Part of the reason that my fourth period class made me so mad is that I have had THE MOST AMAZING classes for the last two days. I'm not even kidding. Two of the best moments of my teaching career, and they happened on consecutive days!
To begin, my theater class has been working on building plays from scratch this quarter. The assignment was to modernize a fairy tale, write a script, cast it, rehearse it, and perform it. They also had to make a set model, design costumes, create a soundtrack, and pretend-cast their plays with celebrities. I gave them time to work in class, but we've also been reading from Oscar Wilde, so they've had to organize themselves outside of class as well.
Yesterday was performance day. In the past, I have been disappointed on performance day, because sometimes people don't memorize their lines, or some actors break character and ruin whole scenes, or the set consists of one chair they dragged from the cafeteria. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since I'd been absent last week and didn't know where they were in rehearsal. I was VERY worried after I watched their rehearsals Tuesday, because they were NOT good.
But I walked into the cafeteria yesterday, and the stage was transformed. Those children had BUILT A SET. Now, admittedly, they'd built it by putting up some random flats and pvc and strung it all together with bulletin board paper, but they'd created three separate areas: a jail, an alley, and a club. When I got there, they were pulling props out of the annex--televisions, stereos, computers, strobe lights. They were wearing actual costumes, not just their own clothes trying to pass as costumes; they had ACCESSORIES. They'd even fashioned a dressing room backstage, because there were going to be COSTUME CHANGES.
The first play was a modernized Robin Hood (not exactly a fairy tale, but I'd approved it anyway). It began with a choreographed dance. No. A CHOREOGRAPHED DANCE. In this play, Robin Hood was a thug, and he met Little John and Friar Tuck in prison. Prince John was the club owner, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, instead of having an archery contest, challenged Robin Hood to a dance-off, which may be the funniest thing I've ever seen, and not just because Robin Hood's fly was down the entire time. It ended with a wedding, including a walk down a red carpet and Prince John getting shot at the church.
The second play was a modernized Three Little Pigs. It was a little more low-key, especially since the Big Bad Wolf transferred to another school LAST WEEK. One of the other students stepped in at the last minute (reading the script, which was fine). The group decided the Big Bad Wolf was a womanizer, and he was dating two sisters while he was really in love with the third. (The Swineston Sisters, how creative is that?) For each sister, he had a different personality: with one, he was a country boy, with one he was a gangster, and with the smartest sister, he was an intellectual. When she turned him down, he tried to go back to the other sisters, but they refused him, one having found herself a sugar daddy, and the other having become a lesbian.
Both plays were delightful, and the actors did an excellent job (there were no breaks, which was such a nice change).
Usually, if the plays are good, the other elements of the project are either poorly done or nonexistent, But--and I don't know why I'm surprised at this; it really says a lot about my previous classes, I think--their work is not only AMAZING (I'm using that word a lot, I know), but they really put a lot of time and thought into them.
I am just blown away! I gushed about them all day yesterday, and then when I got to my room this morning I saw their projects and I got all giddy again, so my day totally started off on the right foot ... and it got better from there. Scary!
Tomorrow I'll talk about how my English class actually enjoyed a test review. I KNOW!