During summer 2013 the New York Public Library hosted an acting class where the children got an opportunity to create scrip and make masks.
I enjoyed it especially because I learned from the two teachers who had brilliant ways to keep the children on task and ‘all minds on deck’. It is 2017 and I still remember clearly how well the teachers worked together. For about 45 minutes, they taught and entertained the children. Each class setting was, everyone sitting down in a huge circle on the floor.
Each lesson would begin with an ice breaker. Hand clapping and singing. This helped the children acknowledge everyone in the room. It was here I learned how important it is to work with your colleagues and better more, acknowledge them. After an ice breaker, a mini lesson would begin by the other teacher. And they will keep passing the torch back and forth until it was time to leave.
There were about 20 children who came weekly, some Mary Mitchell Students and others neighborhood children and all were engaged.
Even though there was one focus which was, collectively writing scrip and acting, they used many ice breakers and never focused on one subject too long.
I met Mike at the library as a high school student. But back then, I was more cautious than anything, especially in the library. I was always in my ‘New York Mode’. So, if he or anyone (didn’t matter the age) spoke to me, I really didn’t speak back.
Forward years later, we are in the same writing class at the library. Come to find out, he is an incredible writer. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.
He is also full of creativity and ideas. He encourages everyone who attend the class to write, write, write and while he is not the one who teaches the class, everyone respects him as one of the teachers.
He is genuine and I am glad for the opportunity to learn from him as an adult.
This pass Tuesday the children went to West Farms Library to see a magic show. They had high expectations…a little too high for the magicians. After seeing the first few tricks, Brianna yelled out: “How about doing some real magic? Pull a rabbit out of your hat!!”
This comment was ignored and since I was a bit far from her, I could not get her attention to tell her to stop yelling out.
Time passed and after a water trick (the magician ‘turned’ water red, however, the kids saw the Kool-Aid powder at the bottom of the cup) Brianna yelled out: how about turning your entire body green?!
This thought provoked everyone and before long, the entire body of teens and young children were chanting: TURN GREEN!! TURN GREEN!!
This made the magician stop the show to tell his audience that unfortunately, that was one trick he could not do. At these words the kids calmed down and the show continued.
Pretty Soon the kids next to me, turned to me and asked: Is this all of their tricks? I thought it was going to be a circus! They are not real…I had begun to feel like they wanted to leave. However, every time the magicians pulled a new trick out the hat, they had the children’s attention.
Seeing a magic show requires one to pay close attention to the act and quick thinking. While the children did not get all the acts, the ones that they did get made them feel powerful.
On Monday my students went to the Library and made puppets. Usually, I help them with their projects . This time I took a step back and allowed them to create something all by themselves. I was surprised with what they came up with!
Kenneth, a superhero, Gavin and Abdoraman twin puppets, Kaylie made a puppet of me, Brianna made Bob and Christopher made a character with pom-poms for his hands and feet. Everyone was creative.Including Sharaya who only had wings for her puppet. No face, no body, just wings and was flying around and having just as much fun.
* I had an art teacher who told the class that a paper bag is not a puppet but I couldn’t find another word for what my students made! Sorry puppet world!