I can’t believe it’s finally over and I was not expecting the end product to be as entertaining as it was.

 

Given the amount of challenges the individual groups had and Bezio/Soderlund with communicating, I was very concerned it would not be engaging. However, the combination of peer voiceover (shoutout to Jack and Omar) and then hearing some of the kid’s enthusiasm was charming. Watching this out of context would have been extremely confusing, BUT we’re all experts on Much Ado by this point so it was cool to focus on how the plot translated to an adaption guided by the direction of elementary/middle schoolers. I especially loved the use of color in Act 3 settings, background music in Act 4 and the final dance scene in Act 5.

I don’t think our choice to have each act narrated by a different perspective came across entirely but this inconsistency didn’t disrupt the project. Another decision that wasn’t carried throughout the play was changing Claudio to Claudia. Again, it didn’t disrupt the play but I think would’ve been really cool to see in later acts. My favorite parts of the play are when the student’s voices/video are used. I wish I could’ve been involved in an experience like this when I was their age and it makes me happy that we were able to have JSP at all given COVID.

Overall, it was frustrating at times but the final product made it all worth it. I definitely needed the laughs to counteract the stress of finals week.

We recorded the rest of the scenes today!!

There were definitely times where students struggled with words in the script (i.e., deserved, benched) but the teacher and sometimes other students would jump in to help pronounce it. I’m not sure how consistent they kept the character – figurine pairings, but finishing the recordings took priority over those other details. Today was the first day, in my opinion, they seemed as focused and determined to get through the script. I’m not sure if this was because of pressure from the teacher or they were finally excited to be putting all of our work into action.

Overall, I’m glad we were able to have the students play a more active role in the final product. As much fun as it would have been for me to do audio over their drawings, I think this is more engaging and memorable in the long run. Communication with the community partner and technology issues have been the main obstacles throughout the semester but the students seemed to have enjoy the experience. I’m looking forward to seeing the final Act 5 video come together.

We were not able to meet with our group today, because the community partner could not sign into the Google Meet link. Our group members stayed on the call while our point person worked with the adult to figure out the issue. In the end, we sent along instructions to continue filming the remaining scenes with the script(s) we had sent them last week.

 

Once they send us these videos, we can work to edit them or have them reshoot specific parts of scenes, if necessary. They have a good understanding of the plot, assigned figurines for each character, and have all of the scene backdrops drawn. Next meeting will be dedicated to wrapping up filming and then we’ll be done!

Last week was extremely unproductive. Between starting the call 10 min late and having technology issues for about 15 min, we weren’t able to get much done. The final scene we were missing (the outdoor prom) was drawn, but all of the student’s attention spans were very short and there was not much guidance on the community partner’s end to help them stay focused.

 

This week was better. We had already decided it would be easier to film and make progress with the project if we wrote a script for each scene. Holly, our point person, sent them the script the morning of our meeting and then we finally started filming! I was hoping we could focus a little more on the kids editing the script the way they want it to be, but I’m still happy we were able to be productive. I’m anxious to see how the recording came out, but overall love that we were able to have any opportunity at all to work on the JSP.

After missing last week, I was excited to meet the new students added to our group and finally begin getting their input on the scenes.

 

We started off by introducing myself and noting that one of the five students was absent. After a rocky start (talking about a completely unrelated topic), the children made the decision to combine scene 2 and 3 so that both promposals can be completed at once. After explaining to them what promposals actually were and examples of how these can be done, they selected a football game as the location and method of the promposal in our adaptation. Last week they had decided that the challenge in scene 1 would be a one-on-one backetball challenge and that the way the characters would hear of Hero’s innocence would be through rumors spreading during gym class. During this meeting we also had them open their action figures and draws the two main settings of Act 5- a basketball court and football field.

 

I am excited to begin practicing the scenes next week and am very interested to see how they will bring their characters to life. This is a funny, creative group of students and I have no doubt we will be able to provide a riveting conclusion to this version of Much Ado.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this week’s meeting with the kids, but we made a lot of decisions during our workday.

Act IV decided it would be best to film little by little, so nobody is overwhelmed. Since our kids seemed very excited by the idea of using some type of action figures instead of drawings, we planned to ask if they had these materials or needed Jepson to purchase them. We also began to search through the library guides for music samples. Not only was this another idea from the kids, but also makes sense considering we have a promposal and final dance scene. The only other detail we were planning on addressing was potentially making Claudio a Claudia.

 

Apparently, I missed some interesting decisions! My other group members let me know the community partner we’re working with rearranged the groups and that we had some new kids. They repeated much of the information from the first week and then the kids assigned figurines to the characters. So now in our adaptation, we have┬áHero as Moana, Claudio as the Hulk, Pedro as Iron Man, Leo as Batman, Ben as Spiderman, and Beatrice as a character from Trolls. Honestly, why not?

I’m in Group 5 and we are working with four fifth-graders that each had different levels of interest in the project. Our interaction started with the students from Stage and Screen introducing themselves and sharing a fun fact. Then our students introduced themselves and then we watched a summary video of Much Ado About Nothing. Some of them were confused, but one student seemed to grasp the content very well.

In the end, we decided to break Act IV up by scenes. 2 students are focusing on scene 1 and 4. The remaining two students are working on scene 2 and 3 individually. We quickly realized they weren’t too interested in making illustrations, so we may be moving forward with recording videos of action figures or legos. Another suggestion they gave was to incorporate music. Hopefully we can build off of these ideas and get them excited to be retelling Shakespeare.

One challenge I see us working to overcome is that all four students are one classroom. This will make checking in on the progress of the individual scenes more difficult, but I’m still excited to see how this goes!