If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Day at the Theater

Yesterday was all about the performing arts for me. First, my first and second graders had their Modern Language Assembly, an event we have been preparing for, almost to the exclusion of anything else, since we returned from spring break. Each class had to sing two songs in the language they are learning, either French or Spanish. After spending the better part of two months with the Spanish language equivalent of the Barney Song playing over and over in my head, I was very much looking forward to getting the performance behind us.

The kids were adorable, of course. It's hard to go wrong with 80 or so seven and eight year olds singing songs, especially when most of the audience doesn't understand a word they are saying. Whether it was worth all of the classroom time we put into it (a precious commodity at less than 90 minutes a week) is another question. I'm sure the parents were pleased, and there is a lot of power to the public relations aspect of these things, but the rest of our curriculum was pretty much on hold while we prepared, so I do wonder.

In the evening, my wife and I went with a friend to see the Shakespeare Theater Company's production of Hamlet in Rock Creek Park here in DC. I've been to outdoor summer Shakespeare in a number of cities at this point, one of the benefits of our peripatetic lifestyle, and I have to say that this was the best I've ever seen in that category. The cast was outstanding (although reading their bios in the program I did wonder if there is an actor alive who hasn't appeared in Law and Order SVU). I was particularly amazed by Ophelia; not a strength in most productions of Hamlet, but in this case completely captivating every time she appeared on stage. I could go on and on about the show, but suffice it to say that I loved it.

All in all, a good day of both amateur and professional theater. The catharsis was an added bonus as we approach the end of the school year at full throttle. The kids are a little crazy these days!

1 comment:

Stacy said...

I also wonder about those end-of-the-year shows, at least from an educational point of view. As a parent, of course I am captivated. My kid is so cute! But as a teacher, I wonder if this is an efficient use of the time.

I've come down in favor of the shows because they create long memories for the kids, who are proud of the accomplishment and fondly remember the performance. For me, it's a reminder that you throw out all sorts of things when you teach and different things resound with different kids.

Enjoy the end of the year!