Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Back to School

Julianne Olson, Teaching Artist

               After a very successful first semester, the students came back from winter break with just as many creative ideas to kick off 2015 as they had blown us away with in 2014!  With an ambitious semester ahead of us consisting of song writing, choreography, role assignments, creation of sets and costumes, and more, we wanted to get off to an upbeat start by having fun and using our imaginations!  Our first class after the break, the kids started off the day by enthusiastically singing “A Terrific Tale.”  Following that, the children laughed hysterically as groups competed to see which group could repeat the most tongue twisters in a row, and who could do it the fastest:  “Toy Boat, Toy Boat, Toy Boat…” and “Unique New York.”  Then they created very unique stories in the drama game:  “Fortunately, Unfortunately.”  Here’s how the game works: one student starts with a simple sentence such as:  “There was a monkey who wanted to be famous.”  The next person adds on to the story by saying, “Fortunately, the monkey had a lot of money…”  The next student contributes by saying, “Unfortunately the monkey had bad breathe…”  The game switches between the two adverbs until the story is complete.  Between the classes, we had stories about very eclectic dreams one can have a night time, exploding bird nests, and walking pickles in heaven.  In effort to keep the creativity flowing, we played a classroom game of Pictionary.   In rotation, a group of three students would run to the board to draw the secret subject which I would reveal to them, while another group would guess what it was.  This game proved to make our goal of ‘having fun,’ a goal met, as the drawings under strict time constraint, left much up to the imagination, and for those guessing, a difficult task indeed.

                The grandiose and witty minds of the students never cease to amaze me and I can’t wait to see what they continue to create!   The experiences that have been the most noteworthy to me are the breakthroughs we see when students who may have started off the fall semester very shy, now are evolving into the most creative and active participants in the classroom!  That is what Opera for All is all about, to help students find their inner artist and to instill confidence in each student as they grow in their understanding of the world of opera, the arts, production and performing.  As the year moves forward, I believe OFA will be a catalyst for such growth. 

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