A Magical Performance and Day
It is so hard to believe that in just 9 days we put together one of the most amazing CAC Units ever! The art projects, songs, dances, acting and learning truly took on a life of their own. One of the teachers in the audience said that the performance was "EPIC." I agree. So many memories were made during these two weeks - not just for the students. The teachers all came away with a better understanding of a part of the world that we often forget and never imagine actually visiting. All of this could NEVER have happened without the amazing Grosvenor Teaching Fellowship through National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. It is because of them that we brought Antarctica to Chicago. Enjoy!
This video is from our dress rehearsal. There are still some bumps but it gives a good idea of just ONE part of the show. The cast of 200 kids went performed about the Drake Passage, Gerlache Straits, and Brown Bluff. Not to mention that there was an amazing finale that brought audience members to tears!
We worked very hard today ironing out the bumps of a performance. I know that the kids will shine so brightly. There are 8 student explorers in the show who have been selected to go to Antarctica with National Geographic. They visit The Drake Passage, Brown Bluff, Gerlache Strait and Port Lockroy on the Antarctica Peninsula. So much we have learned through this whole process - the students AND teachers! Ironically, a video was made of Mr. Sanders and I visiting Port Lockroy and I wanted to share. I am having some uploading difficulties with images I have taken today. Hopefully, I will be able to post more students tomorrow. Break a leg to all of the first graders! It will be magical!
The big projects now are connecting like fine works of art for a puzzle. The pieces of each individual lesson are a part of a big picture where the kids have a very deep meaning for the unit. Tomorrow is our dress rehearsal and then we have the big day!
As with all CAC units, the teachers have so many balls in the air. We have started rehearsals and full scale practices. The kids are learning now how to convey what they have been learning into a performance. Little things like how to stand on a stage, slowly delivery a line and have emotion are entering the conversations. The lyrics of the songs are coming to life and projects are still being created! Today has less "action shots" because I was working hard with kids during rehearsal. I have to tell the truth. It makes me want to go back to Antarctica again!
Here is a group of students practicing "Antarctica, The land Undiscovered" during their music class and the incredible teacher, Ms. Dimas.
Then, there are more student projects of different animals of Antarctica. So creative and fun!
We just finished our first week studying Antarctica. Kids are learning their lines, lyrics to songs, painting and dancing. I feel so lucky to bring the real world to the lives of all of these kids. For me, it is the most magical of all CAC units that I have ever been a part of.
As always, "the CAC" is fully of energy and excitement. "CAC" stands for "Communication Arts Center." The facility is HUGE (think an airplane hanger) where there is a giant open space and kids everywhere! So much dancing, singing and practicing filling the room.
Classrooms are always working on different topics inside of the unit. Mr. Szymanski's class tackled the Antarctic food web. The kids worked in collaborative groups to make their part of the web. It was so interesting to see kids get so excited to make phytoplankton and krill!
Penguins are a hot topic in the CAC. It is always fun to look at penguins with kids and see how they move above and below the water!
Speaking of below the water... You have to take a moment to look at the amazing adaptations that has happened to the deep-sea life in Antarctica. I am always learning new things!
Mr. Szymanski's kids are LOVING reading the Magic Tree House book, "The Eve of the Emperor Penguin." The book has all sorts of Antarctica facts. Plus, a little magic never hurt any storyline!
Today we has so many different things happening in the CAC today. The students (almost 200) are loving learning about Antarctica!
Then there were the Antarctic food-web projects. Students learned how different species rely on each other for food. They are all connected!
Then, it became penguin time in Mr. Szymanski's class. Though, we didn't talk about how penguins become food when learning about the 3 different types of brush tail penguins!
And, as always, the CAC units are never without masses of kids practicing for a performance. You can always hear various songs being sung with kids learning dances in the distance.
Today, we have some junior explorers posing for photos with our photojournalist! Actually, it was a few super creative parents who helped capture almost 200 students to post for magazine cover shots for our "National Geographic" cover stories for Antarctica.
Students also learned about Antarctica's International Treaty where countries have promised to preserve Antarctica. Students created maps of Antarctica with artistic representations of the countries' flags and the portion that they have claimed in Antarctica.
First Day Jitters!
Today, we started! It was the first day of our 2-week, arts integrated unit called, "Disney on Antarctic Ice." The kids were so excited. The teachers were already tired! We have been working nonstop getting together projects and a script about 7 first grade students embarking on a similar journey of Mr. Szymanski and Mr. Sanders in Antarctica. There was lots of art, singing and learning of the White Continent!
Students also got to begin to learn songs for their various performances! It isn't easy writing lyrics for music that little ones will sing! The students are singing about the Penguin Post Office at Port Lockroy.
And the acting!
And then some kids learned about the characteristics of penguins and seals found on the peninsula!