After our first meeting with Henderson Higher Achievement, I look forward to following Monday night sessions with these students. Our first meeting definitely exceeded my expectations. I expected to be in a classroom with around ten students. I assumed it would be primarily girls and a few outgoing boys. I had hoped at least six of them would have had a slight interest in acting, while the other four would let the idea of acting grow as they watched their peers. However, I walked into the auditorium of Henderson to twenty five RAMBUNCTIOUS fifth graders. They were bouncing out of their seats. They would raise their hand and stand up and wiggle their fingers to try to reach their arm higher than the student next to them. I was so excited by their excitement. While I thought our biggest challenge would be participation, I now think it will be to calm them down.
The first thing we did with the scholars was introduce ourselves and show a video of Macbeth. They were really quick to catch a three minute animated summary of the story. We had students call out what they remembered from the play and we asked them to help us piece together the story. In a short three minute video, they concluded that Macbeth killed everyone to become the king, and that he was motivated by himself, his wife, and the three witches. I was shocked by how well they were able to come to this conclusion.
We played the name game with them next, which looking back was definitely not the best way to learn their names. To get through twenty five fifth graders, it is impossible to keep everyone’s attention. We were thankful to have the Henderson organizers with us to help regain their attention. I felt bad because they were yelled at and warned multiple times to be quiet or they would get sent home. We simply could have chosen a better way to do this that would minimize losing their attention. However, we told them that if they paid attention and got through the name game, we would show them the video of Macbeth again. We did, and it allowed them to further understand the story line.
The next thing we did with them was play Bullfrog. They loved this game! This helped show us who was going to be loud and take on a lead role, and who had no interest in speaking. The first time around, a handful of scholars just pretended to die, even though no bullfrog stuck their tongue out. We told them we were going to stop playing if they did that again and soon we had them playing four rounds.
We ended the session by wrapping up what we did with them, and told them to talk about the play at home if they were interested in sharing it. The next class session, we look forward to seeing who remembers the story and if anyone would like a bigger role. We will work at gaining their respect and controlling their behavior early on, and find more games to play that allow the scholars to come out of their shell.