Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Be Boring...

I love my drama class.

Most of them are my "Speech kids"...those kids who work with me from November through March to go to contest.  But there are also about five who just took Drama because they needed an English credit. They are, however, very talented and fit right in with my kids.

The assignment I give the first day of school is called "Don't Be Boring".  Students can do anything they want in one to three minutes. They just can't be boring.  It's purpose is to get them to perform right away. There's nothing worse than waiting for days before you have to perform in front of the class, even if you know them well.

This class showed some talent--I had a student play the ukelele and sing a Jason Mraz song. One sang, another played her clarinet, several told stories.

And when we were done, they wanted to do it again.

They seemed to have a new found respect for the others in the class--especially those they didn't know well.

"I just learn so much about people with this," said one of my senior contest speech students.

So, we planned another one for last Friday.  A couple were gone, and we ran out of time for a couple of others, so we finished up on Monday.

Again, I was blown away by some of the talent in my classroom. This time we had an acting piece, someone played piano on computer and we went to the band room for a percussion piece. There were also two dance numbers and several oral interpretation pieces

When the last person performed today, the same contest speech senior said, "Why aren't these people out for speech?"

"Yea," said another. "These are better than most of the things we saw at districts. And they didn't have much practice time."

Why indeed.

There are several things I love about this. But the main one is that my very talented contest speech students recognize talent when they see it. And instead of viewing this talent as competition, they look at great additions to our team. And they encourage and recruit those people to join us.

And the next "Don't Be Boring" Day is scheduled for September 21.  I can't wait to see what they come up with next.


  1. Great way to get to "know" your kids and allow them to be themselves. You are such a great and inspiring teacher and you bring out the best in all of your students.

  2. What a great way to build community in the classroom! It opens their eyes to the talents of others that they may not have noticed.

  3. Love hearing about this, Deb. I also imagine there are still others out there, a bit afraid to sign up & with talent too. I hope they find the courage to take that step. Great of your speech students to be so supportive, too. This is terrific to hear about!

  4. What would I do? That was my first thought. Then I thought how brilliant this idea is. Finally I thought that you are lucky to be with these talented students. I still don't know what I would do.

  5. The best part was reading about how inclusive and encouraging everyone was. What fun!

  6. "Don't be Boring" Day is such a neat concept. What a great way to engage them to get up and speak!

  7. I want to come be an audience member!

    1. Schwade--You know Drama is during your prep. You can come down anytime!

  8. What a fun idea! I love activities that help the kids build respect and admiration for each other. (This is a similar experience to the country sharing activity that I did with my kids that I hope to write about soon.) It's awesome that you are making it a repeated thing -- I bet your students will come to look forward to it a lot, and getting students to look forward to being in front of the front is an amazing accomplishment!

  9. This sounds like an end of the year project I do, but your thought about jumping in right away is so invigorating. Why wait?

    How powerful for your students to be part of that community! So cool, Deb, so cool.

  10. Love the concept Deb. it's always wonderful to be blown away by the way our students rise up to meet the mark and then go beyond it! Heartwarming.

  11. I love that DON"T BE BORING! Too bad I can't use in my one of my former drama classes, but it's in the back of my head now. :) Thanks Deb.
    I am with you on the talent issue. It was so great to have kids in my drama class who signed up for the "wrong" reasons and stayed for the right reasons.
    Have a great year and keep the updates coming,