Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sun, Sun, Sun

This weekend is a busy one for me because I have both social and professional obligations that can not be ignored. So, while I toil away with my writing (which also means cleaning off the dust that never usually bothers me and arranging the cabinets as part of the formulating stages of composition) I figured I would take a short break and share an acrostic poem written by a seven-year-old girl in my class.

She too went through the messy creative process I find myself in today. Her first few attempts at writing in this poetic style resulted in her quiet frustration. By the time she was on a roll, writing workshop was over and the class had moved on to other activities. She however, continued to sit at her writing table and plugged away for the next half hour, such determination! I think because her previous efforts upset her so much that she actually cried it felt thrilling to master this art form and kick it to the curb, so to speak.

When she finally looked up with a smile this is what she had written.

Sun, Sun, Sun

Smiley sun

Up on top

Now you're mine
Sky up above

Under my eyes

New sun shines

Sun wakes up

Under my bed

New sun is not new no more

On Tuesday there is a school talent show and all of the classes were invited to participate. Our students decided that they wanted to perform two things; their ASL poetry and a reenactment of the story of Odysseus and the battle of Troy. Lauren and I let them figure out how to best tell it and sorta stepped back while they fought over roles (the plum roles were Odysseus and Helen of Troy), and negotiate how the story would unfold. As I watched them I began to wonder how this little adult drama would play out for an audience.

They begin with King Menelaus and Helen. The king goes off to bed and Paris walks in. He sees Helen and drops to his knees because she is so beautiful. They instantly hold hands and run off to Troy (stage right). King Menelaus wakes up, looks for Helen in vain and calls for Odysseus to hunt her down. Odysseus gathers up an army and heads off to Troy in a boat. When they arrive a battle ensues (which is really a lot of six-and-seven-year-old mayhem) and some of them drop to the ground. Odysseus and his army flee. Odysseus gets an idea and they 'build' the Trojan Horse. (Here is when the actors always stop to remind the narrator that it's a Trojan Horse not just a horse! Gotta love children's theater). The Trojans see the horse, bring it inside the walls of the city, celebrate, and fall asleep. While they sleep Odysseus and his men sneak out and slaughter them. That is where it pretty much ends.

Is that too much? It wasn't until I saw these little bodies playing out this drama that I thought perhaps it is TOO mature a story. But, what's done is done and they really do enjoy it. We'll see what happens on Tuesday.
Break a leg kids.


Joy said...

Great poem!

Reya Mellicker said...

It sounds like a fantastic and ambitious production. Wow!! Can't wait to read the reviews.

MONA said...

awww! How sweet!!!
I love the picture of the sun wearing sun glasses :D!!
& it actually reminds me of Van Gogh, the sun painter who's paintings I had a chance to see at the metropolitan museum of atr NY

I love the poem speccially the last line is very thought provoking..the new sun is not new anymore! It speaks volumes!!

a greek tragedy being enacted. Wow!

lettuce said...

that poem is great, just perfect.

I think its fab. that you're doing the greek stuff with your kids. Too mature? well, certainly not if Grimm isn't! There are a pair of brilliant - truly wonderful - story tellers in the UK (linked to a Cambridge schools education classics project). I saw one live with my LG (by accident) at the British Museum - he was superb. They've done some excellent CDs of Troy. i'll look them up, see if they do much work abroad...

(also, do you know the Percy Jackson books? we've enjoyed them a lot too)

d. chedwick bryant said...

The production sounded great-- I don't think it was too much--we watched cartoons and stories about Troy when we were tiny kids...

Sebastien said...

Beautiful poem! Your kids have such talent!

Haha, I love hearing about the theatrical production. Sounds like a lot of fun. Hmmm, there is a lot of violence though, that slaughter at the end sounds pretty gruesome. In spite what my drawings and writing might lead you to believe, I'm a heavy-duty pacifist.

WAT said...

Wow, you have such a rewarding interesting career! Why haven't I gone into teaching I ask and wasted it away at a meaningless boring office job?!! UGH! You inspire me now!

Hey, that movie TROY is too harsh for the kids now huh? Rated R and all, but still worth watching I'd say.

Pod said...

they'll be great! must be great to be involved in such a thing. hope it goes well. i bet it will be funny!

d. chedwick bryant said...

what are your summer plans?

Gary said...

Thanks everyone for your support of the show. It went very well - no huge applause but the kids were very serious AND funny. I will miss them.

Ched - This summer I am teaching a college course called "Reading Skills for Children with Learning Disabilities" which ends on July 12th. Then Joy and I are heading to Mexico for a week. After that I plan to nap and read. :) You?


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