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Greetings and welcome to my page. My name is Rebbecca, I am a mom of two and a preschool teacher in southwestern Virginia. I have had the blessing of working in a Reggio Emilia inspired center for nearly 10 years, with the Greenies (my students) for 7 of the last 10 years. Our emergent curriculum and play based learning approach has changed the way I think about working with children. I am looking forward to sharing my inspirations, reflections and stories with you. So glad you're here!

“If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” Shel Silverstein

Friday, March 16, 2012

"We are doing a show." Part 5

Okay, time to wrap this thing up! Sorry it has taken me so long to share the finished product, but here it is. Hope you like it.

SS works on the show poster.
I meet with the “actors” to discuss a name for the play, setting a date, and thinking about costumes. I ask them to consider a new name; the original name of the play is Cinderella. I explain that Cinderella is a title belonging to a story already created; they had created their very own story. They suggest other familiar names such as “Sleeping Beauty.” We go over the outline and talk about the important parts of the play. After some discussion the Greenies suggest, “The Princess and the Dance Off.” Next we went to the long tables. We break up into two groups- one group helps to make the poster; another larger group begins to make tickets. The poster group assists me in deciding what important information the poster needs- title, time, “and don’t forget the treats!”  SS paints the edges of the poster. OM, RL and CL begin to make the tickets. This captures the attention of many other Greenies. They draw on some tickets and write words on the others. They ask how to write family members names, personalizing the tickets. Next week we will work on the costumes.

Building writing skills!
I met with the actors to discuss their costumes. They had been exploring a box of fabric I brought into the classroom last week. I met with them, two at a time and asked what they were going to do about costumes.

LL- chooses to bring a costume from home.

OM- make two masks- angry face for a dragon. Requests scissors and string. Green fabric for dragon. Evil queen- different mask with a “wicked nose.”

JH- costume from home.

KW- borrow horse mask, blue plaid fabric for body.

RB- red fabric, “I need a white feather in my hair.” Green cape- “Hold it together with a clip.”

SS- Red fabric in a toga-like style. 

Later in the day OM is sketching out what she wants her masks to look like. We will begin to work on those tomorrow.

OM begins work on the masks. She has drawn two sketches- dragon and evil queen. I suggest paper plates as a base. We stop in the studio, OM is looking for something to represent “hair.” She spies some green corrugated cardboard and decides she wants this for the dragon mask. Sees some dark blue wool, for the evil queen hair. Back in the classroom she has drawn the shape of the dragon mask on the smooth side of the cardboard. Greenies begin to gather and watch as she struggles to cut the cardboard, KW, JH  Other actors are now interested in adding masks to their costumes as well as many other Greenies who want to make “one to take home.”

OM's Evil Witch Costume
Encouraging OM while she tries to cut corrugated cardboard. 

Our Magician! I love the power in this picture.

I sit down with our actors and begin to flesh out the script. We have agreed to do the play in the style of acting out what is read by a narrator, much like we have done in the past with our yearly summer productions. We begin with the generic, “once upon a time…” and work our way from there. I continue to ask leading questions, “What kind of woods? What did she do before…. What was that like?” Our script slowly begins to resemble a story, just as we imagined it should be!

In the weeks to come we practice many times. The Greenies begin to realize that we need to have everyone in the play! We change the script so all the Greenies are part of the "Dance Off." The Greenies use metallic paint on CD's to make medals because "everyone wins the dance off so no one feels sad." 

The Greenies are all dancing in the Dance Off!
 The set is complete, the script is finished, and everyone knows their parts. We invite our families to join us for the show. We make popcorn and juice. Nearly EVERY family joins us! 

Say cheese!

 It was an amazing experience working with the Greenies, listening to their ideas, and collaborating to make something very special and very memorable together. I know that what we made was more than a collection of words and paintings. It was a chance to show our respect for the children and their ideas and to make their valuable thoughts come to fruition. 

Vivian Paley said something at NAEYC 2011 that has stuck with me, "If we expect the children to follow our rules, we must be willing to follow theirs." What would have happened if I had dismissed the children's ideas? What if I refused to listen to their rules for the play? What if I chose to see them as just "playing" and ignored the value of their play? What if.....

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