GREETINGS!

Dear Parents,

I hope you are well.
I am writing to say hello now that we are a little into the term.
I would appreciate your help checking Synergetic with your child to ensure the work is up to date and reduce the level of stress. I will be updating assessment results as often as possible, but please bear in mind that I see only twice a week and my classes are Skills-Based, therefore they may have less assessments with me than with a core class.
I also want to remind you of the meaning of a FORMATIVE assessment, because I don’t want my students to lose motivation based on a grade I must give. A FORMATIVE assessment is simply an INFORMATIVE piece. It is designed to give the student and myself INFORMATION on the process. In a Skill-Based class like mine, it will be normal to start with NOVICE, because they are just starting to learn the skill, but should with practice quickly ascend to an APPRENTICE.
I am aiming to have the students perform their final pieces to you towards the end of the term. I will keep you posted on this.
Thank you and have a wonderful day!

UAS Fringe Fest 2018

Dear UAS!

Last Wednesday was our Second Fringe Fest but the First one outdoors! It was a lovely afternoon full of Art, Creativity, Community and FUN!!! If you came, I hope you enjoyed and if you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next year!

‘The more minds that are present, the more creative avenues will open up’ (unknown source)

CRAZY Journalism Class!

Dear Journalism Parents,

I wanted to write to you today to share a bit of the crazy stuff we are doing in class, and maybe to apologize a bit if the children come home wanting to explore crazy things.

Before I talk about that, I just want to express how much I love teaching this class. Though I actually don’t teach it, we learn together, we give each other homework and ideas. It is so wonderful to see them think and reflect on life and the world.

We are now looking into environmental issues. We are seeing how much waste we produce. How much we possess that we really don’t need. We are researching and studying all these issues. We looked at our Carbon Footprint and we have discussed how much we impact the planet, individually, at home, at school, etc. We are making a list of what we own and what we really need in order to understand how much we don’t need but also how fortunate we are.

I showed them how to make Foam Soap out of normal soap!

I myself started a campaign at home (only me) to wash myself with a bucket instead of shower, and see how much my water bill reduces.

I know that these crazy ideas might add up to your parenting work at home, but I consider it essential to understand our impact and try to be better members of the planet with small actions at a time.

I hope you can enjoy and join us in this little journey!

Have a nice day,

Miss Cris

WHY TEACH DRAMA?

 

WHY DRAMA?

“Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I will remember.
Involve me and I will understand.”
Chinese Proverb

Dramatic Arts education is an important means of stimulating CREATIVITY IN PROBLEM SOLVING. It can CHALLENGE STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS about their world and about themselves. Dramatic exploration can provide students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams that they might not otherwise have means to express. A student can, if only for a few moments, BECOME ANOTHER, explore a new role, try out and experiment with various personal choices and solutions to very real problems-problems from their own life, or problems faced by characters in literature or historical figures. This can happen in a SAFE ATMOSPHERE, where actions and consequences can be examined, discussed, and in a very real sense EXPERIENCED without the dangers and pitfalls that such experimentation would obviously lead to in the “real” world. This is perhaps the most important reason for Dramatic Arts in schools.

Still, there is far more that Drama can do. At the center of all Drama is COMMUNICATION. Like all the arts, Drama allows students to communicate with and understand others in new ways. Perhaps more than any other art form, Drama also provides training in the very PRACTICAL aspects of communication so necessary in today’s increasingly information-centered world. Students who have participated in Dramatic activities are less likely to have difficulty SPEAKING IN PUBLIC, will be more PERSUASIVE in their communications, both written and oral, will be better able to put themselves into others’ shoes and relate to them, and will have a more POSITIVE, CONFIDENT SELF IMAGE. Participation in Dramatic activity requires SELF CONTROL and DISCIPLINE that will serve the student well in all aspects of life. Students in Drama will learn to WORK TOGETHER, to cooperate, to find the best way for each member of a group to contribute, and to listen to and accept the viewpoints and contributions of others. NO ART FORM IS MORE TRULY COLLABORATIVE. Drama is an important tool for preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly TEAM-ORIENTED rather than hierarchical.

Drama also helps students develop TOLERANCE and EMPATHY. In order to play a role competently, an actor must be able to fully inhabit another’s soul. An actor must be able to really understand how the world looks through another person’s eyes. This does not mean he must agree with every character. An actor can play Hitler without becoming a Nazi. But he cannot play Hitler without understanding his point of view, without empathy. In today’s increasingly polarized and intolerant culture, the ability to understand others’ motives and choices is critical. Drama can help build responsible global citizens.

In addition to its intrinsic educational value, Drama can REINFORCE the rest of the school curriculum. Since communication and empathy are central to Drama, a student who has explored like in the Drama classroom will be better able to UNDERSTAND IDEAS in History and Current Events. He will be able to put himself into the shoes of figures in history and literature, to UNDERSTAND THE WAY HUMAN BEINGS INTERACT. The link between Dramatic Arts and subjects such as English, History, Social Studies, and related areas is obvious. The study of literature would be impossible without Drama. There are important periods of our collective literary history in which virtually all of the surviving literature is dramatic. More importantly, Drama can be used to promote ACTIVE LEARNING in any subject-to give students a KINESTHETIC and EMPATHETIC understanding as well as an intellectual understanding of a topic. Studies have shown again and again that this approach yields greater DEPTH OF UNDERSTANDING and a marked improvement in retention. I always strive to link my Drama lessons to topics and themes my students are studying in other subjects, or to important social questions. In this way Drama accomplishes several goals at once-ENRICHING students’ school experience through Art as well as REINFORCING traditional academics.

Matt Buchanan

http://www.childdrama.com/why.html

 

 

 

PRACTICE ANY ART…

“. . . Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.
Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Grade 6 Drama, what’s next?

Dear Parents:

Until now we have been playing Drama Games to allow them to start developing skills used in Drama but applicable to every aspect of their lives. They staged a short Greek Myth Play.

We will use Greek Mythology and Myths/Legends from their own cultures to create and Mythological being, with powers, sidekick animal, special object. They will write a very descriptive biography of their INVENTED character. They will design a costume and make it with scrap old materials (not yet). Designing the costume is part of the creative process of becoming the character.

At this stage we will now start developing through games and improvisations their own characters, to then bring together in groups and devise a short play.

Please check Synergetic as all these assessments will be posted there with dates. I wish for all students to enjoy and learn from themselves during the Drama class and obtain good grades.

Thank you,

Cristina

 

Grade 7 Drama, what’s next?

Dear Parents,

We just finished presenting the Drama Games, which were very interesting to watch. Seeing them assume a serious leadership role when facilitating a game, was wonderful.

Now for the next few classes we will look into a bit of History of Theatre. Performing is important, but understanding where it came from, how it developed and it’s impact on cultures and societies is equally important. They have to research a topic assigned to them and present it to the class, they may choose an additional one if they wish to aim for a 7.  The details are on Google Classroom.

Once we finish this, they will be given scenes to perform in pairs, groups of 3 or 4. We will do some class activities in order to study, analyze and understand the scene. They must learn their lines, choose the staging, blocking and costumes and perform in front of the class. The plays will hopefully be performed during the Fringe Festival in Winter.

Please check Synergetic as all these assessments will be posted there with dates. I wish for all students to enjoy and learn from themselves during the Drama class and obtain good grades.

Thank you,

Cristina

Grade 8 Drama, what’s next?

 

Dear Parents,

We have just finished our first big project, which was the development of their character based on the monologue they selected.

Now for the next few classes we will look into a bit of History of Theatre. Performing is important, but understanding where it came from, how it developed and it’s impact on cultures and societies is equally important. They have 3 Tasks to choose from on how they want to access this information, and if they select more than one they will be aiming towards a 7! The details are on Google Classroom.

Once we finish this we will look at scenes from movies that show the stereotypes of youth. We will understand the artistic representation of these stereotype in story-telling (movies, theatre, books, tv) and the connection with the reality that they live. We will analyze the scenes, characters and reflect upon them. Based on this, we will brainstorm what it means to be them in this moment of history, age, life; in order to develop an abstract scene through Ensemble Devising that expresses these feelings. I will design different tasks to obtain a grade, the one previously described will be the general class activity.

Please check Synergetic as all these assessments will be posted there with dates. I wish for all students to enjoy and learn from themselves during the Drama class and obtain good grades.

 

Thank you,

Cristina

Journalism

MIDDLE SCHOOL JOURNALISM SYLLABUS
Teacher: Cristina Mejia-Acevedo
Location: MPH – M04, M09
cmejia@uasdubai.ae

Course Objectives:

In Journalism class we will use the Sustainability Goals of the United Nations for 2030 as a guideline of relevant issues that affect the globe. We will develop research and discussions regarding the different topics and use theatrical improvisations to better understand and feel the importance of the issue.

Each student will develop a portfolio of their research and reflections. In it they will upload the final products of each issue or conversation. The final product may be in any form: article, newscast, podcast, short skit, short film, photo journalism, or any other way of communication the students may propose.

This year we want to get more involved with Recycling and Waste reduction awareness at the school and are looking for ways to integrate this to our Journalism class.

Students may sometimes choose topics that may be a bit unconventional, I don’t want to limit them, but I don’t want to open their minds to ideas that they can’t deal with yet. I always advice them to have a conversation with you about their topic of interest and of course your authorization to further explore it.

 

Materials: For class students will need their computer for research and they must bring a desire to learn, explore and bear an open mind to see different points of view and understand an opposing position.

Grading: This class is not graded but students are still expected to do the work in class. Last year I noticed high levels of motivation to further study the topics they were interested in.

Google Classroom code: cdufba

http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

Dance Syllabus

MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCE SYLLABUS
Teacher: Cristina Mejia-Acevedo
Location: School Cafeteria
cmejia@uasdubai.ae

Course Objectives: The Dance class in Middle is not focused on developing artists but on providing a fun learning environment in which the students chose to take steps outside of their comfort zone to discover themselves and their limitless potential. Dance class may help them develop life-long skills, such as collaborative work, expanding their minds to allow creativity to flow, body and spatial awareness; and to improve their sense of self-worth, among infinite other options. Dance class is a class in which the talent is secondary, what I strive for is for the students to take the risk, to move, to express, to never give up even if their body feels awkward doing the moves.

Students will learn body posture, awareness and movements while following the rhythm of the song.   They will explore working alone and working collaboratively. Students will learn how stage their dances using the space, their body and their dance partners.

In Dance class we will learn some steps taught by me or researched on internet and learned by themselves. The will use existing steps and invented movement to create a composition, and by combining their different steps develop a choreography.

Materials: For class students will need a recording devise, that may be their computer or their phone under my supervision. They must keep records of their work in class, via videos, images and reflection on their journal on Google Slides or Googles Sites. They may use Dance clothes for the class, that give them more freedom of movement.

Classroom procedures: Students must arrive with disposition to try anything pushing their abilities and comfort zones a little further each time. They must have a log of their dances by recording themselves throughout the week and use those recordings as evidence of progress in their journals.

Grading: Taking into consideration that it is an Art and development of skills is the aim, not too many assessments will be done. They will however be assess using formative and summative assessments. The Formative are only a checking point to help them be aware of the place they are at in the development of a skill. The summative assessments will be the projects and the journals, ideally 3 during the class. We will be using 4 word descriptors: Expert, Apprentice, Novice and Incomplete, for Formative Assessments; and the 7 grade scale for Summative Assessmente. Failing to present all formative and summative assessments will result in an Incomplete.

Grade 6: In 6th grade the class is mostly an exploration of their body and of the movement. We will learn some steps and they will develop their own choreographies. As explained before in grade 6 the most important aspect is taking the risk. They are expected to perform in the Fringe Festival (more information later on).
Google Classroom code: c7uepi

Grade 7: In 7th grade the expectations are higher. Learning the steps properly and following the rhythm will be a large component of the grade. They will also learn couple dances like Salsa, Charleston, Merengue. They are expected to perform in the Fringe Festival (more information later on).
Google Classroom code: 0q4pbvo