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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Interested in volunteering?

We are looking for some folks to help us throw our big annual fundraising event in early March at Mercury Hall.

If you want to get involved, email me!

Here is a video from last year’s event that our fabulous teaching artist JuanMa made:

We also have many other volunteer opportunities. Check this out!

Girls Now Conference

Executive Director, Karen LaShelle, and Middle and High School Program Director, Amanda Hashagen talk about the Girls Now Conference that was on October 25th…

This past weekend TAP was lucky enough to participate in the Girls Now Conference at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. We led two really exciting workshops. The first was simply called “Image” and was about helping girls discuss the messages they are getting from the media and their peers about what a girls “should” be, then taking some time to think about what we REALLY think girls should be, or can or be, and created our own ads with positive slogans promoting what we called a REAL SuperGirl.We had 5th-9th grade girls from all over town. The girls were so incredible. They jumped right into the activities and had a really rich conversation about the pressures they feel, and how the media affects them. They were so creative and funny and made ads with slogans like “Be Beautiful, Be True to Yourself” and showed examples of girls supporting one another and shunning the pressures to have lots of stuff like cellphones and expensive clothes.Our second workshop was led by our youth company “The Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble”. This was an interactive performance workshop which focused on gossip and how it can led to bullying and unhealthy relationships. The Changing Lives youth presented several negative situations that stemmed from a rumor, and ended in somewhat of a mess. We then asked the audience to give suggestions to the bystanders in the scenes about what they could do to clear everything up. The audience was highly engaged in debate, discussion and ideas, and they came up with a few different ways the bystanders could make the situation better.

The workshops went GREAT and we LOVED being a part of this really cool event and hope to participate again next year! (pictured above: Here’s TAP leading a workshop last Spring for the Youth Theatre Festival at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.)

First Day of After School

by Sarah Shotland, Teaching Artist for TAP, about her first day teaching after school at Wooldridge Elementary
My first day as a Theatre Action Project teacher was nothing if not eventful. About five minutes into my 4th grade class, a teacher from Wooldridge came into my portable. While the door was open, a bee flew into the classroom, sending every nine-year old in north Austin into a panicked frenzy. I don’t particularly care for bees either, but I tried to remain calm as children literally hid under desks and ran into the bathroom crying.

Obviously, I had no time to speak to the teacher and had to refer her to my program director. When I returned to my class, things were in chaos. Two kids in tears over the bee, one hiding in the bathroom, everyone else crazy, and no one believing that I was a “real” teacher. I’m not sure if I believed I was a real teacher. I tried to calm the kids down and coax one out of the bathroom, and eventually we all made it back to our circle, and tried once again to introduce ourselves.

Throughout the class period, most of the kids needed to go to the bathroom, but at some point (I’m not sure if it was during the bee incident) someone missed the toilet and peed all over the floor and a little girl slipped in it and started to cry (I can’t blame her….I’d probably cry if that happened too). This ignited round two of first-day chaos, with all the boys running around, screaming about pee (I have come to believe it is an exclusively male experience to be fascinated with pee….as a little girl, I remember not a single conversation about pee), and all the little girls screaming in fear that they, too, might have been splashed by a droplet or two of cootie-infested liquid. Once again, I had to call in my program director, and watch horrified as the adorable nine-year-old girl exited stage.

Thank goodness by this point there were only a few minutes remaining in class, and finally, FINALLY, the last student introduced himself to the circle. We headed back to the cafeteria, and I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into. Other career paths were surely less….stinky. Even as a bartender, one rarely has to actually handle pee-soaked patrons. Plus, there’s always the power to refuse service–children are still required to be in school…peed upon or not.

The next week, I got a new classroom, far from bee/pee ridden portable 10B. The change of setting was an excellent move, and I got a lot of support from my program director, the other TAP teacher at my site, and Dustin (my team leader at TAP). In a way, it was an advantage to have that disastrous first day right off the bat. I am fearless in the classroom now. Nothing fazes me, nothing surprises me, and I think the students realize that I am not going to leave. My students and I got to share a real experience that day, and whether they realize it or not, it brought us closer together. We were all vulnerable that day– I saw their fear, they saw my self-doubt, and maybe we all panicked a bit. We’ve pulled it together, though, and even on our not-so-good days, we still know….it could always be worse.

Article on Theatre Techniques

The author explains how theatre and activity and inquiry based learning enhance academics, help young people express themselves and address social issues. This really resonates with what we are trying to do with young people here at TAP! It’s exciting to see how many other people recognize the value of theatre in our education system.

Playing Roles for a Real Education, NY Times

TAP receives donations via The Giving Spree

TAP has been chosen as a recipient of funds from The Giving Spree. Wow!

The Giving Spree is a giving and shopping event that is being executed across all participating GGP malls and culminates in a one-day event on Saturday, November 15th. We’ll focus on giving in two ways – giving to non-profit organizations and giving the perfect gift.

Highland Mall has partnered with your favorite stores to say “Thanks for giving!”. Donate today and get a list of exclusive retailer offers, including great deals like*:
20% off total purchase at Aeropostale

15% off full priced merchandise at Steve Madden

20% off your entire purchase at Disney Store

15% off your entire purchase at The Body Shop

25% off your purchase at New York & Company

Just click here to donate and receive these great specials!

Stage Craft: Taking Cues from Theater Class to Help Make Math and Science Fun

A great article on EDUTOPIA. Check it out!

Halloween Town

Here is a “green” Halloween craft idea, from TAP Programming Specialist, Florinda Bryant…

Dear teachers and parents,

Don’t throw those milk cartons away; re-use them for a festive “Haunted House” display for your school or home!

Goals and Objectives for the craft:
-To encourage kids to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, as well as encouraging the use of recycled goods for arts & crafts activities
-To encourage creativity

Before You Start:
Collect and clean a milk carton for each student, or have each child bring a clean carton in. Prepare your tables for painting by protecting them with butcher paper. Set out paint trays and containers of gray, black, and brown paints with brushes. Have on hand an assortment Halloween shapes on construction paper or funky foam, such as faces, ghosts, pumpkins, skeletons, etc.

Let’s Begin:
1. Have the children write their names on the bottom of their milk cartons, then, have them choose what colors to paint their houses.
2. The children will then paint every inch of their cartons except for the bottom.
3. Set the houses aside to dry, and get started on shapes, ghouls and goblins.(You may want to display one haunted house that’s already been made.)

This is also a great time to read Halloween books or telling ghost stories before decorating the houses. Then, once the haunted houses are dry, have everyone stick the Halloween shapes onto their houses for a scary “haunted house” display. Add a string of Christmas lights, and a few fake spiders and spiderwebs to adorn the display. Turn the lights down for a really spooky looking town!

Happy Halloween! Florinda Bryant