Tuesday, November 09, 2010

2nd Journal Unit for Creative Drama

Journal topics:


¤ Lisa Erbe's A Little Russian Tale "The Little Round Bun"

~ How does the little round bun come alive in the windowsill? If a witch/enchantress cast a spell, why couldn't she cast another spell to give the elderly couple enough meals to last the rest of their lives? (But then again, maybe she did and that part just wasn't told in the story. I feel sorry for the hungry couple though; I hope Russia has a public assistance program like our food stamp/EBT Card program in the U.S. And evidently, their social security payment only allows for the payment of heating, rent(?), and other bare necessities, so it doesn't allow for much grocery shopping. Therefore I hope that the couple applies for an EBT card, or at least go to area churches for free charity meals (like anyone can here in Manhattan.)

I also wonder how the songs the LRB sings are made to sound Southern-ish when the story came from Russia. Russia's music has a distinct tune style so why didn't her songs sound more Russian?

The way she decided to have us tune into her story was by sitting on the floor like "well-behaved 1st graders" and I thought that added a flair of cuteness to our time there while she delivered her story to us like she would to a bunch of kids.

¤ Carina Diaz de Leon's "Unforgettable Moment"

~ I thought her moment would be unforgettable to me too. Those events from Cinco de Mayo were memorable in a unique way. I'd hate for the adversities she went through to happen to me, that's for sure.

She said it calmly and delivered it like any fine storyteller would. I thought it had about an air of professional quality to it, just about.

¤ Stacey Heinen's "Rumpelstiltskin"

~ I remembered this story a little from my childhood. This was not an original story; she simply retold the events as they originally happened so there isn't much of a point of retelling it in the journal. However, I do remember doing something similar in 3rd grade: Our class had to write a story based on one already made, but change it slightly. I titled my story "Rumplesteelskin" and gave it a more modern twist.

Besides, no known method even to this day can "spin" anything into gold. I've learned that gold is only formed through fusion, so if we perfect fusion power one day, then perhaps we can then artificially create gold.

Her way of delivering the story seemed fine for a storyteller telling it to children, as Rumpelstiltskin was a children's story anyway.

¤ My "Medieval Tank Battle"

~ I made this story myself, and it was based on playing Civilization IV, a game about building and running civilizations. I made the story in August 2007, because I invaded a barbarian city that was still in the middle ages on the other side of a large jungle while my civilization already had electricity and motorized transportation. The link to this story is (URL). I got some great comments of praise about my fan-fiction from the fellow users of that game's messageboard. I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment whenever I bring a primitive group of people into modern times, so this is the type of story I'd love to share with various people. I hope to do something similar in the real world, like bring electricity, running water and a wi-fi connection to a primitive village in Haiti or a destitute region of Africa.

Regardless, I think it may have been better if I had learned how to tell it without the aid of my device, and perhaps I should have whittled it down to no more than 10 minutes and added a conclusion, because I suppose only some forms of literature are right to end on a cliffhanger.

¤ Davelyn Hill's "What a Great Day"

~ I thought her story told that of a great day indeed. I'm glad she decided to sign her story as the last story of the class period because it always lifts our spirits to end anything on a good note.

I thought her story was carefully & well-worded, and planned well enough with our thoughts and emotions that we'd have by the end of class, in mind.


Journal topics:
Warm-up exercises about preparing to concentrate, etc.

¤ Cassidi Stuckman's "Buddha" Storytelling (classmate wears crown)

~ As I have never been enrolled in a religious studies class to study about foreign religions, I'm glad that Cassidi took this opportunity to tell us the story about Buddha, whose regular name was Siddhartha Gautama. As I had already known, Buddha taught about enlightenment & self-improvement. I felt humbled at the story she told us about the founder of a foreign religion and all the services & humble hard work he did to change India and the lives of his countless followers after him.

The way she told Buddha's story was like how a Sunday School teacher would tell the story of Jesus to their class of young kids. I thought it seemed charming for her to deliver the story to us like her audience was a bunch of young kids.

¤ Nicole Zink's "Charlie the Caterpillar"

~ This felt like a children's story, so I'm glad at how Nicole brought us back to simpler & happier times with the story and how it was told. It was about how Charlie kept getting rejected and looked down upon because as most caterpillars look, he was short on looks and had a corpulent frame. This made him sad, then one day, he underwent the metamorphisis to become a butterfly that others would appreciate, like & treat better. This made the story have a happy ending, much like the vast majority of children's stories are made to have.

¤ Bridgette Hogarth's "Goldilocks & the 3 Bears"

~ I must've heard this story numerous times, and seen animated adaptations plenty of times as well. Why didn't she choose a story less commonly-known, or at least add a unique twist to the story that makes it no longer the cookie-cutter-same version as most of the other renditions of "Goldilocks & the 3 Bears?" Some examples she could have used to make the story happen differently would be that Goldilocks gets woken up when she hears the family SUV pull up, the garage door open & close, and starts hurriedly fastening an escape rope out of bedsheets & blankets in order to make an unseen escape? (So then once the bears are in the bedroom, the child bear says, "Somebody has been sleeping in MY bed, and rappelled out my window with my bedsheets!" Then the father says, "Then we must file a police report about this intruder, and install a Broadview security alarm system for this house!")

Modernizing the story in this way (or adding other unique flairs that no one expects) would have increased the air of creativity in this story. After all, the class is -Creative- Drama. We're supposed (or at least encouraged) to put in our own original ideas. At least Bridgette delivered this story well, and like how it should be delivered to children: A tone that is nice & soft.

¤ Sydney Peck's "Spider in Japan"

~ I've studied in Japan, stayed in various types of venues, but haven't had any encounters with spiders or other significant pests so I couldn't relate. However, when she had an encounter with spiders at a Ryokan (a traditional-style Japanese inn), she got scared to the point that this story was worth retelling in the first place. I wonder why she didn't try to file a complaint with the hotel staff if she knew enough Japanese to do so effectively. (Or if not, was she traveling with any companion who could speak sufficient Japanese, and thus take care of that issue for Sydney?) If there was something I was afraid of or that disgusted me somehow wherever I stayed, I could possibly take this as an opportunity to get a rate discount or another type of better deal thrown in (like being moved to a more deluxe room, for example.) At least she got it resolved like she did, and I hope she removes herself from her fear of spiders sometime as there would be more important things to worry about at either this point in life, or shortly after, like student loans, home mortgages, finding a long-term career, and making sure her kids are safe & healthy. Having a fear of spiders would be small potatoes compared to the above.

Overall, Sydney delivered her story nice and fine. There was nothing that stood out negatively, so apparently she told it well.

¤ Katherine Lawrence's "Dimitri Was Content"

~ I wonder whether being content seemed enough for Dimitri. Many in 3rd-world countries would be willing to do most anything to reach a point in their lives where they are content, while for others, contentness isn't enough. Whether he reaches a higher level of satisfaction and feel satisfied about it will remain a mystery to me at this time.

She told it calmly, and I don't remember any exciting moments in the story or her voice, but I suppose how children would receive it would depend on the child's interests.

¤ Kyle Mathews' "Curious Fast Food"

~ Just like many college students today, he used to work at a McDonald's, so he got to tell about a day at work when a customer majorly got on his nerves.

The 12-year-old customer was the daughter of one of his co-workers who had bad personal habits (smoking, et al.) and was an apparent failure in life, being in her 40s and working in something of a low-skill, dead-end job.

Somehow, the girl seemed pretty stuck-up, which is ironic of a kid from an impoverished family because they would have to have so many things to worry about that poor kids typically worry about, that they shouldn't be stuck-up about anything. Rather, shouldn't her disposition have been meek and humble, like many poor kids  are?

I still wonder why she acted more like a stuck-up rich kid who would care about herself & her possessions more than the feelings and welfare of others.

When that girl was getting at Kyle, I'm glad Kyle didn't turn around and snap, because that could've gotten him fired. Not feeding that hellion's evil urges cause her to back down and move on to another issue. This is similar to the adage, "Don't feed the troll," when it comes to disrupters of online communities.

When Kyle told us this story, he was pretty animated in doing so. He had a variance in his tone, body language and overall presentation. More than that, it was non-fictional and purely original, so I applaud the added creativity he demonstrated to us.

¤ Kodyjo Martin's "Big Fish"

~ I thought the way she told the story about the big fish versus the little fishes was carefully executed and in a way that would be suitable for a good variety of audiences. There was nothing inadequate or unsettling that I noticed about Kodyjo's storytelling, and I thought she ended it at a fine time, especially being that it was the last story of the class-period. She didn't drag it on like I did on my story, so I'm glad she ended our class period on a fine and pleasing note.


Journal Topics:

¤ Warm-up: Hokey Pokey

° This warm-up felt too childish for me. I think doing the Hokey Pokey dance should stop at about 2nd grade.  Alas, it's a drill that I've done or been made to do some too many times. I don't know how embarrassed our classmates felt about this warm-up but some had to have felt as embarrassed as I was about dancing this puerile tune.

It was also something unoriginal that everybody knows. If a childish warm-up HAD TO be chosen this day, couldn't it have been a dance pertaining to Pokémon? I'm sure that some Pokémon fan or story-writer somewhere concocted a dance/warm-up about that franchise. Due to its originality / obscurity, a Pokémon-themed warm-up would have been less embarrassing.

Nevertheless, it got our blood pumping and a little more alert so that we would be better apt to deal with the tasks ahead.

¤ Tyler Boxberger's "Ugly Duckling"

° As could go without saying, this was one of the several stories told that everyone already knows. It would have been nice if he gave a unique twist ti the story that makes it a different version from the kind that everyone has been familiar with, in ways that I described about "Goldilocks & the 3 Bears."

Overall, I thought the way he delivered it was fine. He did seem pretty relaxed in his seat when he spoke.

¤ Melissa DeMuth's "The Little Red Hen"

° This was another one of the stories that everyone knows. However, I missed hearing a part of the plot that I had expected.

Long ago, I watched a story about the Little Red Hen on KTWU/PBS and that was where her little feet got so stuck in a mud pit that when she was pulled out, her toenails were pulled away from her feet, leaving her toes without them. As soon as the other farm animals noticed, they started picking on her to the point that they could possibly kill her, so a dog tried protecting her, and did for a while, until for some forgotten reason, the owner took the dog 15 miles away so that it would no longer be a pet of the property. The dog treks back to protect the hen, but that scenario repeats and I don't remember what happens by the end.

She did present her story in a fine way though, and in the manner intended for juvenile audiences, so kudos to her on that.

¤ Adam Bisnette's "The Turtle & The Rabbit"

° Except for the change in the title (from "The Tortoise & The Hare,") much of the story was already familiar. However, what was different from what I've heard before was that the Hare woke up and realized that he fell behind in the race BEFORE the Tortoise finished, so he ran to catch up just to be a few feet behind the Tortoise as soon as he crossed the Finish.

(In the original story that I remember, the Tortoise already finished only when the Hare woke up.)

If the story Adam told was a version only unique from Adam, then I applaud him for adding the needed extra flair of creativity!

His delivery of the story seemed kind of exciting; his tone, cadences, body language and all. This well-known story stood out more than the other well-known stories told in this class because of the reasons stated above.

¤ Camrin Padgett's "What It Means To Love" (A Haiti mission trip this last summer)

° I felt quite humbled at Camrin going through all that trouble to go on a mission trip to Haiti this last summer. Her acts of charm, sympathy and compassion while working to help rebuild the quake-stricken country really uplifted me and hopefully all the others present. It surprised me that Haitian funerals are times of celebration rather than mourning because they're overjoyed that the deceased are now in Heaven.

Because she gave a completely original story about compassion, charity, hope and joy, I was quite enthralled by it, and the way she gave the story, so Camrin truly does deserve some very high marks for her story this day.

¤ Anne Shores' "Living In The Moment"

° I appreciated how she went over why we should live each day like its our last, because for many reasons, the last day could be our last. It would be nice to do all of she suggests every day, but for practical reasons, I would have to save those plans for between semesters.

Her overall tone and delivery was upbeat; she seemed quite cheerful about what she had to speak about.

¤ Nick Yetter's "The Scary House on Elm Street"

° First off, I didn't know Nick had lived in Philadelphia. From the way he had told his story, he seemed to have mixed fiction & non-fiction together. I believed there was an old, decrepit house in the neighborhood, but I didn't believe that a partially-decomposed corpse made noises. I also didn't believe that a long-dead body would start to fall down the chimney at a random time all by itself, a few parts at a time, while some parts were less decomposed than other parts.

Regardless, it would be a great Halloween tale to tell anyone, even kids. I liked how his tone and delivery also fit the theme of the story well enough to add a scarier value onto it.

¤ Marina Warkentien's "The Lady In The Woods"

° This story wasn't something I heard before, but  there was a good serenity to the tale.

The way Marina delivered it had a nice, peaceful and calm feeling. I thought she had some foresight to make the decision to end the whole storytelling chapter of our class by telling us our last story, because it seemed to be the right story to end the others.

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