Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Penguins!!!

 This is probably one of my favorite projects with the students. Look how cute they turned out! I stole from pintrist. The head and body are from an egg carton. The project was kind of epic, it was a good thing I didn't have too many students that day. They had to paint the body and head first and wait for it to dry. Then all the other little piece most needed assistant with. The cotton balls did not want to glue very well. But worth it for how cute the result is.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Laughing


video


This weekend I felt like I was able to laugh a lot with people. It felt really good. Laughter to me is a sign that Jesus is bringing me into more of a season of joy. It means that I am able to be myself and enjoy being with others. I am thankful for friends to laugh with and stupid movies to laugh at.

The video is of Connor laughing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Twirled Art?

 I am not sure exactly what to call this art. I had students coil small strips of paper to make a design. I love watching children create art because they invent things all their own. I try as much as I can not to limit their creative process.


 The one above is not exactly what I wanted them to do, but its their creation and how they interpreted the project, so I love it.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Students Original Plays

One of my most random characters in the plays

For the past few months I have been working with my students on writing their own original plays. I did this as a group through a process. First we worked on characters, then setting, problem and solution and lastly plot. We did this as a group so that each group created one original short play. I let the oldest group write their own lines and I wrote out the play for the younger groups. I really love how they turned out because you can tell that children came up with this.The characters are really random. They are very short, but I couldn't give them too much to start.

Here is a brief synopsis of each of the plays

K/1st Grade
The play opens with 3 scientist traveling into a volcano to study it. On the way they meet a jaguar who lives there that takes them deep into the lava. In the lava they find 5 princesses who are trapped. They call some power rangers and a nurse to help, but neither can get them out. The princesses use their magical powers to free themselves just as a pack of tigers is coming to attack them. Luckily the Power Rangers are able to save them from the tigers and they manage to escape just before the volcano explodes.

2nd/3rd Grade
The play opens with 3 models having a fashion shoot in NY city. The local superheroes have become jealous of all the media attention celebrities are getting instead of life saving superheroes. They decide to hire a wizard to make the Statue of Liberty come to life to attack the city. They will then save the city from this horrible attack and everyone will recognize them again. Their plan foils when they are unable to stop the Statue of Liberty who is lighting the city on fire. The wizard, for a heavy price, stops the Statue of Liberty before she destroys everything. The conflict between the models and superheroes is resolved in the end.

4th and 5th.
The play opens with a king and queen going on vacation and leaving their precious daughter in the hands of the guards and dragons of the castle. With her parents gone, the princess decides to throw a party against the advice of her pet hamster. However, nearby zombies and vampires see this as an opportunity to capture the princess. They distract the guards and dragons and make their way into the party. The vampire tries to get the princess to marry him, and when she refuses, he sends zombies to capture her. The hamster tries to come to the rescue but is unable to save the princess. Just then, the King and Queen return having forgotten something and find their daughter captured. The queen demands they release her and the king is very upset with the guards for not keeping a closer eye on things. The play ends with everyone being able to enjoy the party.

As we have started to rehearse the play, I have been very excited as I feel like I am a real theatre teacher. Since the beginning of the year I have been working with them on some acting fundamentals. I taught them how to stand on stage, volume, diction, areas of  stage. etc.  Now, when I tell them to stand downstage left, they know where to go. I can uses theatre terms that they recognize. So far they are enjoying the rehearsal process. They look forward to it and ask me if we are rehearsing everyday. It has been a very rewarding experience for me thus far.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Zumba


Now anyone who knows me knows that exercising and me do not go together. I just can't do it. I'm a baby. I can't push through the pain and tiredness. However, if I trick myself into doing something that is not called exercise then I can do a lot more. For instance, hiking, I love it, and can trick my mind into thinking that I am not really exercising. I walked for miles everyday when I was in Europe. However, put my on a treadmill and I will be over it in about 10 minutes.

A friend of mine invited me to come with her to a Zumba class. That sounds like an exercise class, I can't do exercise classes. I have bad memories of almost passing out in my high school aerobics class. She said  "No its like dancing." I decided to give it a try. I didn't know this ahead of time, but I was the only white girl in this class. The Zumba class is just a few blocks from my house and was all Latina women. My awkward whiteness and freakishly tallness stuck out like a sore thumb. Even though i am 1/4 Mexican, boy does that not come out at all in my rhythm. I am all gringo when it comes to Latin dancing. But taking the advise of a friend a while back, I decided I am just going to own it. I am going to own my whiteness and tallness and just do this, and do it badly, but do it. Sometimes I felt very self conscious about my lack of hip action in the dance moves but when I was able to let that go, I had a lot of fun. I hope that having a buddy will help me to keep this being a regular thing. I just have to keep tricking myself that I am not working out, even though I am covered in sweat when I leave.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

City scape and Negative Space

Here is some art projects that I did with my students recently.
 The above is a city scape in which they used pastels to make a sunset.

This is a negative space project where I had them tape off a design and then paint over the background. After the paint dried, I ripped off the tape to reveal the design. Hardest part of the project: ripping tape off a roll of masking tape. Even the older ones could not rip it off. Did not think that would be so challenging.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Turtle Shells


I was praying today, asking God to speak to me about how I was feeling. He got me thinking on turtles. Often I get strange images from God. Lat night I got a frog while praying for a friend. Anywho, I was thing about this recent episode of "The Office" that I just watched. In this episode, Kevin runs over a turtle with his car. He feels bad so he tries to glue the pieces of the turtle shell back together. However, he's not very good at puzzles so he takes different things he finds around of office to fill in the missing parts. As he is gluing the pieces on, he steps on the turtle, again breaking the shell more. But he is determined to build it back even stronger than before. Despite his efforts, he realizes that the turtle has died.

Its a pretty funny clip, but as I was praying this morning I realized that I feel like this poor turtle. I have been broken by my sins, by pain, by disappointments. Sometimes I feel like I operate with this broken shell full on pieces in the wrong place and trying to fill in the gaps with things that don't belong. And despite my best efforts, there always seem to be somethings that breaks my shell again and I have to find a way to try to glue the pieces back on. And the shell is getting heavy with these random objects glued on it. Ultimately, if we live like this, it does lead to death. We can not fix ourselves and the more we try the more we will just continue to break it. We can not live with a broken shell forever, it will kill us. In the same way, sin has that hold on us. If we try to fix it ourselves or patch it up with other things it will only lead us to death.

I need a new shell, that I can only get from the Lord. No amount of glue can fix the brokeness in me. As I was praying about this, the Lord gave me this image of the turtle being burdened by this hodgepodge of a broken shell. The turtle curls inside the shell. On the inside is a perfect strong shell, smooth and clean. The Lord was reminding me that this is how he sees me. My sins have been wiped away and he gives me a strong smooth shell that can not be broken. There is no need to glue myself back together or try to fix myself, because he provides a brand new shell. There is still healing to be done but he does not see me as the turtle in the picture above.

Below are some more pictures from the episode.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

East Coast Trip


These posts are a little late but I am trying to catch up. This summer I took a trip to the East Coast. The motivation was 2 fold: visit family that I haven't seen in a while, and check out some grad schools.

Grad schools
For about a year now I have been considering going back to school to get my Masters in Educational Theatre. Unfortunately, there are not any of these programs in California. In California you can not get your teaching credential in single subject theatre, like you can for music or visual art. High school drama teachers have their credential in English usually. However in some other states like NY and MA you can get your credential in theatre. I figure that if I am going to spend a lot of time and money on grad school I better study something I am really passionate about. And its just a really bad time for CA teachers right now anyway. However if I were to get my credential in lets say NY, I would prob need to teach there because it would be hard to transfer it back here. So I have had these things in mind as I have been looking into schools.
The three main schools that I was considering and wanting to look into was, NYU, The City College of New York and Emerson which is in Boston. I happened to pick the worst time to visit, it seems. It was after summer school and before fall semester so I was only able to schedule a time to meet with a NYU professor. I didn't get to see much of the other schools other than the outside.


Pennsylvania,
It was really good to be back in my old childhood summer home. We spent some times with cousins. It felt really relaxing, which is what I had needed after an exhausting school year and busy summer. I even played Monopoly with my cousin, can't remember the last time I played that game. It was a bit surreal to see them all grown up as I haven't seen some of the in like 5 years.

 New York
We started north and walked around City College of NY. Then we headed down to Central Park. It seemed close at the time but it retrospect we should have taken the subway.

 We walked A LOT. Passed Columbia on the way and walked through the library. I love parks so I was very excited to spend a lot of time in Central Park. We were trying to get a good recommendation for somewhere to eat lunch and got very lost trying to find the Shake Shack. (When a New Yorker tells you its a 10 minute walk, really its like 30 min). We were totally exhausted but finally found it and enjoyed some delicious burgers.

 We were trying to find the middle of the park after that. I had this fountain in m mind from Enchanted but didn't know what it was called. After some negotiating, we talked one of those bicylce cabs into a good deal to get us a ride into Shepard's Meadow. (Or something like that). But then it closed. Bummer. Thankfully after walking around a bit more the Lord somehow led us to the fountain I was looking for.
My family has this tradition on making silly music videos. My sister and I decided to film one on this trip. So we filmed some shots in Central Park and even asked some strangers to be in it.
Then we headed onto Washington Square and NYU. We had some time to kill before meeting with the professor so we rested in Washington Square and asked some sailors to be in our video.


 We had dinner in Little Italy and then stayed the night with a old friend and his wife in Brooklyn. They were amazing hosts. It was great to hear about the church that he was pastoring in Brooklyn. The next day his wife took us around the city a little more. We went to Chelsea Market and Highline Park. This was one of my favorite things in NY. They converted this old railroad track into a garden that stretches about 2 miles long. Then we caught a bus in Chinatown up to Boston.



 Boston
It was a Fri afternoon and raining so our bus was VERY delayed. We were bummed about missing out more time in Boston but it ended up being ok. We checked into our hostel and went to eat at the Bell in Hand, oldest pub in US. There wasn't much happening so we didn't stay to late.
The next day we briefly checked out Emerson, most of it was closed. We walked around some old cobblestone streets and illegally found our way onto a roof.


 We walked around Boston Commons and Boston Garden. It was really beautiful. I really liked the town of Boston. It's small enough to walk and doesn't feel as chaotic as NY. I actually think it seems too comfortable and suburban for me though. We filmed a bit more of the music video. We took a tour of the freedom trail and I was embarrassed at how much history I have forgotten.
 We took the "T" out to Fenway Park. We were very disappointed at how little there was to see and do. A guess it's only happening if there is a game going on. Then we caught the bus back NY. We wondered our way around the city to take the PATH back to NJ where my uncle's car was parked.



We ended the trip back in PA where we had a lovely dinner with my Grandmom and more family to celebrate my birthday.

It was a great trip. A good mix of relaxing and fun. After the trip I decided that I am not ready to apply to grad school right now. None of the schools wowed me. I still would love to go back at some point but I don't think I can make such as big move right now.

If you want to see the music video that we made, its on google +

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Suburban vs. Urban Living




When I go to visit my mom and sister in Phoenix a few things always stand out to me. My life in LA is very different from their quiet residential community. The small things always catch me. My comparison here is two very specific houses, so I am not trying to generalize all of suburban and urban living.


In suburbia there is great lighting in the bathroom in which I can clearly see myself.
In suburbia there is a lot of counter space in the bathroom to put my straightener, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and anything else I wanted to put in arms reach. In my bathroom we can only hold hand soap.
In suburbia there are not ants and cockroaches meandering around your sinks and cabinets.
In suburbia you can leave dishes in the sink overnight without worrying about finding a swarm of bugs invading the next morning.
In suburbia you don't have to hold down the handle for 30 sec to get the toilet to flush.
In suburbia, there is walk in closets to hold all your clothes.
In suburbia, there is counter space in the kitchen to chop multiple vegetables at the same time.
In suburbia, there is still a lot of driving time, but its over a longer distance with less traffic.
In suburbia you can't walk to the nearest grocery store.
In suburbia there is garages to park your car.
In suburbia there is air conditioning (well I guess you would die without it in Phoenix).
In suburbia there is usually not anyone outside in front of their houses.
In suburbia all the houses look the same. (So much so I parked at the wrong house on this last visit).
In suburbia there are flat screen TVs and movie channels.
In suburbia the streets are very clean yet there are no street cleaning days.
In suburbia there are lots of spots to park in that do not cost money.
In suburbia there are beautiful sunsets (well there may be beautiful sunsets here but here are hidden by the buildings and smog).

I don't regret living where I live or even want to live in suburbia, its just an interesting world to enter into every so often.


And a picture of my nephew and me because we are so cute!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Update

What do you think is happening in the picture above? This the question that I posed to my students as I was using art to help them analyze character development. Some said they are arguing, yelling at each other. None of them saw that the little girl lost her tooth and was showing it to her friend. Interesting that none of them got that from the picture.

I am very behind on my blogging, I realize. I feel less motivated to update.

The school year has started very similar to last year. I was hoping to be in a different position this year or have a better schedule but it seems as though the Lord would have me stay put for the time being. I feel better about being at my morning job this year. The time doesn't seem to go by quite as slowly. It can only be the grace of the Lord because not much has changed.

At my afterschool job I requested to not work with the kinders this year. I got a bit burnt out on my very difficult group from last year. I still get them in a rotation but not all afternoon. I am mainly with 2nd and 3rd graders. They present their own unique challenges and joys. The start of the year felt like it was going to be better. We had a new staff team, one in particular that worked really well with the kids and whom I got along with very well. But due to some family issues he had to leave. It has been really hard on me since. I am saddened for a friend who is going through a painful time, saddened to loose someone good with the kids, and saddened for the kids to loose a male staff. It is amazing how quickly I see their behavior change when a staff leaves, especially a male staff. It may just be in my head, but I really think it affects them. Lessons in patience are never ending for me in this job. But I am teaching theatre 2 days a week so that's good. I am taking it really slow and teaching a lot of fundamentals of acting that they really lack.

Overall I am still tired but not as drained as last year. Ready to take on other things in my schedule. Last year felt like a year of purely survival for me. This year I hope to be a year or more growth and joy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Turning Attitude on It's Head!

 This Summer
This summer we artistically explored the life of Peter from the bible,  seeing how his attitude changes over the course of his relationship with Jesus. We learned how we can have an attitude of joy even in the midst of challenging situations.
 This summer 8 college interns and 5 other adult staff worked with over 40 youth to put on an inspiring performance as we shared our stories, struggles, and hopes.
This summer we created and performed 4 original dances, 2 scenes, 2 monologues, 3 poems, 6 songs, and 12 masks.
Here are some of the stories that came out of the summer.
 The Class Clown
"Youth 1" (a sophomore this fall) is a motivated and driven actor. This is my second year working with him in the theatre group and it has been such a joy to see him grow in his faith and as an artist. He was the one getting the group hyped up at every rehearsal, always saying, “Ok let’s do this.” This year I saw him grow so much in his character development. We gave him the role as class clown in the scene. I wasn’t sure how he would take the role but he ran with it and made the character his own. 



 The Challenging Dancers
I told the college interns working with the dance group that they by far had the hardest group. They had all the incoming 6th graders and 12 youth to choreograph into one dance. They faced initial challenges of dissension among the new youth, cliquey groups, and being unmotivated to practice. But despite these challenges, it came together in the end. The dance piece closed our show with energy and charisma. It was amazing to see the transformation in this group and the unity of the dance by the end. 

 The Veteran
"Youth 2" (a junior this fall) has been a part of every WJPK since it began. This year Jamal wrote a song about battling depression and finding the hope to persevere through it. When someone asked him after the performance how it felt to sing about those things, he said, “It felt really empowering.” These are the moments that inspire me.




 Proud Director
Although it was a full summer, it was very energizing to be able to direct the project.  I was able to grow in how to vision for the overall theme, which is not my strength. Since I don’t have an outlet to perform during the year, it has always been a source of joy for me to write and perform for WJPK. My skit this year involved the challenges that I face with my elementary students’ attitudes and how I need to grow in patience as well.  
The moment that I enjoyed the most from the summer was standing on side of the stage watching the theatre group perform. I was literally jumping up and down with pride as I watched the youth step into their characters, remember all their lines, and hearing the audience laugh at the jokes.
 I was so proud of the work that everyone put into the show. What a fantastic end to a great summer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If only life could always be the summer


Overall, I am really enjoying my moments. There are days where there is a ton to do and I feel overwhelmed but then there are other days where I can relax a little and enjoy my time. Most days its a good busy, not a stressful busy. Working from home in the morning is wonderful. I don't have to get up at 6:00am. I can stay in my PJs. I don't have to navigate LA traffic in the morning. I have much more energy for my afternoon job. I get to eat meals at a table instead of in a car.

When Justice and Peace Kiss is a real source of joy for me as well. I love collaborating with other artist. I have loved leading the LAUP team and get to be apart of their journey as they discover how to use their art for the kingdom of God. It has been great this year to see how the youth have improved over the years and matured spiritually and as artist. I am excited for our performance, its going to be rockin'.

Its a short summer this year because LAUSD schools start back Aug 14th. Less than a month away, ick! I very much fear going back to my crazy 2 job schedule but trying to enjoy the time that I do have.