TAS Education Blog

You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown - DAY FOUR

August 10, 2017

Miss Jordyn, Miss Sonya and Miss Emma are so bummed that tomorrow is the last day of this program since we’ve been having so much fun this week! We had such a fantastic day today as we prepared for tomorrow's showcase.

We started on our blocking and lines for our showcase tomorrow. Our three different scenes look like they have been practiced for weeks, while we only have done two days of rehearsing. All of the students are so excited to perform for their friends and family tomorrow.

We finished our masks today, so now we all look like our characters from our story dramas. They are inspired by some of the masks in The Lion King. All of the students are so excited to showcase their artwork, and then bring it home!

Following lunch, we finished our movement piece. Everyone looks so rehearsed and our movement has improved so much since the beginning of the week.

Miss Jordyn, Miss Sonya and Miss Emma will see everyone tomorrow! Everyone is so excited to show the students families all that we have worked on this week. Make sure to wear or bring your purple shirts; we’re looking forward to a wonderful last day of the You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown program!


You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown - DAY THREE

August 9, 2017

We can’t believe this week is already halfway over! It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun and that’s especially true with this group of fun and imaginative students who always participate in every activity.

This morning’s story drama class with Miss Jordyn focused on starting our showcase practices. We started by learning a new energy game, called Whoosh! It got the students excited to start the day. Then, we created some Mad Libs stories, which we will be using for our showcase. Everyone was cast in their own stories as all of the Peanuts characters.

Then, we joined Miss Allison for the continuation of our masks. Today we painted the base layer for the characters that we were casted in by Miss Jordyn.

Miss Sonya brought us back from lunch with some more Animal Yoga. We learned lots of new moves that the students can teach their families. We continued learning our movement piece so everyone can practice at home! The song is called "The Book Report" from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Miss Jordyn, Miss Sonya and Miss Emma are so amazed by this group of students and at how fast this week is going, but we are so lucky to have two more days with these students, who are allowing us to have just as much fun as they are! Everyone is always so energized and really good team players. They all work together and it is so much fun to watch them have fun while including everyone!

Wondering questions to discuss with the students:

What character are you playing in our story drama? How do they act?

Which game has been your favorite and what does it teach you?


You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown - DAY TWO

August 8, 2017

What an amazing second day of the “You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown" program!

Miss Jordyn and Miss Emma started the day with some stretches to warm up the students bodies. Then we read “You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown” to give the students an idea of the story that we will be telling. Then we played two games, Late For School and Superheroes and Supervillians. These were both favorites and everyone is looking forward to playing again.

After snack, we started to create our masks. We were joined by Miss Allison once again and she showed us how to make our masks perfect. Everyone enjoyed themselves, even though it was a sticky job!

With Miss Sonya, we started with Animal Yoga. It was great to see all of the animals stretch themselves out while having fun with their voices. Then, we started to choreograph a movement piece to “The Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. All of the students cannot wait for our showcase.

Miss Jordyn, Miss Sonya and Miss Emma cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!  

Some wondering questions to start a conversation based on today's lessons:

Who were some of the characters in the book we read? Who was your favorite?

What character are you playing in our song for the showcase?


You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown - DAY ONE

August 7, 2017

Hello!

We had an awesome first day at Theatre Aspen this summer with our last week’s camp: You’re a Good Friend, Charlie Brown! Our room is full of lovely students, led by teaching artists Miss Jordyn and Miss Sonya, with teaching assistant Miss Emma.

We started the day by getting to know each other using name squares that the students decorated themselves. We had lots of fun getting to know the students and some of their favorite things to draw. We learned all about characters and talked about characters in the Peanuts stories.

In the morning, we also created classroom rules together that we will follow by for the remainder of the week.

We then moved on to the art classroom, where we used water colors to paint a background for our good friends, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Everyone then got to share why they were such good friends. Our lunch break, even though partially cloudy, was a great bonding time for the students. They really got to know each other.

Following lunch, Miss Sonya gave us some time to relax. We listened to different songs to get our brains flowing with what movements we could add to the songs. We then used our bodies to show that we were in different places, like the beach or the mountains. We became animals to explore the different parts of our bodies that could move to create a different thing. We also created letters with our bodies and a few other friends. Miss Sonya ended our day with a story that let the students imaginations flow.

Overall, today was an amazing day. We learned so much about each other and we are looking forward to seeing what the rest of the week has in store!

** Some big questions from today that you can talk with the students about:

What is a character? Who are the different characters in the Peanuts stories?

Can you use all parts of your body to move?


Mirette and the High Wire - DAY FOUR

August 3, 2017

With our showcase just around the corner, we had a lot of fun today rehearsing our show and practicing our favorite activities.

In the morning with Miss Jordyn, we started with a Dance Party to get our energy up! Then we played some of our favorite Drama Games:

  • Whoosh! - Our favorite warm-up game
  • Secret Leader - A teamwork and observation game that always makes us giggle
  • Body Hide - a new game in which we have to work together to hide our classmates using only our bodies (trickier than it sounds!)
  • Count to 10 - a focus game that involves counting to 10 while following silly rules like: instead of 5 say "cupcake"
  • Superheroes & Supervillains - students play secret supervillains and superheroes, and everyone else tries to guess!

    
Photos: The townspeople of Puppytown must discover who the SUPERVILLAIN is among them before the villain kidnaps the entire city!

At snack, we were serenaded by the sounds of the opera singers rehearsing at Aspen Middle School. Some of our students were even inspired to try their hand (or voice, rather) at opera!

  • Point & Story - we told a new story today, this time about a unicorn named Sparkles
  • Gracious Goat - a fun new activity in which we pass around and imaginary goat and practice using our voices in many different ways (high/low, fast/slow, like our favorite characters!)
  • Practice Showcase - we put our new voice awareness to work while practicing telling our story so big and loud the opera singers at AMS could hear us!

   
Photos: Gracious Goat was easily one of the most popular activities today - our friends' funny voices had us cracking up!

Before lunch, we also filled out personal Self-Reflections from the week, and talked about the skills we have been practicing.

After lunch, Miss Sonya joined us again for another great afternoon of Movement:

  • Stretch - we stretched our whole bodies, transforming into different animals like puppies, frogs, and starfish
  • Bear Hunt - Miss Sonya taught us a new song, and we acted it out using the whole room
  • Poison Frog - a great focus game (our favorite part is dying a dramatic death when the Poison Frog points their tongue at us!)

   
Photos: Students make their bodies "as wide as they can;" Miss Sonya spots a BEAR during our "Going on a Bear Hunt" song

We also practiced our Movement showcase story, and learned some new movement to a fun song from "Aristocats."

We are so excited to share everything we have worked on this week at our Showcase tomorrow! Hope we'll see you there:)
 


Mirette and the High Wire - DAY THREE

August 2, 2017

We kicked the day off today with an energetic Dance Party, dancing to our favorite songs from Sing, Moana, and Trolls!

 Then, Miss Jordyn led us in some activities to practice Storytelling:

  • Two Truths and a Lie - a game in which we practice telling stories to our friends by saying two things that are true about ourselves, and one thing that is made up
  • Point & Story- then, we practiced working together to tell one big story about a rhinocerous named Sparkles, and his friend Flipper

We finished with a game of Magic Elevator, during which we used our imagiantion to take trips to exotic locations such as Turkey, Africa, and Chocolateland. 

We enjoyed a sunny snack break outside before coming in to work on our showcase. The students were very excited to show Miss Jordyn what they had learned with Miss Sonya yesterday! Then, we read our story one more time and talked about what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of our story. To test our memory, we wrote events from the story, scrambled them up, and tried to put them back in the right order. I think our parents will be very impressed with how well this group knows this story.

   
Photos: Our students were very excited to share their showcase movement with Miss Jordyn

At lunch today, we had a lot of fun on the tube slides, and had a party on the swings! Then, we headed back to the classroom for Movement class with Miss Sonya.

In the afternoon, we played some of our favorite games from the week, and learned a couple new ones as well:

  • Guided Meditation - This time, we went to places like the jungle, and the circus!
  • Animal Exploration - This has become one of our favorite movement exercises.
  • Chief - As well as a new variation called Poison Frog
  • Storybook Pictures - Students used their bodies to recreate images from our story book

   
Photo: Students recreate images from Mirette on the Hire Wire using their bodies and imagination

We also did another fantastic practice of our showcase movement, set to music. We are excited for our families and friends to come see our final showcase on Friday!


Mirette and the High Wire - DAY TWO

August 1, 2017

Day 2 was a nice mix of new activities and our favorite games from yesterday! 

Miss Jordyn started us out with our favorite warm-up game, Whoosh! Then, we playe some games that helped us practice Focus and Teamwork:

  • Bean Bag Toss - a focus game that challenges us to pass a bean bag without talking, (or, to make it even more challenging, without laughing!)
  • Who Has It? - a silly game where we pass a bean bag around in secret and a detective tries to guess who has it
  • Statue Garden - an instant favorite that involves freezing when the Gardener is looking, and moving when he or she is not!

  
Photos: Students are challenged to control the urge to laugh while playing Bean Bag Toss

Following snack, we danced our wiggle worms out with a game of Freeze Dance! Then we settled in for storytime. We talked about who the characters were in our stories and how they might feel. Then, we played a game of Character Tag in which we transformed into our favorite characters and moved around the space.


Photo: Students raise their hand to identify different characters from one of our books

We held a well-deserved lunch break outside at the playground, where our characterization and character movement continued into our playground games!

Following lunch, Miss Sonya started off our Movement class by reading our story for the week - Mirette on the High Wire - about a young girl who is taught to walk the tightrope by a famous acrobat named Bellini. We decided what parts we wanted to play, and rehearsed our performance for the showcase this Friday. Then, we played some Movement games:

  • Human Clay - in partners, we took turns being the artist and the clay, creating fun sculptures out of just our bodies
  • Machine - working together, we used our bodies and voices to create a Cupcake Machine, Baby Doll Machine, and a very enthusiastic Theatre Aspen Machine
  • Simon Says - one of our favorites from yesterday

   
Photos: Miss Sonya reads us the story of Mirette on the High Wire for our final showcase; Artists sculpt their human clay to create sculptures such as "The Revolting Mime" and "Mirette Dances on the High Wire"

Tomorrow, we will continue to practice our Showcase story and practice having strong, confident stage presence!


Mirette and the High Wire - DAY ONE

July 31, 2017

This week's Mirette and the High Wire is off to a great start. This group is a lovely mix of TAS veterans and students new to Theatre Aspen and theatre camp, led by teaching artists Miss Jordyn and Miss Sonya and teaching assistant Miss Allison.

We started the day with Miss Jordyn helping us gett to know each other through a variety of Drama Games, such as:

  • Wind Blows West - a game that gets us moving and builds our confidence speaking in front of each other
  • Character Duck, Duck, Goose - like the classic game, with a fun drama twist!
  • Red Light/Green Light - in our version, we like to be different animals while moving fast and slow, and freezing

   
Photos: Students engaged in Character Duck, Duck, Goose and acting as princesses and knights during Red Light, Green Light

 

In the morning, we also collaborated on some classroom rules together that we will follow by for the remainder of the week.

After our snack break outside, we warmed up with an energy game called Whoosh! and played some Story Drama games that taught us about the different parts of the stage:

  • Staging a Theatre - an activity that taught us about the different parts of the stage by acting them out with our bodies
  • Blackout - a game about listening and following directions that uses the parts of the stage we just learned

   
Photos: The game Whoosh! requires a lot of energy and focus - and makes a giggle a lot, too!

 

We wound down our morning with a new class favorite, Superheroes & Supervillains. In the afternoon, we took a lunch break at the Aspen Elementary School playground, and were joined by Miss Sonya.

Following lunch, Miss Sonya introduced us to our Movement class with a bunch of fun new activities:

  • Guided Meditation - Miss Sonya played music and we imagined what kind of characters we were, where we were going, and what we might be doing
  • Animal Exploration - each person picks different animals and we explore the room like those animals
  • Chief - a group game in which one person is a secret leader and a detective must discover who the leader is by watching the group 
  • And one of our favorites...Mirror - in partners, we tried to move together and follow each other so closely that Miss Sonya could not guess who the leader was!


Photo: Students stand BIG as a starfish with Miss Sonya

 

It was a very busy, day full of lots of new activities and friends. Tomorrow, we will begin to learn about our story for the showcase on Friday and practice some of our favorite games from today! 


Day Three!

July 19, 2017

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Holy gucamole! It's already the end of Wednesday?! Time really does fly when you're having fun! 

What better way to start off the day in CREATIVE DRAMA then playing a silly imaginative game? Miss Allison lead us in a game where we had something in our hands and we had to use your imagination to think of what it WASN'T. For example, if we're holding a bean bag, "This is NOT a.... purple marker!" And the silliness ensued. (Everything from shovels to cupcakes were mentioned!) 

Our key skills of the day were: coordination in DANCE, making choices in CREATIVE DRAMA, and incorporating stage presence into SINGING, and we completely succeeded! Some of my favorite moments as a teacher are when I see the students come out of their shell and completely come into their own, and when you see their imaginations and personalities soar; this group especially excels at all of those, and it's becoming more apparent as each day goes on. They seem energized, enthusiatic, and creatively ambitious, and it makes my job so much more fun seeing all of the amazing characters and scenarios they create themselves. 

In singing class today, I started off by having my students to a kind of tongue twister warm up (I'm Miss Kayla!) that also incorparted our physicality too; we did a variation of the "Witch Doctor" song (ooh eee, ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang!) and also did a vocal roller coaster to get our breath going, really work on our listening skills, and sing all up and down our range (working on both quiet and projected singing as well!) to get the students used to the sensation of moving and singing at the same time - just like in our showcase! And speaking of showcase... we made excellent progress today! Not only did we work on the trickiest section of "Zip A Dee Doo Dah," (in hip hop fashion, no less) I also thought it would be a great challenge to incorporate another song into our showcase: A spinoff of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" with an Alice in Wonderland twist! The students are so eager to learn and create, it makes my job as an educator and supporter all the better, and I know they could totally take on the challenge of another song!  

We also incorporated some theatrical terms with a game of Simon Says. The students learned the difference between stage left, stage right, upstage and downstage, what "hit your mark" means, and where the house is located! It seems easy upon first hearing the terms, but things get a little tricky when we've got 15 hopping kangaroos all bouncing to stage left! This exercise really taught them to keep their listening ears on, and to trust their gut on where to go, even if their friends weren't going the same way they were! And stage presence was EXTREMELY apparent in this game! One of the greatest successes I had today was in one group we were playing Simon Says. I didn't start off by saying "Simon Says" and not a single student moved. What?!! They all had their listening ears on, and not a single person budged! I can tell our listening and awareness skills are becoming super focused and great, even over the course of three days! Woohoo! 

I have to say, my favorite part of today was at the very end of our day - we play a game called "Statues" that the students have come to know and love, and I had the privilege of putting on my best evil scowl and portraying the Evil Red Queen. We ended the day with laughs, hugs, and far too many "off with her head's."

I'm eager to see what everyone brings to tomorrow's class, and I can't wait to incorporate everything we've learned this week into our showcase prep and performance! I find myself coming home with a smile on my face, which is the best way to end my day, and eagerly waking up excited about the wonderful day ahead with these students.  


Alice Through The Looking Glass: Day 2

July 19, 2017

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We started off our second day of camp with a game of statues. One teacher pretends to be a night guard and tries to catch the moving statues. This game shows the kids’ creativity in their positions and their playfulness when they can’t control their laughter. Then we split into two groups and began our activities.

Miss Alison started off her class with a game of space matter, where the kids pretended to create objects or activities from their imaginations and showing what they were with the movements of their bodies. Some creative ideas included making ice cream, playing with a hula-hoop, and chewing bubble gum. Then we transitioned to creating short skits using the items or activities the kids created in their minds. This activity featured skits about getting stranded on an island, and losing a dog in a batch of ice cream.

In dance class, Miss Britney taught the kids about tempo and asked them to decide if a song was slow, medium, or fast. Then they learned stage directions in a game of blackout. This game is similar to Simon says. Miss Britney called out a stage direction, such as “Stage Left”, and the kids followed. When she yelled “blackout”, everyone froze until she said “light ups”. Finally, we ended dance class with freeze dance.

During lunch the kids had the opportunity to get outside, and play with kids who weren’t in their group. Their creative minds came up with different variations of tag, played on the monkey bars, and made endless laughter.

In the last class of the day, Miss Kayla started teaching the kids the words to “Zip a dee doo dah”. They picked them up so fast! Then we took a break from showcase rehearsal and sang “Baby Shark”. Everyone had so much fun coming up with different voices for the sharks. Finally, we played character Freeze Dance. Everyone chose a character from Alice in Wonderland and acted out how they envisioned that character behaving, while trying not to get out.

At the end of the day we all joined together to play more hilarious rounds of Statues. Towards the end, some of the kids laughter was so loud and shook through their whole bodies that they couldn’t stay still during the game. Overall, it was an incredible day filled with learning and joy.


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