Children's Theatre Company - Lyndale Elementary School - Kiyoko - 2 hours

I had my first week of shadowing this week with Kiyoko from CTC's neighborhood bridges program. It was such a wonderful learning opportunity!

The 3rd grade elementary class started at 9.30 am there were about 25-30 students, and Kiyoko started by explaining what tall-tales are. She explained how stories seem real but some aspects of them are exaggerated. She had an assistant (who was a college student and was really great) who started giving examples by making Tall Tales about how she came to school. Then the students were told to write their own stories. The class teacher who's class we were in went around and checked in with all the students and so did the other two. Then Kiyoko selected 3 students to come forward and read their stories. The class started saying  "Lights Camera Action" (and had actions for each of the words) as they first student read his story. The stories were great! After he read it for the first time, he had to narrate it again without reading from his book this time, the assistant suggested how each students could use   use actions to make it more their story more engaging. This was a great experience for both the class students as they could hear what their classmates had written as well as for the students who were reading and performing. The CTC team also suggested presentation skills to the readers, like; reading louder, standing still, being in the center of the stage etc.

Then we moved the benches aside, and formed a circle. Kiyoko explained that we were playing a game in which one student would be a statue of any actions he wants, then the person next to him can copy his/her action or do an action of his own - then they both have to freeze. The person next to them has to then name this sculpture. It was awesome to see the children really loosen up, and participate in the game at the same time be creative and name the sculptures next to them. This game involved being attentive, thinking fast as well as being creative with the actions. As we were playing this game 6 high school students joined our circle. Then we all sat down and one of the high school students started telling a Tall Tale of Paul Bunyan. The children seem to have really enjoyed it as it was told in an entertaining way. Next someone else told the story of Annie Christmas in a joyful way, too.

Then the children broke down in smaller groups with 1-2 high school students leading the group. In the smaller groups they briefly talked about the story.  They asked who their favorite character was, and why. What they liked about the story, and what was wrong or unfair? Then Kiyoko assigned each group part of the stories to act out and explained what a director does and what actors do. Then Kiyoko asked the High school students to choose one director and actor (just to show the class what they were expected to do), Then Kiyoko challenged the students to break the high school students record of 8 seconds and to decide the characters and the director. Then the students went back to their smaller group and assigned a director with the help of the high school student in their group. The director in each group decided the characters. The group I was in had a great student director who was trying to be fair. One student really wanted to be a character which was already assigned to a other student, so he was upset. But the director decided that they could both be the same character - one can be the tail of the animal and one can be the front half. They just started rehearsing the potential dialogues but the time was up and they had to perform. So a lot of it was improv, and it worked out pretty great. When a student was confused the rest of their group would help them by they creating  new characters and coming up with quick dialogues. After each group performed Kiyoko led a reflection by asking the "audience" what worked the best and what didn't. They spoke about how some students lost their character etc. By this time, time was up so they had to stop.

Later, Kiyoko came outside the class and spoke to the high school students. They talked about what worked, what could be done better, a brief discussion about how each of them performed. 

This shadowing experience was a great one, it taught me a lot of important aspects of teaching like how well a planned lesson can help one do so many activities, how body movements can divert energy and help students be focused and excited!