Monday, April 19, 2010

Cultural Arts Week

Cultural Arts Week showcases THE ARTS using a variety of media including visual arts, dance, performing arts, drama, story-telling, and music. All 1300+ students have a piece of artwork they created on display somewhere in the building.

There are assemblies each day for our students to experience "live" performance on our stage and the week culminates on Friday evening at "Arts Extravaganza" - a two-hour family fun event where you can come and create artwork to take home with you. Visual artists will be on-hand displaying and selling their work and musicians will be on-hand performing throughout the building.

On Monday and Tuesday evening, parents are invited back to school to view the student gallery in the lobby and purchase a framed piece of their child's artwork (Kids Art Fairs, Inc.)

On our stage, "Sugar and Spice" kicked off the week using puppets, pop music and magic tricks to engage the students.

On Tuesday, a percussion duo from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performed.

On Wednesday, Glenis Redmond from North Carolina shared the power of poetry with us.

On Thursday, Orisirisi African Folklore shared African drumming and song with our students. This duo performed at EPCOT for many years before taking their program into schools all over the Southeast.

On Friday, Project Listen (the educational outreach program of Riverside Fine Arts) brought Alan Dalton to us to play banjo and share his love of Bluegrass music with us. An impromptu clogging demonstration was also presented by me!!

The week closed out with Arts Extravaganza on Friday evening with Matthew Olsavsky entertaining us on the steel pan drum and a recorder quartet playing old standards and jazz favorites. It was an absolutely incredible week!!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Faculty Fun!!

Today, the Chets Creek Crab Shack opened for business! It is only open one day a year and it is by far, my favorite "faculty fun" thing to do! My youngest son asked me if we really ate crab and I had to tell him, "No - it's fried grouper, but it's just as good!"

The Crab Shack is southern redneck at it's core. We dine on fried fish, cheese grits, cole slaw and rolls. We drink gallons of iced tea and slop up home-made banana puddin' for dessert. We get to go fishin' for a prize. (One of our community business partners provides the gift cards). We listen to country music and cheer every time the next group walks through the door. It is hilarious!

Me and Mrs. Phillips. I gave her that crab hat years ago!

My principal hollers atcha when you walk in..."WELCOME TO THE CHETS CREEK CRAB SHACK, MRS. TAMBURRINO...COME ON IN!!" She's from South Carolina and sounds like it. She slaps that bait bucket in yer face and says, "time to go fishin'!" Today, I won a gift card from Starbucks, but could have won a gift card from WalMart, Target, Office Max, Subway, Ritas, Chick-Fil-A, an iTunes gift card, gummie worms, goldfish crackers or a real-live fish in a fish bowl. The "whale of a prize" was an iPod Nano or an iPod Shuffle!

I think a new tradition was begun today when Mrs. Phillips asked one of our born-and-bred Yankees if she had tried the cheese grits. She said, "No, no way!!" Mrs. Phillips told her that if she would eat a bowl of cheese grits, she would give her a special prize. We all watched and cheered as this poor soul gagged down a bowl of cheese grits, washing every bite down with a gulp of iced tea. (She was told she had to keep them down or she would lose her prize.)

Talk about blind faith...she endured this heckling not knowing what the special prize was going to be! Turns out, Mrs. Phillips offered to trade jobs with her for a day. She gets to be principal while Mrs. Phillips teaches her second grade class. My only regret is that her husband was not there to witness the ordeal.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Spectacular

As I write to you from the mountains of western North Carolina, I am currently experiencing a grown-up version of the "3 R's." No...I am not practicing my reading, writing or my arithmetic. I am resting, relaxing and re-grouping. Spring Break comes at just the right time for a music teacher; right between the "Christmas Crazies" and the "Spring Spectacular!"

Upon my return from Winter Break in January, I began rehearsing the Third Grade Musical (aka Spring Spectacular) at Chets Creek. Several third grade teachers came to me in the fall and felt very strongly that their spring musical should enhance what was being taught in Character Education both in the classroom and by Mrs. Hall, our Character Ed Resource Specialist. I told them I had just the thing...

Several years ago, Roger Emerson and John Jacobson collaborated on a musical for children entitled, "A Better You, A Better Me." In this musical, the song titles reflect one of the Six Pillars of Good Character. Titles such as "Expect Respect," "Trust is a Must Blues," "I Will Care for You," and "The CitizenSHIP" are reflective of the musical as a whole. I began working on the musical while their classroom teachers were preparing the students for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

This particular musical not only reinforces what it means to be a "good citizen," it also teaches young people how to be men and women of good character - to be honest, to be fair, to show respect to others, to care for one another. Additionally, I am able to provide them with unique performance experiences through various genres of music including rock, country/swing, the blues and the ballad. It is a "win-win" for all parties involved!

Because this is a grade-level production and there are 14 classroom teachers, 1 music teacher, 2-4 art teachers and a sound tech involved in the planning, preparation, and execution over many months, I work with a "play liason" from the team who helps me disseminate information to the group during their team meetings. This has helped streamline our productions over the years and keeps the stress levels to a minimum while we're "in production." It is truly a labor of love for the kids and I greatly appreciate the effort on the part of the classroom teachers, many of whom are not musically trained.

Costumes must be created, choreography must be written, staging and blocking must be thought through, a stage rehearsal schedule must be prepared so that everyone has equal access to the stage and technical rehearsals are a must. It all comes together during the final dress rehearsals and performances on Tuesday, June 1st and Thursday, June 3rd in our school cafeteria.

The "resting, relaxing, and re-grouping" scene could not have come at a more opportune time.

Until next time...