This week our kids did not show up. I was actually kind of sad because I wanted to see their drawings and talk to them. We sent an email to the program director, Aaron, and he said there must have been some connectivity issue and he was not in that day. Obviously with so many moving parts and the complexity of technology, we expected some hiccups. I am a little nervous about getting the kids to finish everything for the next time we meet but we just have to roll with the punches so to speak. I’m looking forward to finishing everything up and finally watching our video and the other group’s acts!
This week was in a word: interesting. Once the meeting started (a few minutes late) we were greeted by a teacher who we had not met before. She was very task-oriented and asked us what our goals were and what we wanted the student to have done this week. We have had trouble the past few weeks really getting the student’s attention, but this teacher really took over and got the kids right to work. She muted their mic so it was a little odd just sitting there, but hopefully maybe we can find a balance between her physically being there and us virtually being there to interact with the kids for our last meeting!
This week, it was especially hard to get the students engaged. Usually, they are pretty attentive and interested in what we have set out for the day, but yesterday they seemed uninterested and quite bored. We tried to talk about what they did over the weekend or even tried to sketch out what they wanted to draw, but nothing seemed to work. This would have been much easier to troubleshoot if we were there in person but obviously that’s just not possible. Even though we struggled to get them engaged this week, the results of last weeks drawings were incredible. This gives me hope that this was just a bad/hard day and they actually are interested in producing work and seeing a final product soon! We are going to send an email to the director of our group to request pictures of their drawings to add to an iMovie so we can start our portion of putting the act together.
Our group went into this week with more of an agenda than we had in previous weeks. With only a few meetings left, we decided to devote each meeting to tackling one scene in our act. There were only two students this week, which we are used to, but I think it was harder to engage with them this week. The students decided to take on more of an artistic role and dedicate our meeting time to drawing out scene one cartoon-style. They had expressed interest in drawing out each scene since day one so I think they were definitely excited to start drawing. One student even brought his own materials from home which gave us the impression he had been thinking about this for a while and was actually excited about the project. Sometimes it is hard to gage our student’s attitudes toward this project, but seeing him drawing and focus on how to depict scene one was good feedback for us that they are actually excited and look forward to our meetings. Next week we hope to see what they have for scene one and work on scene two.
This week was definitely more challenging than last. The beginning of the meeting was productive.We asked the students if they remembered what our act was about and gaged how they felt about presenting the scenes. Two students seemed very excited about drawing and trying to read the lines, but the other student seemed uninterested overall. We tried our best to be as engaging as possible; asking them about their days and their weekends, but it was a real challenge to get them to pay attention and stay on task. Of course I never assumed three teenage boys would attentively listen to four college girls, especially through a screen, but I was feeling more of a disconnect this week. Once we got to reading the lines, only one student was really paying attention and participating so we filled in to read the other character’s lines. After the meeting was over, the director of our group asked us to stay for a few moments after the kids had left the room. He told us we did a great job at keeping the student engaged and de-escalating the bickering that was going on. He said he was very grateful for our effort and attention to the kids. Overall, even though this week was challenging, I think we are in a good place to hopefully help them start drawing scenes next week and figuring out some type of audio to put to the drawings. It was also re-assuring to hear from the director that we were doing a good job with the kids.
Going into this week, I was a little nervous but also very excited to meet the kids. I did not know what to expect, especially with everything being on google meet, but I was pleasantly surprised with the overall experience. Despite some technical difficulties in the classroom, both the students and their advisors were very interactive with us and the material. Even though there were only two kids in attendance, it seemed as if there were excited to learn about us and our project, which inspired me to thoroughly describe and keep the project interesting for them and for us. Most of the meeting was small talk and introductions, but it was refreshing and I think thats what the kids needed. Most of my classes are in person this semester, which I am very thankful for, but this project has made me realize the virtual education world is especially challenging with younger students (getting them to focus, engage in course material, etc). Overall, I am very optimistic about the Jepson Shakespeare Experience and I am eager to see how many/which students engage with the material next week.