We weren’t exactly sure what to expect when we walked into Boushall Middle School, but we were quickly greeted by the Higher Achievement folks. They certainly have a ton of kids on their hands. We arrived prior to the kids, but as soon as our group arrived we branched off from the larger Higher Achievement group. We were given a large art room with plenty of tables and room to move around, which will come in handy later in the semester.
We started off by going through the kids names by playing the name game where you have to say an adjective with your name that starts with the same letter as your name. This was a bit difficult for the kids to pay attention to since there were 17 of us trying to listen. That number includes us 3 mentors. The kids were a bit restless from this icebreaker so we moved onto a game called lumberjack where kids act as trees and the others act like lumberjacks by chopping down the trees. This game served its purpose of getting the kids up off of their feet, but I didn’t think the kids could be occupied by it for long.
The best part of our first session was when we decided to divide our group into three smaller groups to watch the Macbeth cartoon and discuss the big plot points of the play and of our particular part. My small group consisted of three girls who were on the more quiet side and one boy. They were silent while watching the video and they comprehended much more than I thought they would’ve. I asked them a few questions like, “Who is the main character?”, “What do the witches tell Macbeth?”, “What does Lady Macbeth do to Macbeth?”, etc. They were able to answer each question! I thought that working in smaller groups was much easier for our purposes of learning the basics of the play. I even had 3 of my 4 kids volunteer to have main character roles. The other child wanted to be a witch. After this, they asked me to read through Act I Scene 1 of the play, which they sat quietly and seemed to enjoy.
All in all, I think that in the future we will do things in small groups when we want the children to understand the lines in which they are reading. I think this attention helps those in our group who are more quiet, but do want parts in the play.