Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games Midnight Showing!!

I am not a reader. I just don't enjoy reading for the most part. I wish I did, I really do. I know there is some great learning out there that I am missing out on by not reading more. But reading puts me to sleep most of the time. On the rare occasion I find a book that actually keeps my attention, and one the rare rare rare occasion I find a book that I can't put down. The Hunger Games was one of the books that I could not put down. I know its the most sophisticated of writing, but it was very entertaining, any even thought provoking at times. And although it can be a stretch, my roommate and I have found metaphors to the gospel in it. One of my favorite things is the Lord speaking to me through secular media.

I have been looking forward to the movie coming out for a while now. I have never been to aMidnight Showing. I don't think there has ever been a movie that seemed worth it to go see at midnight... until the Hunger Games. My friends and I dressed up in costume. I was Buttercup, Prim's Cat. You would only know the character if you read the books. Since not many people were dressed up, the news photographers were taking tons of pictures of my friends who had pretty elaborate costumes. There were on some online newspapers the next day. Overall, it was great first Midnight Showing experience. I won't talk about what I thought of the movie for those who have not seen it yet.
Buttercup and Katniss
Buttercup and Lamb Stew sponsor gift
Effie helping Katniss get ready

Katniss honoring Rue after her death

Sunday, March 18, 2012

3D Line Art

After doing a few line drawing lessons that I learned from Inner City Arts, I decided to have them create structures of lines in 3D. I gave them strips of paper and told them to fold and twist the paper to make different lines that would not stick flat on the page, but pop out. I challenged them in their structures to use straight lines, curvy lines, zig zag lines, etc. As they were creating these different structures I asked them to think about what their structure could be? I made the mistake of giving the suggestion that one looked like a roller coaster, so after that of course everyone's was a roller coaster. Even with in that I tried to have them think about it more deeply. Is it just one roller coaster or several? Are there other rides happening as well? Where is the beginning/end of the roller coaster?

I was getting really excited for them as they were creating these. They were all so different and they all found ways to manipulate the strips of paper that I would not have even though of. It was really refreshing to see one of my students who has a lot of behavioral problems really get into this project and be excited about it. Yes, finally something positive that engages him!! I will have to find other ways to allow him to create and build things.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Theatre Around the World: Japanese Bunraku Puppet Theatre

Japaneses Bunkraku is a beautiful and elaborate art form. Puppet masters study for many years to be able to operate the puppets' movements and gestures. It usually takes 3 people to operate one puppet. I liked this lesson because it is so different from other forms of theatre. It also is very different from my students' concept of what puppetry is. I went over with them how this type of puppetry is different from an American puppet show. I showed them pictures of the elaborate painting and costumes of the puppets.
Obviously we could not make our own Bunraku puppets, but I did find this template online to make simple marionette puppets. My students really loved making these. I tried to encourage them to think of it as a character rather than drawing themselves. After making the puppets, I put them into groups to come up with a little story of how their puppet would interact with other puppets. The only rule is that their puppets can not fight one another. (All the boys would just have their puppets attack each other otherwise). I wanted to have them practice talking and moving through the puppet. It wasn't themselves that was acting, but it was their puppet. Rather than have them just hold the puppet and talk, I tried to challenge them to make the puppet move and interact with the other puppets. They would forget to make sure their puppet was facing the audience a few times, but they did ok for the amount of time I gave them. It was interesting to see the differences in the boys and girls story lines. In the group with all girls, their story could have gone on forever about everywhere they went and everything they did if I didn't eventually cut them off. I was lucky if the boys' story was 30 sec. My conclusion of this dynamic is due to girls playing with dolls and coming up with similar scenarios. Oh gender roles at play so early in life.

Here are a few pictures of their puppets.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Santa Ynez Falls Hike

This is by my favorite hike that I have discovered in LA so far. It is in Topanga Canyon State Park in Malibu. It's the perfect mix of mountain hiking with a view, and canyon hiking with a waterfall. (Well, usually just a trickle, but it's still a great hike.) I realized that I really love hiking in the woodsy areas where you hardly even feel like you are in the city. The hike to me feels out of a storybook as the scenes change as you continue the hike. You walk along the side of a mountain, then into the tress, through bamboo forest, past the cave holes, mounting boulders, skipping through streams. Its pretty magical. I went first on my own and didn't encounter another person for the first 45 minutes of the hike. This was also wonderful. I have been on too many hikes where its so crowded with people you can hardly notice the peaceful sounds of nature. I went a second time with my sister when she came up to visit me in LA. I love hiking with my sister because she makes me do things I would never do on my own. She pushes me to challenge myself. My moto when I am hiking with her is, "I may look like a fool doing it, but I can do it." This was definitely true on this hike. (See below). Yes, Malibu is a bit of a drive but so worth it.

This is the little cave we found. We wondered if people have slept there before.
At the top of the waterfall.

When we found the waterfall, I also saw an old friend of mine that I went to Ghana with. I haven't seen him in years. What a random place to run into each other! His friends were climbing up this rock on the side of the waterfall. At first it looked way to hard for either of us to try it. There was a rope but no place to really even get your footing. I was surprised that my sister didn't even want to try because she's usually up for anything. Then she asked me, "Do you think I can do it?" Since I saw this other girl do it about her size, I said, "Yeah you can do it." She easily climbed the rock. It didn't look so bad so I thought I would give it a try. As I started to mount the rock, I realized that I really couldn't get a footing. I told my sister that I didn't think I could do it. To which she responded, "You just have to trust yourself that you can pull yourself up." To which I did, without much trouble at all. There was not much to see at the top of the waterfall, climbing was more to just say that we did it. I had seem a few people go down this rock, and it did look tricky but I thought getting up would be harder. When my sister went down, I don't think I was paying too much attention because I was taking pictures of her. As I went down, I am still not really sure exactly what happened. Maybe I thought it wouldn't be that bad because getting up ended up being so easy. But somehow I ended up just danging from the rope screaming, "Oh sh**, oh sh**!" I clung to to rope for dear life, waiting for my feeble arms to give out. I expected at any moment to drop, crashing down into the rocky water below and breaking a limb. My sister was laughing and telling me to stop cussing in front of kids who were now approaching the bottom of the waterfall. Obviously my language was not at the forefront of my mind as death seemed a possible outcome in that moment. After a moment of realizing that I should do something before my bony arms gave out, I somehow managed to inch my way down the rope not scraping up my arm too badly on the way down. However, my jeans were ripped and muddy and my shirt was almost all way pushed up. Another embarrassing sight in front of the children. I survived much to the humor of my "rofl" sister. So my moto always is, "I may look like a fool doing it, but I can do it."

This is my at the beginning, before it got bad.
My sister said this little flower looked like a wedding bouquet. People must have gotten the idea for wedding bouquets from this flower.