Day 74 (of 187) the winter play, school and inclusion (the ultimate summative assessments: sports and performances)
Earlier this week West Vancouver Superintendent Chris Kennedy shared a thought on school sports and how many students are able to take part in community and/or school sports. Especially when cuts are made – which makes it tough for students to take an interest in a sport later in life (like twelve years old may be too late). https://cultureofyes.ca/2018/12/16/the-problem-with-basketball/
I took a risk and played football at UBC without playing a down in high school. My community was too rural and small to have a team. But I was given a chance that I’m not sure would be available today. And I was present when Angus Reid (former BC Lion) did his Tedx talk on how football is good for many reasons, including that it involves many (no cuts until university/professional leagues) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go1-okBq3LU when I coached, we never discussed having too many players….oddly when I coached basketball, I did fall into the “right size” mindset and wonder what would have happened if I had done different….for the next time perhaps!
In theatre, my wife and I saw a high school musical which included a large ensemble – people who wanted to be part of something special. It felt very inclusive – not just a “part” in the back of the stage – but singing and dancing in an ensemble – and this made me start to prep for our own Winter Concert – the Polar Express knowing that we have students whose anxiety will make getting on the stage complex and some students with vision impairments that may make getting onto the stage….tricky….
But inclusion mindsets mean we include those who are ready when they are ready. I am encouraging students (and prompting their parents to be encouraging without pressure) and supporting those who want to be on stage…to do just that! To sing and dance and stand and….whatever!
And to take a chance. And to push anxieties and worries.
And when it works, to bring an tear to a grandmas eyes (well, several eyes in the audience) whether it was seeing their little darling do well – or bring back a memory (the handbells got me this year!) or just the attention to details:
We had a conductor punch tickets as people went through a darkened hallway with snowflakes shining on the ceiling…..
We had a 3 metre locomotive front staring at the audience…..that had smoke lights and a bell
We used a cheapy ‘strobe light to put lights on a house’ shining in the back of the stage that made me feel good (as this was my idea) when confirmed by some audience members how they liked how it gave the impression of traveling through a snowstorm…
We had kids singing and narrating and doing the intro (much better than me up front!) and dancing and performing. Sure, a hand got chopped off during one scene but that was special effects….and the breakdancing got close to the edge of the stage but the rope lights reminded them to stop….and the kindys were cute and everyone had a job. Even if being ‘on stage’ wasn’t the goal to be achieved….everyone who wanted to was able to be part of the show.
And we had too many people for the chairs (I scoffed at the idea for tickets a few weeks ago, but the buzz of what this was turning into meant it was becoming a “must see”)
And we had a night concert. No fear of slippery roads at night. So kids got to lurk around “after hours”. And most people stayed until the grand finale! But really, I like it when people get to explore the school after the bell hours. It’s different. It’s neat. It’s…different – for the adults and kids. An extra burden….sure…perhaps…..and there are fewer and fewer evening performances …. but when they can happen, it can be a neat connection to/with the community. Even though not everyone will make it (and why one school I was at shifted to a ‘breakfast concert’ because at winter it was easier – and highway safer – to travel in the morning than when the roads got darker and slippery-er, and employers found it easier to let parents get to work late than leave early) – essentially, be mindful of community trends and don’t be afraid to think different. After all, our afternoon concert had more kids than the night one….and a request to do it over two evenings would lead to even fewer kids at each show – as we are not a secondary drama production….everyone makes the stage
Wait a minute…I’ve gone full circle – because everyone can take part on drama productions….and music showcases….and fine art galleries….why not sports? Hmmm community theatre…. community sports …. mirrored in schools? Think this could be an interesting conversation….I’m sure it would be an interesting think if my thinker still had steam….
But for now, we will dream of a successful day of drama!! And a 9′ train in the gym….