Friday, 1 May 2009

City Of London Academy workshop No.2

COLA workshop - Bermondsey - 30th April - 8am - 10.30am

I thoroughly enjoy working with the COLA boys in the morning, they participate well in the games and the devising, also their behaviour and attitudes towards the class are positive, but i do understand it has taken them a while to get to this stage. They have been very welcoming to us and they enjoy us being there.

Today we had two boys missing, one of which we haven't met before. We were introduced to a boy who missed last weeks session, who we noticed is quite disruptive in the class. We were told that he only attends a few sessions when he feels like it, and he is still unsure about the whole thing, but his behaviour has improved from his first few sessions. I noticed he found it hard taking in instructions and listening to what is being said by Karen and by the other students.

We started the session with the check-in and everyone gave quite high numbers so the group was feeling very positive today. First of all we played a game called 'Animal Kingdom'. We all had to sit in a line facing outwards and each of us was given an animal, a noise and an action. The animals were given out in order relating to the animal kingdom, ie, a lion being the highest and a mouse being the lowest. One person stands up and does their noise and action, then performs someone else's noise and action, the turn then passes to that person. If you are too slow or get the noise/action wrong then you move to the end of the line and you become the lowest animal. This game required their full concentration and their memory skills as it was easy to forget someones actions for their animal. Everyone really enjoyed this game, especially me!

The next game that was introduced was 'Blind Bottle', where a bottle is placed in the middle of a circle and someone, with their eyes closed, has to try and pick it up. This game is about memory skills, calculating the distance between where you are standing and the bottle. This game worked so well the class wanted to play it again.

As there were two boys in the class who had missed last weeks session, we decided to work on similar scenes as last week, with me and Monsay showing our piece again. The group produced some fantastic work. Two of the boys are so committed and energetic and they really love drama, they even prepared two epic sketches for us. The session really puts them in a good mood for the rest of the day and helps them in their lessons.

After the two groups had shown us their pieces, myself and Monsay performed our piece again about the teacher and student. We performed it through once and then applied the 'feeling angels' to it. This time two of the boys were the angels. Karen stopped us each time we got to a significant point where the feelings and emotions had changed. The group worked well identifying the feelings. Unfortunately we ran out of time so agreed to continue it next week.

They were all engaged with the work and contributed well to the tasks. We all felt the session ended too quickly as we were all enjoying the session and engrossed in the work. You can definitely see that the students benefit from these sessions. We learnt that another one of the boys who opted out of the session a few months ago is doing really well and has not been in trouble since. The system works!!

One important lessions we learnt today was that you shouldn't make the assumption that they know the game. Always go through the rules clearly so that everyone understand. This will help me when giving instruction next week for all the classes.

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