Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Checking In/Checking Out

Hello, all! Just a bit of news from the teaching front:

1) Check in totally works! I've been doing now in every class (English and Theater), and the kids are catching on. Sometimes I give them a prompt (something fun you did this weekend, etc.), sometimes I just ask them how they're feeling. Things I love about it: a) I'm learning names much more quickly, b) every student who enters my room speaks at least once a day, c) I was surprised that after checking in, my classes seem smaller, more manageable. This is despite having two drama classes with 45 students. Amazing, but true! I cannot encourage you each to do check out if you aren't yet. It takes time, but we're so much more focused and "there" with those minutes.
By the way, I end each check in with a "That is us!", my own little reminder of whose footsteps I'm following. Today, before I could say anything, three students simultaneously ended the round with "That is us." Aw.

2) I am working on the check out still. I like it when I do it, but I tend to get caught up in activities and wind up with not enough time. On the other hand, when I find myself with ten minutes to fill, it's quite handy.

3) My Advanced Drama class (these would be 9th graders who took Drama 1 in 8th grade) are so excited that we're doing a Shakespeare play. Then again, they would be excited no matter which play I picked. But they are really getting into the Shakespeare thing. We did text layups (a little hard to keep them focused, but that's junior high school for you), milling and seething, and now we're playing with the text. I'm planning on doing auditions sometime next week, once I finish cutting the play. It's "Much Ado", by the way. I'm so excited to do it - I never thought I'd get approval, what with the whore thing and all, but lo and behold, it's on the approved reading list for 9th grade English classes in my district. As my hated principal put it when I asked for his approval, "Well, it's Shakespeare, right? So it's safe, right?" I, working on my play-it-dumb role, nodded enthusiastically and said "of course!" The play is December 14th and 15th, by the way, Craig. And my couch is free.

Oh, speaking of which, here's a question for you all: Should I split up the parts of Beatrice and Benedict (like we did in Caesar)? I'm trying to cut the play for 40-ish actors, so as many parts as possible are needed, but I'm not sure the transitions would work as well in a comedy as they did in a tragedy. Opinions?

5) I bought 10 yards of red fabric today (Whoo dollar bin!). The elderly seamstresses looked at me oddly when they sweetly inquired what my project is and I replied, "Blood."
"I'm a drama teacher," I say (all too often, in my opinion).
"Ooohh." They reply.

C'est mon vie, oui?

Miss you all terribly!


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Holbrook said...

All right! I'm totally gonna be your Kato!

(for Kim: Kato Kaelin was a gentleman with short-lived fame as a houseguest in 1994, when you were learning to walk)

At 11:10 PM, Blogger educat said...

Amanda, I am actually checking my finals schedule. Who knows? I might just show up with my college roomate's four year old twins in tow.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Holbrook said...

I think it might be odd to split up Beatrice and Benedick, but not switch out all the roles. If you're worried about line-counting students, many of the parts have plenty of lines. Leonato is a deceptively huge part. Don Pedro and Claudio both have a lot.

It seems that your real problem will be finding a way to incorporate your typically huge casts into the story. Much of the play takes place in private (or seemingly private) moments, so it will be difficult to justify filling the stage with actors in scenes other than the weddings.


Post a Comment

<< Home