Caroline and I met with our group for the first time last Thursday. The meeting definitely went different than I was expecting. We walked in to a large group meeting with all the students that are a part of Higher Achievement. There were many other student mentors and adults there that also work with groups of students. Our group was a group of 12 fifth graders. We were brought to a band room filled will instruments, which of course all the kids ran to the second we walked in to the room. After getting them all to sit down we introduced ourselves and went around the room having the students tell us their name and an animal that started with the same letter. Many of the students had trouble with this so we changed it to just their favorite animal. A few of the boys in the class were making up names for themselves… some of them not very appropriate. After we finally got everyone’s real name and were all introduced we told them what we were going to be doing this semester. A few were very excited about the show and the chance to act in a play. However there were some not so excited looks on there faces. We assured them that the whole process was going to be a ton of fun and that they had nothing to worry about.
We then played a game with them called Look and scream. We all got in to a circle and looked at the ground. We had one student count to 3 and on 3 everyone had to look up at someone. If that person was making eye contact back then both had to yell “ahh” and fall to the ground. If the person was not looking at you, you were safe to the next round. You play until there are one or two people left standing. The students seemed to enjoy this game although there was a group of 3 boys that refused to join in to the game and wanted to just watch. After the game we had them all sit back down and we asked them if any of them knew who William Shakespeare was. All of them said no. We then asked them if they knew the play Romeo and Juliet and they all got excited because they had heard of it. We then briefly explained who Shakespeare was and that we would be doing a play called Twelfth Night. We asked if any one had seen the movie She’s the Man and a few said yes. We explained a basic plot of the play and that the movie is based off of the play. One of the best parts was one of the girls goes “Wow this is so cool I didn’t even know I knew Shakespeare!”
After giving them the brief plot we started another game, Hitchhiker (we made sure to mention that they should never pick up a stranger on the side of the road only for the game). We set up the chairs with two front seats and then all the rest behind and had them sit down. One person was the Hitchhiker first and we gave her an idea of what to act like when they picked her up. The students in the car then had to pick up on who she was or what she was doing and mimic it. We played this many times, the kids really enjoyed it (some got way more in to it than others). My favorite one was a little girl we wanted to be Dory from Finding Nemo. This meaning she couldn’t remember anything. As she got in the car the driver started asking her questions and all she answered was “I can’t remember.” The driver then started to catch on and all of a sudden ‘forgot how to drive.’ It was fun to watch the students act a bit in this game and I think most of them enjoyed it! At the end of the night we walked the kids back to the main room and one of the girls came up to us saying that it was the most fun she’s had at this place. This made us happy to know, as much as Caroline and I felt unprepared the students still had a good time. I am looking forward to having them read over the script and start planning out our act with them!