Time to Get Started!

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It’s fall time! Leaves are changing colors. The weather is starting to become crisp. Apples are ripe and ready for caramel. You can just smell fall in the air. How exciting and fun and sweet! And the best part of fall, is Opera by Children Time!!!
In the beginning of the opera process we as adults get to watch the wheels turn in the young minds of the students. There isn’t anything more exciting and sweet then watching the eyes of a child light up when they have contributed to their opera. To hear the excitement when their idea is put together with others to make a marvelous story. The beginnings of a creative team have been formed within the classroom. Then watching this creative team turn their story into a libretto is such a refreshing experience. There is nothing better or more fun for this drama mentor than to witness the eyes of a child lighting up with excitement and creativity!
-Lori Wood
Drama Mentor
Creating Opera in Micro bites
Your students are very clever and bright. You set up classroom controls and systems to follow to bring order to your classroom. The students are hungry, for knowledge and more so, you introduce opera and you’re off to a great start. So, when you begin brain storming the opera “buzz” reaches great volume heights! Congratulations! Your students have become Hungry Caterpillars on this project . . . So as a great Opera facilitator make sure the students don’t bite off more than they can chew at one time. Think “micro bite” and it will be just right.
When Erik Carle’s caterpillar was very hungry he still ate pretty sensibly one bite at a time until one day he ate through lots of food . . . junk food . . . and ended up with a stomach ache. If you try to do too much too quickly you soon may be overwhelmed or the students will try to pack too much in their opera.
Think of each step in the opera process and then think even smaller. Your class can accomplish so much in a quarter hour. “Never underestimate the power of 15 minutes” is a saying I live by. These steps, we will call “micro bites”, may be woven throughout your day, week, months and even the entire school year as the students create their opera. Not only does this approach make the creative process easier it also promotes deeper learning in all you teach and greater results with the opera process itself.
Let’s look at the sensible bites of that hungry caterpillar as he paced himself at first. That way, you and your students will feel great. The students will also enjoy greater learning and improvement.
The Apple: Introducing the Opera Project
Micro Bites #1-4: (15 minutes for each micro bite. These may all be accomplished on the same day or over a few consecutive days. Of course, you may continue to use the first two micro bites whenever needed and as often as possible!)
1- Sing action songs!
2- Do drama activities . . . the Name Games or Creative Paper found in the OBC Teacher Manual, Theatre Games, Chapter 7, pgs 17-19 are great community builders for the first of the school year.
3- Three goals (rules) of opera . . .talk to the students about working together. Help them see where they build trust by sharing ideas, risking together, and affirming one another for great ideas enabling the whole class to grow. Share the secret which allows it to all to happen: The three opera goals: No one gets hurt, everyone participates and it is the students’ work. Have them explore making them goals!
4- Start your opera Journal! Have them put their name on it and decorate it.
It only takes four micro bites to introduce the opera projects and you are ready to begin the next phase!
-Pamela Gee
Opera by Children Director

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