Tuesday, January 17, 2012

8th Graders Tour Art Schools

Last week a select group of 8th grade students toured two art schools here in Phoenix.  Most of these students had no idea that an arts high school was even an option.  These schools require the same academic work from students as any other high school would, but have fine and performing arts classes built into the day as well.  They are great for students who want to work in the arts professionally and for students who want to go into other professions but want to continue exploring the arts through high school.  Upon graduation students are ready to move on to any university.

After the tour students reflected on the what they saw and experienced during the tour.  One student said, "The trip inspired me to continue my education in an arts high school because I saw many people who looked like they enjoyed going to school."  Isn't that the best way to continue your education, learn and have fun doing it?  Students enjoyed the trip saying, "It gives me a place to continue my art career."  Another students who excels in several areas of the arts said it showed her that she can, "go on to an arts high school and still be a doctor."

Seeing students' enthusiasm for the arts was touching.  As we toured one school a student said, "This school is calling my name."  Before returning to Herrera several students had already asked me to print applications for them.  One even started filling out the application while waiting for her mother to pick her up from school.  I hope to see a number of Herrera students move on to arts high schools on their way to college.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big Bad Musical 
comes to Herrera's PAC stage this December

Opening Night: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 6:00 PM
Student Performance: Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Produced by special arrangement with
Pioneer Drama Service, Inc., Englewood, Colorado

The Big Bad Wolf's day has come.  Fairy tale characters are fed up with his shenanigans and have taken him to court.  Will he be found guilty and made to pay for his crimes or will he be free to terrorize more fairy tale characters?  Sidney Grimm of EFN, Enchanted Forest News, covers the trial.

He's got a history of vandalism, blowin' down houses for fun.
Ooooooh, telemavision!

Oh, why didn't you ask me that?

...So help you Hans Christian Anderson.
I will not sit without a tuffet!

...But that's none of your business!

Look, I've gotta go flush some live fish down the toilet.

Remember me?  I won best in flannel.

He's awful sorry for the things he's done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As if.....

As if... is a drama activity that Herrera actors can't get enough of.  It allows them to work on drama skills and be creatively active while also getting crazy loud in the classroom.....so much for using our indoor voices.  Actors know that there is a purpose behind the madness.  We work on physical, facial and vocal expression through this activity.  We call this kind of chaos in my classroom "controlled crazy."   It is so much fun to see the quietest, most reserved actors get lost in the moment.  One specific actor really got caught up in the moment.  Check him out at the end of the video.  Actors of all ages and ability levels are successful playing As if...      

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fine Arts Teachers & Students Collaborate to Celebrate 140 Years!

Phoenix Elementary School District #1 turns 140 years old on October 19, 2011!  To celebrate, every school in the district created a presentation to represent their school.  Herrera's contribution is a model of a stage with cutouts/pictures of actual past and present students showing off their talents.  What makes this presentation special is that it is a collaborative project between fine arts teachers and students.  Jayce, Joshua and Sergio, students from the Technical Theatre class constructed the model stage while fine arts teachers took care of the finishing touches.  The following video will give you an idea of the process of creating Herrera's contribution to our 140th Birthday Celebration.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Collaborating to Build Machines

The Machines activity is great for teaching collaboration and focus, not to mention patterns and repetition.  It also helps actors overcome the fear of looking or sounding silly in front of others.  First, actors experiment with repetitive sounds and movements on their own.  Then they join others to build a machine with connected moving parts and sounds.  The key is to focus on your own sound and movement while hearing and seeing other rhythms around you.  At first it looks like total madness, but you know you've got it when the group can speed up and slow down at the same pace.  Actors from first to eight grade are successful in this activity.  The hard part is getting them back to the classrooms quietly.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Improvise..... Make It Up!

First through fourth grade drama students started the year playing drama games to work on collaboration and improvisation skills.  This week we defined the word "improvise".  Before defining the word, I asked students to write what they think it means to improvise when you forget your lines.

Richard is right!  You should make something up that is as similar to your lines as you can remember.  Alexis suggested that it means to close your eyes and visualize your script in your mind.  Whatever you do, you definitely shouldn't panic and run backstage.  
Relax and improvise.  Make something up and keep going.  
Fake it till you make it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tableau! Playing Martha's Game

A tableau is a picture created by a grouping of silent, motionless actors.  In Martha's Game one player at a time jumps in to add to the picture.  No one really knows why it's called Martha's Game, but students have a great time with this game.