Tag Archives: Adelia Chambers

Orlando Rep: A Playful Approach to Writing

Workshop mates EJ  Jordan, Adelia Chambers with our wonderful leader, Mary Hall,

The Orlando Rep has offered these great workshops on Wednesday in conjunction with Orange County Public Schools, for teachers to resee writing possibilities by the use of theatre, tableau, portraits, comic strips etc. These are sponsored by the Kennedy Center. This particular workshop was presented by Mary Hall Surface , a playwright who came down from DC.

Mary Hall took us through strategies on how to guide students to reinvent an old tale (Little Miss Muffet) into a personal theatrical interpretation. In turn as teachers we would be able to guide our students into new ways of creating a unique literary perspective. This is very different than dry writing prompts, abstract character analysis, etc Students recognize structure (beginning, middle, end) and become accountable for breathing new life into old entities.

We developed characters as a group and then gave them life with a quick improv, which Mary Hall considers a first draft. We had to discover a problem and then how we resolved it. We had to clearly come up with a beginning, middle and end. Each group devised a totally different interpretation.

My group, Muffet 1 (not here as a video), presented Ms. Muffet as a shady lady who had kidnapped Curds N. Whey. She was aided by her henchman, Tuffet (me). But along comes a Spider(man) who frightens Muffet, using Net to allow the release of Miss Whey. A very goofy, but interesting concept, as Muffet becomes the antagonist. The problem being how will Whey get away from Muffet.

The characterization for Muffet 2 created several new characters and used as a problem how Mom and Muffet would get to where they were going. So each presentation allows for its own interpretation which eventually promotes a writing component.

Teachers get excited over this because it is a new tool, using theater which allows kids to get up on their feet and perform, regroup and rethink outside the standard box. There is a lot of room for critical thinking and discussion. There is synthesis, analysis and application all going on at once, as anyone in the arts can recognize.

This was the final workshop for the season of 2016-17. These workshops because of their nature make teachers rethink writing, using the performing and visual arts as a way of getting students to bridge writing and action. This is the third workshop of four this season, I have attended.  The workshops are always pertinent to getting kids to write, but also to get kids to take on broader perspectives.

Teachers find fresh approaches to working with students. We have had many classroom teachers, but many ESE teachers as well, who find this approach liberating for students who may need to explore success a different way. I thank the Kennedy Center and the Orlando Rep; all presenters this season; and Ashley Spero and Scott Evans from Orange County Public Schools. These workshop events offer us fresh approaches to being successful with our students.

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A Year (and a half) in the life

In a year plus, so many things went on. I actually put a 90 minute video of it together, each in 3-30 minute parts, but because of issues with privacy cannot put it up, but i will put up sections here that seemed more public, and informative, to what became our first year in a brand new school. So many small things happened.

We started off with a great Meet the Teacher, a terrific Hispanic Heritage Month, had to pose for a big “A” (I Will Survive video) went on to a great STEM Fall Festival during an October Saturday (Weird Science video). We did the Dedication for the new school in November and I was asked to produce a short continuous running (Gift) video.

la-senorita-and-mrs-vazquezOur committee leader Assistant Principal, Mrs. Aleli Vazquez Santiago of Hispanic Heritage month.

big-a-copyThe big “A” shot.

ribbonRibbon cutting ceremony

4-principalsFour principals during Dedication Ceremony

adelia-birdsong-chambers-pastor-melvin-chambers-denise-paleriniAdelia Chambers, Mr. Birdsong, her dad and our own wonderful secretary, Denise Palmerini, one of our school photographers at the Dedication.

After giving Thanks, and a commemoration to a student we had lost the year before, the winter holidays moved in. Festivities both a concert and our Pajama Party given by Mrs. Maise, our wonderful media specialist, seen in the masthead head shot on the right. We decked the halls before going on break (All I Want video).

After a Fun Run, we went through the beginnings of really getting down to the realization that FSA was around the corner. Black History was presented in February, with one presentation seen in the video below.

We began to move into testing, and the school went along, as all do in our area in an orderly manner. The kids were great, we had an FSA rally, which was filmed, but again not here. Finally in May we came around again to another fairy tale ball, this time the theme was Paris.

lion-kingLeft to right: Principal Lukeshia Miller, Assistant Principal and Director Adelia Chambers

Then there was the Apoka’s Got Talent Show, which our music and performing arts teacher, Adelia Chambers, put together and three weeks later The Lion King Kids. What great productions, some day we’ll be able to post the shots and film. It was incredible to work with Adelia!

omaI took Art Club to OMA, which was great.

Jim Montgomery, our guidance counselor, said goodbye last day. He tirelessly worked for our kids for 19 years. Whether helping out with kids who faced death of a loved one, homelessness, hunger, or a Christmas present that needed some angel to find it, Jim came through. We miss him for his great Irish humor, his grace and his real feeling for those around him. He moved up the street to high school (and many of his old students) as an assistant principal. Best, always.

The boss also played a part in the Talent Show. Great performance.