Week in Review-2/2-2/6

This has seemed like a good idea, so it’s time to try it. This has been a crazy busy week with tours from the 8th grade classes and we took the 10th grade classes to tour the other campus, not to mention the open house and my rehearsals with Romeo and Juliet. Oh, and I did a little bit of teaching.

My freshmen, of course, have been reading Romeo and Juliet. This week, we finished Act 1 and read most of Act 2. We also watched the first act of the Zefferelli movie. Most of the students seemed to enjoy it. They all asked about the Leonardo version and I promised that we’d watch some of it next week. The first act is always a struggle when I teach it, but when we get into the second act more of the students seem to get into it and actually ask questions. I work to push the humor whenever I can and skip over the longer, more dated sections. When Romeo meets back up with Mercutio after his meeting with the Friar, I just don’t think their joking scene carries much weight. So, we skip it.  I gave one quiz that showed that most had a basic understanding of the story so far, but we’ll see what happens next week.  In general, though, more people are figuring out what is happening in the story as we are reading and that makes me feel good about it.  I still struggle with a good way to help students who miss class, though.

My sophomores finished reading And Then There Were None and I think every one of them liked it.  Lots of good discussion about how the epilogue “blew their mind” because most had discounted  the killer until the confession.  I still have to read all of the essays, but the final quiz seemed to show that everyone had read and understood the story.  I hope that as we work on writing the mystery story that they will appreciate the novel even more. My only regret during this is that we fell behind on the story writing.  Part of that was missing class time for registration, but part was that there were a lot of absences.  I hate that.  Now, we’re going to read some nonfiction and show how an author can put personality and style into nonfiction writing, so that we can try to add “voice” to the mystery stories. Many are still reading like a crime scene report.

Intro to Theatre is always a fun class, but I always have to struggle with the few students who don’t really want to be in the class.  One girl simply refused to do a basic pantomime exercise in class on Thursday.  I don’t understand it.  The grade is all or nothing.  Give it a try, or get a zero.  Right away in the semester, I work hard to establish that they shouldn’t feel that they are the only untalented actor in the group–there’s a bunch of them.  It gets a good laugh, but the truth of it does release much of the anxiety they suffer from.  I showed a clip from Our Town that most were bored by and I showed a clip from the Upside Down Show from Noggin, but they focused on the comedy of it.  It’s hard to keep some of the manic kids under control in the class.  I may need to be the mean teacher next week to help them find self control.  Grr.  Either way, we’ll continue with some pantomime activities next week.

Romeo and Juliet rehearsals are coming along pretty well.  Unfortunately, the string of absences really hurts when I schedule rehearsals to work with small groups.  A couple of days we weren’t able to do the scenes I had planned which made me have to make something up.  Starting next Wednesday, though, we’ll start running Acts rather than Scenes and things will start to get complicated.   The biggest acting hurdle is still that everyone thinks they have to be a pompous British snob to be in a Shakespeare play, even if it is set in the Old West.  Every day, I have to yell “say your R’s”!  Oh Romeo, Romeo, Wayafo aht thou, Romeo. Ack.  In general, though, I feel like most of the actors are getting a pretty good grip on their lines.  It really helps to have a solid assistant who can give one on one time with actors as I’m working with big groups.  Despite my rising set costs, I feel good because my matinee reservations are pouring in.  This show might not be a financial loss after all!

Downside of the week:  Much time and effort went into school days that were long and stressful, so my family time was diminished and I wasn’t always the best husband/father.  Not that I was grumpy or anything…I just wasn’t home, even when I was home.  I have to work on “leaving it at the office.”  Except for when I’m blogging, of course.  Or working on my article/application for the local newspaper.  I have set aside the hours of 6-8 as “Family Only Time” so that I can be better there.  Hopefully, that will work.  Speaking of…I better go.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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