11.05.2012

5th Grade Production is a PRODUCTION

Wow - where to start?  I didn't mean to take a break from this blog - it just kind of happened.  October was full of teaching my normal classes, 5th Grade production (it is a production in every sense of the word), collecting and organizing 5th grade production T-shirts (this included a crash course in Adobe Illustrator), finalizing and organizing a Spirit Wear order for the school, contacted a really awesome artist for a future visit, class collaboration art masterpieces for a district auction, grades, and I tried to squeeze in another fundraiser - Young Masters - this ended up having to be postponed...

So, I guess what I am trying to say - is that it has been, well, a bit busy!

Wool Pirate Hair
Let's start with 5th Grade Production.  I love 5th grade production in every single sense of the whole event - well maybe not the extra talking from students during rehearsals or loosing prep time on Tuesdays - okay... so I love mostly everything about production.  Production is hard to describe in words - production is a PRODUCTION.  Organizing 4 teacher visions for a show, with 84 5th graders --- it couldn't be anything less than a production.

Pirate Costume Party
I really enjoy that the students have a voice in our show, they share ideas and we try to incorporate as much of it as we can.  I had four students arrange one of their songs into a rap - we recorded it (thanks iPad).  I think it is super special that the students apply/try out for what they want to do: actor, musician, dancer, set design/chorus.  We are lucky to have a drama and dance teacher at this Elementary school - and they rock.

So, normally production starts in 4th grade with a gathering of ideas and characters.  Then the ARTs (dance, music, drama and myself) and 5th grade teachers mull over the student ideas to try and make a story/plot.  Last year our drama teacher wrote the script - it was AMAZING.  This year there was not time - so we bought a script based on the interest of our students.

Luckily the script stated we could alter the story, add songs, take things out - it was perfect.  We added some songs, took out others, let the musicians re-create some.  Students drew out ideas for backdrops in my room -- I took ideas from multiple papers to create the 3 backdrops for this show, which the students mostly painted.  Dancers created original movements and dances for songs.  Musicians composed original songs and sound effects for the show.  Actors memorized lines and blocking!


Our show this year was Treasure Island - so most of the kids would need some kind of pirate outfit.  I wasn't sure how to get kids to make a pirate-ish shirt, how to collect objects, how to deal them out.... Then, our Dance teacher had a brilliant idea - a costume party.  So, one day instead of having normal 'specials' during our 5th grade time - students went into a creative, surprisingly controlled costume making frenzy.  Students added paint, sparkle glue, buttons, leaves - they cut, sewed, and added bits and pieces to make their costumes all their own.  My favorite part was this awesome wool I happened upon on a donation to the high school - it looked just like dreads.  I cut and glued chunks together for 'pirate hair' - it was wickedly cool.

For the next 8 weeks, once a week for about 30 minutes students split up into their assigned jobs and we created a show.  We had 3 after school rehearsals to mesh all the acting, dancing, musicians and such together.  Then we had a full day TECH rehearsal so my kids could learn when to change the set, spots knew who to follow - what lines were sound cues for music.

Front of their T-shirt - 100% kid designed
Now, while production was happening on Tuesday mornings - during normal 5th grade art time students became Graphic Designers and designed their Production T-shirt.  In the end, the students voted it down to 3.  I combined those 3 ideas because the votes were so close.

It is a SHORT LONG 8 weeks.  In many ways the 8 weeks drags on, but then it never feels like enough time.

Somehow, no matter how far behind we feel, or how crunched for time - it all pulls together for an amazing show.

I am SUPER proud of my 5th graders for all their hard work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absoutely cool. Was the PRODUCTION recorded for veiwing? JMN -(proud Iowan)