Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pieces of Programming: Drama Club Spring Session Wrap-Up

Aside from my duties as a teen librarian, I keep my connection with the tweens by running our Youth Services Drama Club.  I think I inherited the club just by it being an open opportunity but now that I've had it for a while, and can see some of my tweens reaching the age that gets them into teen activities and the teen room, I can appreciate the bond it has helped me form with them so that it will continue once they are full-fledged teens.

The Spring Session was my best to date, I believe, and in it, I introduced three great things that helped me maintain my sanity:

A detailed schedule for ME, and a detailed schedule for parents.
    Sounds like a ridiculously "DUH" thing, but having a skeleton plan for me to follow during the class, and also providing a week by week schedule for parents to know when and what their kids will be doing, has been a trememndous improvement.  I used to feel like I was flying by the seat of my pants because the beginning of each day would start with my having to explain to five different kids or parents what we'd be doing. 

    Now, each week focuses on a specific theme and target.

      Behavioral Guidelines that meet our state Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports(PBIS) Initiatives: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe.

      Specific theatrical focuses to highlight in one or two classes.

      Previously, I would try and jam in each part of theater that I could find, from mimes to puppets into the 8-week session.  I found this to be much  harder for me in terms of acquiring materials and making a really memorable event for the kids.

      The spring session's theatrical highlight was puppets (a theme I return to each session), and clowns.

      For our puppets this time, we ditched all the materials and went with a free resource: LIGHT!  We did shadow puppets using our great screen and light from a projector.  We played around with making stories out of the puppets, and using our real bodies to interact with the larger-than-life images.  They had a ball, and I spent $0.

      For the clowns, I raided Oriental Trading Company.  Each student received their very own clown nose, tie, and hat, as well as the materials to make their own masks.  Juggling, pranks, and props were some of our focuses.  I used a few books we had in the collection, and a really informative Ringling Brother's Clown College video on YouTube that explained the .

      A culminating event that requires previous attendance.

      In the past, I would have a number of kids who had never attended Drama Club before, or who'd come once, who would be first in line to come in when there was food or special guests.  In fairness to the consistent kids, the new policy dictates that to attend our season finale wrap party, you must have attended at least three drama club classes.  To monitor this, I introduced a weekly attendance sheet.

      For the spring closing party, I themed it around an academy awards and gave certificates and trophies.

      I enlisted a couple of teens who needed volunteer hours as paparazzi.  Their job was to snap pics and video as the drama club graced the red carpet.  They were also responsible for taking pictures throughout the awards show.  I paid them in pizza.

      We really went all out in terms of treating this as a real awards show.  We aired a highlight reel of the season, dressed in formal wear, and gave acceptance speeches.  I gave certificates for everything from Stage Presence(perfect attendance), to a Junior Director's Guild Award (basically the outstanding student award).  After the awards, I had pizza for everyone and a parent even brought in cupcakes for the kids.  They then got to dance the rest of the time away.

      I had an amazing time with the kids this Spring, and the Summer session has just started, so I can't wait to share what we get into this time.


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