I have not blogged in awhile. I have not spent as much time as I would like with my Personal Learning network on Twitter. . But not because I haven’t wanted to. What I have been doing has been so rewarding, challenging and fun.
One of the things I do at my school is to serve as the director of our theatre program. We produce 2 musicals a year and involve hundreds of students in the shows. We just finished a two weekend run of our production of LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION. The show was a huge success. And the journey to that success was a tremendous experience.
There are so many great examples of students doing incredible things, but in the interest of brevity, (I will try) I will highlight one.
The show requires the construction of a barricade. It is one of the key elements. It has to be huge, structurally sound, and be able to spin on a turntable.
So we began. I explained to the stage crew members how to construct the supporting structure of the barricade. I was very specific as to how we would support the whole thing from the ground to 8 feet in the air on the 20 foot width of the structure. Then I emailed parents asking for any old furniture that they would be willing to part with. Wow, they were generous!
So, once the supporting structure was finished the learning fun began. My student leaders asked, “OK, what do you want us to do with all of this?” I thought for a minute, and then said: “Make this thing look like a pile of junk in the street, but it needs to be structurally sound and climbable. Oh, and you need some hidden doors so that the crew can get in and out of the barricade. (It was hollow inside)
They looked at me for more instructions, but I told them that I had to work on another project on the stage and suggested that they use their imagination and skill to create something great. I expressed my confidence in them to complete the job successfully.
They went to work. They finished it, they climbed it, they tested it, they painted it, and it was THEIR barricade.
They made hidden doors from old chests of drawers. They converted desks, tables, chairs, drawers, old lumber, and barrels into steps and standing locations for the actors. They made changes where needed. They learned from mistakes. They worked collaboratively. They worked through creative disagreements. They owned what they learned.
This is another reason why I love the arts in schools. From the onstage performers to the musicians and stage crew, theater in schools provides such a valuable learning experience.
Anyone want to share their own learning with the arts experiences? Feel free to comment and thanks for taking the time to stop by and read.