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.

Although the students did not come online this week for some reason, as a group we were able to assess what needed to happen next. The week after Thanksgiving, we will have the students audio-record their lines and then we will put it together with the pictures they send us. Until then, we have to create the script! That will be a job for the next week. I’m looking forward to seeing the kids again the week after next!

This week, after sharing our idea about taking pictures of the students in different scenes, the teacher of the class told us that she wanted to take that time to work with the students and take their pictures right then and there! We shared with her the main points that we wanted to see generally within these pictures such as the Homecoming Dance,  Hero getting on the Homecoming Court, rumors being told, Hero leaving in tears, etc. That took about 5 minutes and the rest of the time the teacher worked with them on the pictures! I can’t wait to see what they send us. On our end, we need to clean up the script this week so that we can send it to them, review it this upcoming Monday, and have them record it in the near future. It’s very exciting to see a clear future for our group now. I am most excited about the students watching their own work and hopefully enjoying what they see!

This past week was particularly difficult in my opinion when it came to working with the students. Not only were there different students present (because I think not all of them come every week and we always have at least one new face), but there was also no teacher in the room for the entirety of the session so it was challenging to get–and maintain–their attention. That being said, when we did get their attention, we realized that they didn’t seem too excited about drawing the pictures. We are still considering other options (like their robots or the legos), but we had another idea we are going to see if we can try.

So the plan is as follows: If we get permission, we want their teachers to take pictures of them (maybe 10 or so) “posing” in different scenes and then we covered their faces afterward. For example, if we have a photo of the “Homecoming Scene” and it’s just them posing as if they are dancing or something. Then, when we go to edit the video, we put emojis over their faces! This way, they could be actively involved in acting out the scenes (which we think they really liked when we played the improv game last week), but we wouldn’t be able to identify who they were. We will keep everyone posted when we find out if something like this is possible.

How the 6th-grade students set the “stage” for the Homecoming Dance as they did their own improv version of the scene.


On our third week working with the 6th-grade students, Group 4 was super happy with the way things went! Diego had the idea to make our script-writing process run more smoothly: an improv game! We had, on our own screens, the list of plot points from Act 4 and we asked them, scene by scene, to act out what a particular plot point might look like (i.e. Claudia accusing Hero at the Homecoming dance). We didn’t use the names of the characters in an effort to not be too confusing. We just did general plot points (in that case, someone accused another person of something really big at the Homecoming Dance). The title quote of this post was shared by a student named Joy and comes from the scene where Bea is telling Ben how mad she is about the accusations made against Hero.

This was such a fun exercise and I think the students really enjoyed it. I think it also helped that we had a teacher this time who was pretty good at helping them stay focused and also because one of us had the idea to split the group into partners, so we had two students doing the “acting” while the other (there was only one other at this time) was drawing. Our plan now is to put the quotes/lines altogether into a script and share it with them so that we can figure out what pictures we need/when we can record.

Week 2 continued to bring interesting twists to our process. As a group, we created a list of plot points to bring to the meeting, in the hopes that we could share them with the students and ask them to “translate” it into their own words/re-tell the story in their own way. One student read the document we created with the plot points, and it was in this time, that we learned that the student was struggling to pronounce a lot of the words–6th grade, am I right? I did the same thing. Many of the names, in particular, were hard for him, and he called Claudio “Claundido” and Borachio “Borahco”. At first, I wanted to correct him and explain how the words were “really said”, but then I realized that the usage of these different names was really unique to THESE students and THEIR production. For example, if we really seek ways to “decolonize” Shakespeare, one way to do this would be having the narrators say things like “Claundido” and “Borahco” and sharing comments such as, “They got bougie names…”, which was said during our meeting. Just an idea…

Our translation process was a bit slow and we are considering other ways to go about this process, but in the meantime, another idea I had was to incorporate the sentences they said “off-the-record” into the script. For example, the bougie name comment and others like, “That’s a green”, “I think they like each other”, etc. I wonder if this could be part of the way we use their modern, every-day language to help them revamp this story.

The first week, we jumped right in working with the kids. There were only three of them and one had to leave early, so it was a bit awkward… but our group made it work! We showed them a video with an overview of the entire original play and then tried to give them an overview of Act 4 in particular, but I found it difficult because the students kept speaking with each other and it was hard to hear when they were/were not listening to us/engaging with us. I think this was partly because the students were all on in one space together, not on individual devices, and the sound was not ideal. This also just made it hard to find direction and sustain a conversation. Yet, despite these small setbacks, things are going well. The students had a lot of positive energy, which we can use to our advantage, and they had shared many ideas about using these robots they have on-site in the final video. At this point, I think our group needs to create a tentative agenda for our meetings to help give us direction and be efficient while having fun with and getting to know the students!