Saturday, September 24, 2005

Spread a Little Sunshine

Happy Saturday to you all!

Things have been crazy here. I've casted the Advanced Drama play for the fall. I think it turned out well, too. I tried to get a balance of talent with those who need/deserve larger parts than they've gotten in the past. These are such fun kids, I'm really looking forward to seeing how their characters turn out.

I had a chance to go on a business trip to LA this week. I went with some other faculty members from my school to tour some Urban Learning Center-based schools in downtown LA. They were fascinating! They are doing such cool things there. We can back with tons of ideas, and a fantastic new energy for change at our school. The next step is to figure out 1) our immediate and long-term goals and 2) how we break the news to the rest of the faculty, particularly those who are... resistant to change.

The surprising thing about this trip was my realization that if my school was truly committed to making the changes we talked about, I would actually be okay about staying put. For a while. If I can travel in the summer, I would really like to be a part of reforming our school. Our principal seems enthusiastic, too, about buffing up our growing reputation as a performing arts school. He even mentioned the idea of Kelley, Janelle, and I going to New York to observe school programs there.

I'll stick in some photos from the trip, although I won't be in any of them, since I was the one behind the camera.

I'll give you a full report of the shows I see next weekend in New York.

Until then, TTFN!

LA Trip Photos

A mural at Foshay Learning Center

Beach time!

Here's JP showing off one of the awesome hallways at Foshay Learning Center. They brought in the artist who does the House of Blues to help with the painting.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Three Little Maids from School Are We

Greetings, dear readers, after far too long of a neglectful period on my part. I do apologize. I have been rather wiped out in the evenings lately, thus my apparently abandonment.

School has begun again! This marks the beginning of my 3rd year at KJHS, and I am happy to report that I am glad to be there. Difficult as it is at times, I do like my job.

I have been given more drama classes this year than before, and they are all packed with students. I am teaching the usual Advanced Drama class (year long, 43 students), two 8th grade Intro-to-Drama classes (a quarter long, about 35 students each), and a ninth grade Drama 1 class (semester-long, 37 students). My other two classes are new to me and to the school. They consist of about 35 7th graders (And how I detested them at first. There are clear reasons why I got a secondary certificate and not an elementary certificate. I am liking them better now, but I still miss abstract thought!). Those classes are also a quarter long, and focus on reading and writing skills.

It's quite the change in my schedule. Four preps is a lot (five if you count my advisory class); however, it's nice to find that a pattern for my curriculum has developed for my Drama 1 classes. I know pretty much what I want to teach then and when, which does cut down on my mental prep time, if not on the preparation of materials.

Tuesday I will hold the auditions for our Advanced Drama play this fall. Given the size of the class, I choose to do two shorter plays in order so everyone could have a part. I also thought it might be fun to try some children's theater with my students, so we'll be doing "Twinderella" (the story of Cinderella and her long lost twin, Bob), and "Rapunzel Uncut" (the "real" story). We have two evening performances scheduled for November, but I wanted to try something new. So, I sent out invitations to our final in-class dress rehearsal to two elementary schools. They've replied and we will have an audience of about 800 1st-6th graders there! I'm not convinced our principal understood what I was proposing when I asked him if I could do such a thing, but he always enjoys anything that makes him look good, so hopefully that won't be too much of a problem. I should probably warn him about the size of the crowd, though....

My own theatrical needs are soon going to be delightfully satisfied, as well as my travel needs. In about a week, I'll be going on my first business trip. My school has won a hefty grant this year, and representatives from each of our departments will be sent to LA to observe other schools who have won the grant. I'm going to represent the English department, and the great thing is that we finagled it so Janelle will represent Music and Kelley will go for P.E. It should be quite fun to go look at other schools with my friends (and have it all paid for to boot!).

About two weeks after that, I'll be going to NYC to visit my friend, Jason. He's just begun his first year of law school at NYU and no sooner had he been accepted than I picked a weekend and bought theater tickets. We'll be seeing "Wicked" on Friday night, a matinee of "La Boheme" at the Met, and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" on Saturday night. Hurrah!

As if that's not enough, two weeks after that, I get to go with my family to Chicago for a weekend. "Wicked" is just opening up there, so we'll be going on Friday night. Then the rest will be delightful tourism, museums, and, of course, great meals as my parents celebrate being NIGJ (Not In Grand Junction).

Ah. There is nothing like having trips in my immediate future to make me perfectly satisfied in the present.

I do have other shows I'm working on right now, one for my church and one that my friend Heidi and I are slowly creating, as well as my preparations for our spring musical. This should be quite the theatrical year, in any case. Hopefully, it will inspire many entertaining blog postings.

If I'm awake, that is. :)