant about starting because it was a really great summer and the previous year had been very difficult. But the staff team and I were all dedicated to starting the year off on a good foot and being very consistent with our disciple.

I got a fresh batch of kindergarteners. I am also working with another group of 1-5th graders. I switch off between those two groups. The new kindergarteners are adorable with cute little personalities and challenges of their own. But I am not going to lie, I miss my kindergarteners from last year terribly. It was very hard seeing them the first few days in their new group but not being able to work with them. Even though they were very difficult and gave me a lot of trouble, I am very attached to them. I get attached to kids very easily. I really only get to see them at the very end of the day and most are picked up by then. But I know I will grow attached to this new group as well.

I am learning that every group is very different in what they do well and what is challenging for me in teaching them. Last year my Ks were excited about everything. They were happy with any activity that I gave them. But they would be so excited that they would scream and get out of control easily. It hard to calm them down enough to actually do the activity.

The group this year is more mellow but also less engaged. They Ks this year will say, “This is boring,” or “I want to go home.” Last year they NEVER said that, they loved everything, even homework time. But this year I have to work harder to keep them engaged, but they are not as out of control.

I am teaching theatre one day a week but it’s harder and less rewarding than the summer. The kids are constantly getting picked up throughout the class so it interrupts the flow of the lesson and a lot of the kids miss it.

New job

I also just got another job as a teaching assistant at a different school. Praise the Lord! I am soon to be fully employed with 2 part time jobs. I am waiting for my background check to clear so I haven’t started that one yet. It’s going to be a busy schedule for me. The teaching assistant job is 8-12:45 and Star is 2-6, except Tues its 1-6. The two jobs are about 30 min away although I have not tried the commute yet. I will most likely be eating my lunch in the car on the way. But I grateful for the hours and to have another position working with children. I am hoping to learn a lot by being in a classroom and seeing if I could really do the whole teaching thing. I am trying to discern if I should go back to school to get my teaching credential.

Exploring LA through Hiking

I have been able to go hiking a few times in LA recently which has been really nice. But please note, do not hike to a waterfall on Memorial Day. It felt more like a waiting in lines at a theme park than hiking.

Seeing Connor

I got to go out to Arizona and see the love of my life, Connor James briefly one weekend. He’s almost 9 months now, wow. He’s crawling all over the place and can pull himself up to standing. My sister got me a webcam for my birthday so I can skype with him now. I miss him terribly. He hasn’t hit fear of strangers yet so he’s still happy to see me when I come. He’s really a very happy baby and hardly ever cries. You can take a toy away from him or take his pacifier away and it doesn’t seem to bother him a bit. He just moves onto something else. The last trip I was out there I was trying to predict his Meyers Briggs already. I can’t help myself. Right now I am predicting an ENTP. He seems pretty extroverted because he likes people to be involved in his playing; he doesn’t play very well by himself. It seem like he takes in the bigger picture of a new room not just focusing on the small details so I think he’s intuitive. The Thinker/ Feeler was hard to predict. The only reason I predicted T was because he’s not easily upset by anything. He’s not a very emotional baby. I really think he’s going to be a P because he really just goes with the flow of whatever is going on and doesn’t really stick to a good eating or sleeping schedule. My very J sister does not appreciate that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Car Flyer Collage

I hope South LAers will recognize this art. For those of you who do not live in South LA, we frequently get fliers on our windshield on a daily basis. This was really annoying me when I first moved to LA because I already have so much trash in my car. But then I decided that I would save them and make them into some sort of art project. This way, instead of getting annoyed when I found a flyer on my car, I would think, "Ooo new flyer for my project."

My roommate commented that the car is green in more than one way.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Am Poems

There is a poem template called "I am poems." Its pretty commonly used in schools I think. I did it with 2 of my classes this summer. It went pretty well. I love more creative ways at trying to learn about students and their lives other than just having them write about themselves. Here is the template of the I am poem and below is my I am poem. I was going to post some of my students poems but I think its a little too personal and I did not ask their permission.


I am (two special characteristics)
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I wonder (something you are actually curious about)
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I hear (an imaginary sound)
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I see (an imaginary sight)
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I want (an actual desire)
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I am (the first line of the poem restated)
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I pretend (something you pretend to do)
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I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)
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I worry (something that really bothers you)
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I cry (something that makes you very sad)
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I am (the first line of the poem repeated)
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I believe (something you believe in)
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I dream (something you actually dream about)
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I try (something you make an effort to do)
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I hope (something you actually hope for)
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I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I am Megan Ibarra
I am weird and artistic
I wonder how sound really comes out of a radio.
I hear the rain patter on my windowsill
I see the faces of my smiling students
I want to get married
I am weird and artistic
I pretend that I am on my grandpop's farm.
I feel excited
I worry about money too much
I cry when I hear about children who are abused
I am weird and artistic
I believe that God is always with me
I dream that my neighborhood would be a safe place for everyone
I try to cook
I hope to see my nephew soon
I am weird and artistic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

1 Year of Job Searching and Some Numbers

Aug 23rd officially marks 1 year that I have been job searching since moving to Los Angeles. Now of course I have not been unemployed for a year, praise the Lord. Nor have I been job searching that entire time. But a majority of the year I have been either unemployed or partially employed and looking for more part time or full time work. Although it is not my favorite way to be spending my time, I have accepted that it is necessary to continue to pursue what I love to do and trust God that he will provide for my needs. Some days it’s really hard and discouraging, while others it just seems like such a normal part of my routine that I hardly even think about it.

I thought it would be fun to list some statistics of my job searching. I keep a pretty detailed spreadsheet of jobs that I have applied for so that I can keep track of them and be able to follow up. I’m not trying to brag about my job searching efforts (because if I was so good at it, I would be fully employed by now.) I just think it would be fun to look back at the year

Since Aug 23rd 2010

Total jobs applied for


Versions of my resume




Jobs held


Job offers

10 (including the ones I took)

Full time jobs applied for

around 30

Jobs that I really wanted that were perfect for me that I didn’t get


Office jobs applied to


After school programs


Jobs in schools/ teaching assistant type jobs


Nanny jobs


Arts related jobs


The rest are non profits other jobs that I didn’t want to categorize


Months in which I did NOT apply for any jobs


Pay range of jobs I have applied for

$9 per hour-45K a year

Applied for from Craig’s list




Arts for LA


Career builder


Nonprofit coop




Lausd website


A few things surprised me as I was making this today.

  1. Out of 232, only about 30 of them are full time jobs. That means I am not qualified for a lot jobs in the field I want to be in and there are just not a lot of full time jobs available in the jobs that I want to be in.

    I have only applied for 13 arts related jobs, and not all of those are working with kids. This saddens me for the same reasons as above.

Maybe there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that I am going about this or maybe I am being too picky in what I am applying for. As I have prayed about this I felt like God is still pushing me to do what I love. There have been many times I have considered settling for a full time office job but I have not felt like it is the time to do that yet.

But I have also been thinking more long term about what I steps I need to take to really build these little jobs into a career. Two things stand out to me: Going back to school to get my teaching credential or masters in theatre. Both of which do not sound appealing whatsoever at the moment. But one of those looks like the path that I will eventually need to take at some point. I am not sure which yet.

Although this process may seem discouraging when you look at the statistics there are many things to be grateful to God about throughout this process:

  1. He has given me work when others have none at all
  2. He has sustained me financially, always having enough money for everything I need and more. Most of year I have been spending more than I make, given that my expenses are just more than I make right now. I am reminded of the miracle of the fish and loaves where God multiplies what has been given. Somehow there has always been enough money in my bank account. It is really a miracle when I take the time to look back.
  3. Even in the midst of job insecurity, the Lord has provided the resources for me to be able to buy a car after my old car was totaled in an accident earlier this year.
  4. Of the 5 jobs I have held, 4 have been working with kids. It has been really life giving for me to be around kids again as it was very difficult for me the 2 years that I was at the insurance company.
  5. Of the 5 jobs I have held, 3 have involved being able to teach theatre in some capacity. I have been able to develop my theatre lessons and see students express their uniqueness through the arts.
  6. This summer I have been fully employed. Even though I was fundraising partially, God found a way to give me full time employment through 2 jobs.
  7. This summer I was almost completely teaching theatre between my two jobs. Both of which were great experiences.
  8. Because I have had some free time, I have been able to volunteer at Inner City Arts. This nonprofit has really captured my heart, taught me so much about arts education, and fueled my passions for creative teaching.
  9. I have learned more how to trust God with my finances. (A lesson that is always in progress for me.) I have seen how God really cares about the thing I am passionate about and wants to provide ways for me succeed in a career of teaching theatre.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shakespeare Week

I gave myself a challenge of doing a Shakespeare week with my students. I thought it would be good to put on my resume and a challenge for the kids.

Older Group-4-5th

I tried to find ways to simplify the language or find some sort of Shakespeare for kids book. I found one on Amazon but I didn’t want to pay for it. So I decided to just throw them into the Shakespeare deep end with the original language and see how they did. I put together two short scenes, one for the girls and one for the guys. The guy’s scene was from Romeo and Juliet. It was the few lines right before Mercuito is stabbed. I told them the basic storyline up until that point. The scene that I printed out had the original language and modern translation off to the side to help them. I read it with them and went through what each line meant. Then I had them read it and act it out. Some of them did remarkably well with the language. Other struggled, which I expected but I give them props for trying. There was not too much grumbling or “this is so boring.” All the boys wanted to be Romeo even though he doesn’t actually fight in this part of the scene that I gave them.

The girl’s scene I picked was from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a Helena/Hermia scene at the beginning of the play. Midsummer is one of my favorite Shakespeares, but probably because I was in it in high school. But I realized that Midsummer is a very confusing play. So I only explained the Hermia/Lysander and Helena/ Demertius part of the play. And only how it begins, the love triangle at the beginning is hard enough to understand. I bribed them with candy to answer questions about what they remembered from the play and the scene they practiced. One the third day of going over these scenes I gave them the challenge that if they could memorize one of the long lines in one of the scenes I would give them a packet of Oreos. And believe it or not, in a 30 minuet class, I had one student who memorized Mercutio’s “Good King of Cats” line. I was very impressed.

I think if I were to do it again I would want to find something that just had parts of the real language. It was cool to give them the whole scene in the original language so that they really got a feel for the poetry, but reading an entire scene for some was a bit painful. It was hard to get to the acting part because there was so much focus on just reading the words. But it was my first time teaching this and I was impressed but what they could do and their attitude toward it.

The little guys K-1, and 1-2

I debated for a long time doing anything Shakespeare with the little guys. I wanted to do something from Midsummer because fairies seem exciting and enchanting, but Midsummer is just too complicated. When going through the plays, most Shakespeare’s plays are not exactly “G” rated content. I finally settled on The Tempest because it has dog chase scene, magic, and fairies. I found a book in the library that was kind of like comic book Shakespeare. But because the pictures where small I decided to just find some clip art for each character and tell them the story through like little story board. Shakespeare’s characters have very difficult names. I was really impressed by their ability to remember almost all the names. I think the visuals really helped. The first day I told them the story using the clip art of the different characters and the next day I asked them questions about the story and who ever answered correctly got to act out the play. It went pretty well except they hate the Miranda and Ferdinand getting married part. It’s the least amount of love story I could find in a Shakespeare comedy.

Overall it wasn't perfect Shakespeare week but they got some exposure and it was good practice for me as teacher to see what worked and did not work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finally: WJPK in Review

“Two hearts one dream, two hearts one story”

“The only mistake I can make is not to chase it.”

“Dreams that give us space”

What we created

These are a few quotes from the original songs, sketches, and poems from this year’s production of When Justice and Peace Kiss. This summer 10 adult artists and 25 high school youth came together to create 5 original songs, 3 dances, 2 monologues, 2 sketches, 2 spoken word pieces, 2 poems, and 4 paintings around the theme of our hopes and dreams. Throughout this program youth were able to express dreams that have been broken in the past, ways they have seen God fulfill their dreams, and dreams that they have for their future. All of the groups were really excited to perform in the different artistic mediums. The students gave themselves fully to the rehearsal process and even more to the performance. After four weeks of creating and rehearsing, we held a culminating performance at a local theater in which we invited family and the community to come see the work that we created. It was a wonderful night and many were impressed at the quality of art these students brought forth.

My Passions Come Alive

My role in the project was to lead the team of adult artists and teachers, write and perform my own monologue, and write and direct the theater sketch for the youth. The combination of these experiences really highlighted my passions and talents, making it a really life giving and joyful summer. The students that I worked with in the theatre group all had a common dream of wanting to graduate and make their parents proud. The sketch that we wrote was about one student’s struggle to graduate and people encouraging and discouraging him along the way. The students were very excited to learn their lines and were almost completely memorized after the first rehearsal. The one student that was a little hesitant on performing did a fabulous job and thanked me after the performance for pushing him to do it.

We had an amazing team of adult artists who were really dedicated to teaching the youth. It was wonderful to lead them as they discovered what it means to be a Christian that creates engaging art. It was great for me to care for and work with a team of peers who have similar passions to my own.

Although it was a challenge to plunge into the world of performing again, it was great to work out those acting muscles for myself. I loved the experience of creating a character that is very different from me but still able to express dreams that I have. I challenged myself with trying a New Jersey accent which turned out to be really fun. The monologue was about a women who cared about kid's stories and wanted the world to hear them through songs that she wrote.

What I am most passionate about is giving young people an outlet to express themselves artistically and have their voice be heard. This summer fully encapsulated that passion and desire for me.

One of the youth songs
Youth dance piece
The drama group
Part of a poetry sequence of the skit

My monologue