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.