What do shadow puppets have to do with westward expansion? Well, if you're not in the 4th grade at Ravenswood, then probably not a whole heck of a lot. The students in 311 were hard at work experimenting with their own shadow puppets on Friday. They showed great creativity and produced some really awesome shadow puppets.
So, what if they take these new found skills and apply them telling the experiences of the people involved in westward expansion? We shall soon see.
Now that there is a bit of time, I can officially post some of the awesome stories that the students researched and created based on Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea's experiences exploring the northwest. I'm not gonna lie, a good majority of the stories deal with the traveling party's encounter with a bear, but if I were looking for some historical content with which to dramatize, I would also seek "bear fighting" stories. At any rate, I think the students did a great job. Especially with the backgrounds that they drew on a sheet of copier paper that was then projected from a document camera through Miss Kitty's projector (thanks again Kitty). The effect was awesome and the students did great job while having fun. Here you go.
The audio is not the best on any of these, but the performance effect is still pretty good. Check out the mountains on this one...
I love how the students were able to create the expressions on the puppets faces. None of the puppets had articulating parts, that's a lesson we just didn't have time to get to. I am looking forward the next year when we can add those details into the performances!
Earlier in the year, the second grade classes were working on a script writing unit. Their goal was to take a book and turn it into a script, then perform the script. One of the classes just happened to choose to work on one of my favorite children's books, Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. The students worked very hard adapting the script and choosing the roles. Some even memorized their lines with very little time with the script! I took a video of the class' last day of school performance and wanted to share it here on the website. I'm having a bit of a hard time getting the video into the 'media' section of the website, but I'll get that worked out before too long. Until then, here it is!
I couldn't be more proud of the work they students put in to making the play. They started by breaking up the dialogue from the narrative, then we worked together to write the dialogue down on a scene by scene basis. This was followed by a group reading of the first draft, then we edited for content and staging. The students then democratically chose the roles they would play and we began practicing. One of my favorite moments came when the students couldn't get past the diner scene because they wanted to "set the scene" (their words!) by having Miss Delphine say "ORDER UP." I started making the corrections on the master script and it took the students a moment to realize that they had the creative license to make adjustments. They took such an amazing ownership of the whole collaborative process after that point!
In other news, I am going to be spending a good portion of the next few weeks this summer going through all of the photos I've taken of projects that the students have worked on in the 2012-2013 school year. Drama class is so much more than just the spring musical and mask making projects (which branched into a 5th grade unit as well). So look out for past pictures and new ideas alike. I've got some grand plans for this upcoming school year and would love feedback as I assemble and post new units!
Lastly, don't forget to post play and musical suggestions for the next season. I will be diving into a stack of dramatic literature very soon to plan for the next year and love hearing about the types of performances the students, staff and community would like to see. I'll keep you posted!