Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday, Monday

Want to know what I do on a typical school day? Read on!

5:15 am - Alarm #1 goes off
5:20 - Alarm #2 goes off
5:25 - Lamp automatically clicks on
6:20 - I actually get up
7:00 - Head out the door, off to work (light snow falling)

7:50 - Advisory begins. I only have the stage crew for advisory, so we usually spend it either setting up for different events around the school, or cleaning up from different events around the school. Today's work included testing all of the microphones and boxing up the broken ones to send to the district to get fixed, chasing down the assistant principal to find out whether the school pictures people are using the stage (it turns out they are, so we have to figure out how to clear off our 10'x4'x4' platforms to give them an empty stage), and bugging the shop teacher to please, please, please put back together one of our set pieces. We had about five minutes left after that, so I popped in the Lincoln Center/Helen Hunt performance of "Twelfth Night" to show them one of my favorite set designs.

8:25 - First period.
(Check-in question - "What was your favorite TV show when you were 10?")
Being an "A" day, that's Drama 1 for me. I've got about 40 kids in the class, a few 9th and 7th graders, but mostly 8th graders. We began learning basic theater vocabulary last time, so today, after check-in, I took them on a tour of the auditorium. This exciting tour includes such sites as the cyc (ooh!), the paint closet (ah!) and the booth (wow!), which is inevitably their favorite part. That is, it's their favorite part until I take them back down to the front rows of the house, I turn off all but one row of work lights, and I tell them the story of the theater ghost (Georg). It's not a terribly spooky story, but they're junior high kids, so just saying the first line ("Every theater has a ghost.") in my low, story-telling voice totally freaks half of them out. It's fun.
After the story, I lead them back to my room where we review the two monologues we're memorizing (the prologue of "Romeo and Juliet" and Juliet's "Romeo, Romeo" speech). Then we begin acting out the plot of "Romeo and Juliet". This involves me acting as narrator/line-feeder while volunteers from the "audience" come up to act out different characters, thanks to a miscellany of props and costume pieces from one of my closets. It's always a hit.

9:57 - Period 2A, 9th Grade English
(Check-in question - "What is your favorite pick-up line?" (student-suggested))
I love this class. It's taken four months, but we have a fantastic time together, as evidenced by the fact that today's lesson was full of laughs, despite being part 2 of my lecture series "Why Shakespeare Didn't Write in Old English". Last time, I gave them a brief history of the English language. Today, we listened to/tried to read examples of Old English (the prologue from "Beowulf" and "The Lord's Prayer") and Middle English (the prologue from "The Canterbury Tales"). After those, we turned to the prologue from "Romeo and Juliet" and looked at why that's actually Early Modern English. (This, by the way, is in between the counseling office calling out 6 of my students at various times and my stack of handouts running 5 short, so I had to dash up to the office to run off more.) After that, we had just enough time to define what an iamb is, particularly since they were so chatty today that they owed me 40 seconds after the bell rang. Next time - pentameter!

11:20 - Lunch/Consultation
As I begin my rounds about the school, I notice that it's actually turning into quite a snowstorm outside. Ah well. I stick my lunch in the microwave Janelle and I keep in one of her back rooms, head to the faculty room to check my mailbox and refill my water bottle, the up to the main office where I copy three sets of papers for my English class for Wednesday, check in with the secretary about buying some more copies of the "Romeo and Juliet" (they added another student to my class, so I'm short), talk to the head custodian about our upcoming dress-rehearsal on a student-non-attendance-day, and then stop by the bathroom.
After the rounds, I pick up my lunch from the microwave, and eat it while enjoying my newest guilty-lunchtime-pleasure: clips from "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" on
Next, I gather up the stacks of permission slips and receipts for my fieldtrip next week and I start making the excusal list by entering the names, student id#s, and grade levels into an Excel document. I just barely finish putting in the last name when the bell rings to mark

1:25 - 4th period, Advanced Drama
(Check-in question, same as English)
After a very rowdy start to the class, they calmed down enough for us to finish off our unit on monologue workshoping. This included Michelle's performance of Emilia's "Then let them use us well, else let them know/The ills we do, their ills instruct us so." speech, Omar's version of Dogberry's "But masters, remember, I am an ass!", and Mary's "If it were done when 'tis done" speech from "Macbeth". We made a dumbshow for Michelle's, having seven students join in to pantomime the different acts she accuses husbands of doing. For Omar, we tied (kind of) a student to a chair for him to interrogate, and for Mary we put one of her friends "asleep" on a table, clutching a crown to his chest, while she stood over him with a (trick) dagger, debating what to do.
Since these were the last of the monologues, I wrapped up the unit with a little talk-back about taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and what else they could use these monologues for. Then, we pushed the tables out of our way and, mostly because it felt like that kind of day with the snow falling outside, I taught them the "Sun, Moon, and Star" dance that Susan Dibble taught us at Camp Shakespeare (see the last video here). We only had time for the first half, so we'll finish that one on Wednesday, too.

2:55 - Rehearsal
Off-book for the first time today! Our plan was to run the prologue through scene 6 ("Swamps of Home" - just about half-way through) with Cast 1 today, lines and all. After my traditional cast greeting ("Hello Rosencrantz!" (the group 1 students scream) "Hello Guildenstern!" (the group 2 students scream) "Hello Helpers! (the high school assistants and techies scream)) and Janelle's vocal warm-ups, I put the cast up on stage to review how you communicate physically, from isolations like "Show me happy elbows! Now show me anger with only your legs!" to status. We made one of the their weekend homework assignments to come up with a real character name (either Sir _____ or Lady ______), so I also had them mill about and introduce themselves to others in the castle, begin sure to show status as needed. We then ran through the selected scenes, and I was really impressed with how smoothly it went for the first day off-book. Good for them!

4:30 - After our traditional post-rehearsal trip to the bathroom, Janelle and Donavon play with the purple ball chair in the room while I put in attendance and shut down my computer. We get in our respective cars and head home.

5:15 - I get home, chatting with my mom on the way via cell phone. I find a fun package of New Yorker articles from my dad in the mailbox (Thanks, Dad!), including one that shows while I may not read the depth of Art Garfunkel's book choices, I certainly beat him in quantity. I feed my cat, who has been chasing me around the apartment, batting at my ankles and yowling that she's starving, I steal a bite of the banana-chocolate-chip-walnut bread I baked yesterday, and make some chicken teriyaki stir-fry (over brown rice, sauteed in fresh-squeezed orange juice) for dinner.

7:00 After dinner, I do my customary checking of emails and blogs, then spend some time working on my professional portfolio. I also update my iPod, including my new playlist for working out.

8:30 I hop on my elliptical machine and work out for about 40 minutes to said playlist. Here's the songs I listened to ('cause I know you're curious):
I Get To Show You The Ocean (Faith Prince, from "This Ordinary Thursday")
Fairest of Them All (Slaid Cleaves)
Far Away (Ingrid Michaelson)
I'll Cover You (Original Broadway Cast, "Rent")
Being Alive (Revival Cast, "Company")
Run, Freedom, Run! (Original Cast, "Urinetown")
Come What May (Move Cast, "Moulin Rouge)
1234 (Feist)
Home (Marc Broussard)
Anyone Else But You (The Mouldy Peaches)
I Hear the Bells (Mike Doughty)

It's while I'm exercising that I decide I want to record the day's events, so here we are! It's now just after 10:00 and time for me to start getting ready for bed so I can do it all again tomorrow. Fun, fun!

(And if you're still with me after this long, long entry-without-pictures, well, I hope it was worth it!)

1 comment:

  1. I remember that Advisory period oh-so-well. That set WAS awesome!