About cmejia

My name is Cristina without an "h" because it is a Spanish name. My last names are Mejia Acevedo, Mejia my dad's last name and Acevedo my mom's, because I am Colombian and in Latin America and Spain we use both our parents last names. I have been a teacher for half my life and an actress almost as much. I love both equally that is why I teach Drama. I am very active and passionate about everything I do in life and I will try to rub some of that off on the students while I learn and grow from what they bring to my classes. Here at UAS I will be teaching Drama in grades 6-8, Dance and Journalism in grade 6 and Spanish in grades 7-8. I will also direct the Middle School musical in the first semester and hopefully another production on the second. I know it's a full load but I trust I have the energy and love to do it! I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing wonderful moments with your children.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Drama Syllabus

MIDDLE SCHOOL DRAMA SYLLABUS
Teacher: Cristina Mejia-Acevedo
Location: Drama Room, MPH
cmejia@uasdubai.ae

Course Objectives: The Drama 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. Drama 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. It may also allow students that are shy to come out of their shell a little bit more, though this is not something that can be assured because some take more time than other to do so.

Students will learn body posture, awareness and movements within the space. They will learn control their impulses, their laughter by improving their focus. Students will learn diction and voice projection. They will explore working alone and working collaboratively. Students will learn how stage their productions and perform on stage, embodying their character.

Materials: For class students will need a recording devise, that may be their computer or their phone under my supervision. They will require costumes and materials for their character that should not be bought but created. Further explanation will be provided once this assignment is given. They must keep records of their work in class, via videos, images and reflection on their journal on Google Slides or Googles Sites.

Classroom procedures: Students must leave their bags, shoes and water at the entrance of the room. They are expected to enter the room with disposition to learn and take risks. They sit in a circle and end in a circle to create the sense of community. They are not allowed to eat or drink in class, unless there is an individual need to do so that must be discussed with me prior to class. Being a performer is about discipline and presence, therefore I train them for this. I am very strict which can overwhelm them at first but they get used to it and becomes part of a routine that is easy to follow.

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 students will look into Myths and Legends of their own countries and based on those and the Greek ones played in class, they will create their own Mythological Creature. They will bring those created creatures together and invent, write, stage and perform their group Myth. All this process must be accompanied by the journal in which reflect on their learning. They are expected to perform in the Fringe Festival (more information will be sent out later).
Google Classroom code: bnjkafh

Grade 7: In 7th grade they will study a bit of theory of theatre, to understand where it came from. They will develop drama games and facilitate them to there group to test their leadership and problem solving skills. They will be assigned a scene and they must stage it, learn their lines and perform. All this process must be accompanied by the journal in which reflect on their learning. They are expected to perform in the Fringe Festival (more information will be sent out later).
Google Classroom code: 2qjw9zc

Grade 8: In grade 8 the demands are higher, the play becomes more serious and drama becomes a language to communicate thoughts, fears, emotions. They will learn and perform monologues. They will study the use of body and space without voice. They will brainstorm their feelings about being them in this age, era, time in history, place; through ensemble devising games they will develop a silent masked abstract scene in which they represent these feelings. The journal in 8th grade is very important because they will be developing it based on HS expectations in order to get accustomed to this and transition easier next year. They are expected to perform in the Fringe Festival(more information will be sent out later).
Google Classroom codes:
8.1: hflfh3
8.2: 1mwwox1

 

 

 

 

Hello! Hola! مرحباً!

“Creativity is as important as literacy”
Sir Ken Robinson

Dear UAS families,

I am so happy to start my second year at UAS. Last year I was new, the school meant nothing to me, the children were just children like any other. But after a year here full of adventures, learning, laughter, joy and growth, it is all different. The school, you and I have domesticated/tamed each other, like The Little Prince would say. “He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.” These children, your children are no longer like thousands of other children, they are now unique to me.

Some of you don’t know me, nor I you, but by this time next year your children will also be unique to me, and I will be the crazy but strict teacher that the other children now consider unique too. I don’t want to bore you with my bio, but if you wish to know a little more about my background you can read the one I wrote last year, not much has changed. I have acted much more, as I am a professional actress as well. I am writing 2 films. A short film about Sensory Overload and a feature film about a Colombian teacher (ME) and a Syrian family that meet and help each other heal the wounds of war. Hopefully I can find all the people and money I need to make it real. I will also be doing my first Bollywood dance show in December. I am also learning Arabic! Life is full of wonders and each day must be lived like if it were the last… Carpe Diem!

This is the direct link to my bio from last year…

http://sites.uasdubai.ae/cmejia/2016/09/20/welcome/

Besides being the Drama, Dance and Journalism teacher, I am also the Director for the school shows. Last year we had a wonderful production of Aladdin. This year we will be doing Alice in Wonderland Jr. The Musical. It is a lot of work, many extra hours, but the satisfaction of watching them on stage, and seeing how much an activity such as this one helps them grow is worth the time and energy invested. Last year I produced a tiny scale Fringe Festival (that means alternative, non-conventional), this year my dream is to make it huge. I will also be directing a Spring Theatre Festival for those students that wish to act but not in a Musical. It’s a year full of ART! I will be sharing more information on future posts.

I look forward to this new year, and I hope your children will enjoy, learn and grow in my presence!

Have a wonderful day, week and year!

Miss Cris

 

Drama and Dance classes for 2017-2018

Dear Parents and Students,

It’s the time of the year in which you are making decisions about which Art Elective you want next year. So I just want to give you a brief description of your options with me!

DRAMA

6th grade
We will be playing drama games in order to learn team work, collaboration, communication, self-control, voice projection, body expression, self-confidence and a million more skills that will be applicable to every area of your lives. The topics and activities besides the drama games we will use to achieve this are: Greek Myths, Cultural Myths, development of Mythological Creatures as your characters, script writing, rehearsal process and staging of your own play. You will be expected to perform in front of an audience, which may be your class or a wider audience, so you must be ready to do so.

7th grade
We will continue working on the skills we addressed in 6th grade, sometimes we will play known games, sometimes I will introduce new games. You will look into Stock Characters and through a series of improvisations you will develop your own character and write a play and perform it with all the technical aspects that will be taught in class. You will also design a game to facilitate to your classmates, but they will be a target group of a vulnerable population. You will be expected to perform in front of an audience, which may be your class or a wider audience, so you must be ready to do so.

8th grade
Most of the skills and routines should be natural to you by now, and we will continue working on them. We will look into aspects of your life and do ensemble devising in the form of abstract theatre to perform during the Fringe Festival (Performing during the Festival is an expectation of the class and will be assessed). You will also explore Silent performance with use of masks and body language, and devised a masked play with your class. If the other projects are completed in a timely manner, we will look into the art of Film making and develop short films, or image films but that will depend on the amount of time you invest in to the other activities.

DANCE

6th grade
Dance in 6th grade is an exploration of inner self and slaying dragons by facing fear when performing on a stage in front of an audience. This will be done however through practicing some basic skills, learning steps, following tempo and beat. You must perform in front of an audience during the Fringe Festival and this is an expectation for the class and will be graded.

7th grade
Yes! You are reading correctly! We will have Dance in 7th grade. This year, even though there is still a lot of individual exploration, we will learn some steps from different dance forms around the world. You must be able to learn them, and you must be capable of partner dancing with different types of people (boys and girls) for dances like Salsa, Merengue or Swing. Beat and tempo will have a higher value on the grading. Of course you will perform at the Fringe Festival too! Hurray!

If you have any questions about my classes please feel free to contact me.

ADDITIONAL AFTER SCHOOL PERFORMANCES:
MS Musical
Fringe Festival
MS Play

Thank you and happy choosing!

Ms Cris