Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paint the Town December

Well we successfully made it through the school musical, Paint the Town December. It certainly helps when your principal is a music teacher and takes all the students in groups for music classes, and you have a PE teacher who teaches all the dances and motions in PE class and in extra rehearsals. It helps when you have a teacher who is a professional artist and creates the backdrops with her students. It also helps when you have a teacher librarian who does a unit with your students who don't want to be actors so that I could have two periods a week for four weeks to work with the actors-from my class and the other grade seven class. And finally it helps when you have all the classroom teachers willing to put on a show. Our whole school did two shows yesterday. That is 350 children. We also had to borrow staging and chairs from my old school, Moberly (we are close by as our school used to be Moberly's Annex), as we were too late to get them from the board so we had to be creative for the finale when the whole school was at the front of the gym.

This is a multicultural musical, celebrating various celebrations and traditions of December. Now one could say this was a bit forced but the music is great and I think it does give us cultural awareness and appreciation. Just looking at our actors, we do represent the world-students whose parents have immigrated from India, China, Vietnam, Miramar, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Pakistan as well students students with ancestors who immigrated from western Europe many generations ago. These actors have families who may practice Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, or Buddhism.

This is only the second musical our school has done since it opened as a main school seven years ago. Last year was the first. That whetted our students' appetites for the stage and shows what a small public school can do. People may think they need to spend thousands of dollars to send their children to private schools but once again I am so struck by what public schools accomplish. Most of our parents are working hard, often adjusting to a new country, and don't have a lot of time and money for activities for their children that "West side" parents can afford so the school teaches the academics but for many students we give them experiences that they don't have regular access to receive.

I may not make a great deal of money compared to those in some other professions and occupations, but on mornings like this I feel a sense of accomplishment.

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