This week, the students and teacher did not come online again so we did not get a chance to meet… but that’s okay! We decided instead to record ourselves reading the script we put together (since we never had the time to do a recording of the students) and used some great pictures they sent in the background of the video. I am proud of our final product that now incorporates much of our hard work in the script creation process and the student’s creative artwork and authentic words. While I wish we could have included their voices in the final products, their art demonstrates both their understanding and excitement for the project.

This was a strange and hectic week for me personally. I was unfortunately too sick with covid to attend Monday’s meeting with our community partners. From what I gathered after meeting separately with my group members later in the week, the meeting had a rough start. Apparently the meeting began about 20 minutes late, and our group was not able to record the final run-through of our script with the students. Luckily, we have some of the students’ images, and a previous run-through of the script recorded. Given my inability to attend this last meeting with our community partners, I felt sad that I did not get to say goodbye to them or thank them for their help in conceptualizing and executing the project.

I really wish that I could have attended this meeting even though it was abbreviated, mostly because the project has been a great way to escape from the uncertainty of surviving through the global pandemic. I consider this aspect of the project to be another overarching goal: we’ve aimed to give our community partners and us UR students the power to create and tell a story in a time that may feel so overwhelming and out of our control–all while having fun in the process. I look forward to helping out my group in the completion of our final project. We still have a lot of work left, but we plan to create the remaining images and edit our act as “together” as we possibly can.

We did it! We got all of our scenes recorded, and now we just have to edit them together to (hopefully) form a coherent story that resembles Much Ado About Nothing. I was unsure that we would be able to finish all of the scenes, but the teacher assisting the students did a really good job keeping them focused as they read the scripts. I could also tell that they were very engaged with the story as they were reading the script and understanding what was happening. By the last take, it almost seemed like they made changes in inflection and intonation as they voiced the characters in order to reflect the content of the scene.

It was very satisfying to finish all of the scenes. Developing both the story and the students’ comprehension of the story was a process throughout the semester, with more difficulty in the latter. Simplifying parts of the plot and changing the characters and setting helped, but giving the students more control about some details allowed them to translate the ideas of the play into terms that made sense to them. Once that happened, I could tell there was a difference in their approach. They were more excited to be working on the project because they felt connected to it. That was the most rewarding part of the project, far better than our work on the script and planning.

This was our last and final meeting which was very bittersweet. Before our meeting on Thursday our group got together during our normal class time on Wednesday to go over and record the script. We all experimented with different voices to showcase different characters and were in hysterics over some of them (all I have to say is be on the lookout for Jack’s Jon impression in Act 2 it is truly something else). I think that our group got along really well and had strong communication skills each week that allowed us to succeed in completing the project.

Just before our meeting on Thursday Aaron finally sent the pictures but we were missing a few so Kat got creative with some stick figures and cropping but she ended up completing it and we are all really proud of it. We had the students say their names and do an introduction in the beginning so that they could have credit for their hard work and also had them do a bit of narration for those who were eager to read or “rap” the script. We are super excited for the students and everyone else to see the final project!

This was definitely my favorite week by far. The kids completed all of the pictures and we had the majority of the script done so we thought that it would be a good idea to have some of the kids read the script and give us any feedback. One of the kids was SO excited to read the script and actually read the entire thing as a sort of rap. He had a smile on his face the whole time and kept saying how much he wanted to do it again which made us really happy and for the first time I actually felt like the kids wanted to be involved with it. I was also really impressed at his ability to read so quickly and coherently. I have volunteered at Youth Life in the past with similar age kids and many of them had trouble with their reading skills and don’t enjoy it so it was really inspiring to see this student share such a joy and passion for it.

I also really like the dynamic of my group as a whole. I believe that we make a really good team and have done a good job at managing the craziness of meeting virtually. I am excited but a bit sad for our last meeting with the students as I have enjoyed working with everyone. We are hoping to get them to record a bit more so that their voices can be included too.

This weeks meeting was definitely one of our most productive meetings. We were very excited because we had the teacher who is better at getting the kids to participate and able to maintain better control of them. We emailed Aaron a list of pictures that we needed them to take and the teacher was able to work with the students to get most of them done which was super helpful. It definitely was tricky though because we felt kind of useless on the meeting as we couldn’t really help virtually and were just kind of watching the kids do their thing. However, there wasn’t really much else we could do in a virtual setting and are hoping to get more of their feedback for the script next class so that we can finalize and record it. Overall, our group is feeling really good about the timeline and our progress so far.

We had our final meeting with the students yesterday. Our plan was to show the students the movie we had made with their photos, however we recieved the photos an hour before our meeting began. This proved was a nice coincidence because instead of doing that we were able to take some voice recordings of the students! Two of the students were eager to read the script so we asked them to do the narration at the beginning and ending of each scene. They were very excited to do this and it makes our movie much more exciting!

When piecing together the film last night I was glad that we were able to include the voices of the students. I was frustrated at first because I had already created the audio files on I-Movie. However, it did not take long to include the new recordings we took in our meetings, and it sounds much better with the students voices.

I am sad that this was our last meeting! I looked forward to seeing the kids each week and interacting with them as best we could. Although this project was frustrating at times I was enjoyed working with the students the most. I hope that they are pleased with the work they did and enjoy watching the movie!