Monday, March 9, 2009

Katya's School Play/"Family Holiday"

Disclaimer: This post is a bit long so that the girls' grandparents can get a sense of what the performance was like; they don't actually get to go to any of these things! I included the video of the whole play because I know that some of my readers are Russian kids who might enjoy watching it.

Friday was the big school show that Katya's class put on for their families. You might remember how upset I was when I misunderstood the time and missed the whole celebration last year... This year three different moms called me the night before to make CERTAIN that I had the correct information! They remembered how miserable Katya had been, so alone as the only kid whose family didn't show up that day...

Well, we were all there this year! And it was great! The kids created much of it themselves: they did the choreography for the songs; they thought of the costumes; and they wrote the play. Katya goes to the after school clubs for theater, music and dance -- so she played a very active role in planning the show.

As the only native speaker -- and a self-professed future actress and pop star -- she loved being in the spotlight during the ESL songs. Being able to be so creative keeps her from being bored when they sing simple songs that are geared to kids who are just learning English. (Her own English class, however, is separate; she's with other native-speakers during those lessons). 

The drama teacher is fantastic! Having taught drama in grades 6 - 9, and put on plays, I'm in a position to analyze how she does what she does and to assess the results. Katya is SO lucky to work with her! After-school theater is her favorite activity; she always brings a notebook and writes down every comment the teacher makes. All of her teachers comment about Katya's notebook... They love how serious she is about everything!

The play they put on was "Kolobok," which is the Russian version of "The Gingerbread Man." A kolobok is a sweet bun (according to Katya); in their play they had three kolobki in order for everyone to have a part. Other children played the family that baked them, then bunnies and wolves that tried to eat them, and foxes (clever GIRL foxes, I might add...) that outsmarted them. Katya was a fox.

Katya was quite upset that her friend Masha wore a real fox as part of her costume; she's quite the animal lover and future activist... She keeps those opinions to herself here, though, knowing that she'd be the "vox clamantis in deserto," (the voice of one crying out in the wilderness).

The play was very cute and we, the parents, definitely appreciated that not only did out children get the chance to act in it, but also to gain confidence in creating it from start to finish.

The teachers then had three activities to involve the families, giving each team a plate, and awarding us sushki (basically hard bread rings -- a bit like pretzels, but not salted) as points. The first one involved Russian proverbs about families that were missing key words. The groups had to come up with the actual words -- or others that would make sense while also working grammatically.

These were ours:

"Гость на пороге -- счастье в доме."

"Дом без хозяйки сирота."

"Дом вести не полой трести."

"Не красна изба углами, а красна пирогами."

"Когда семья вместе, то и душа на месте."

I just don't have time right now to figure out the exact translations... Anyone want to take a stab at it for me?!

Then we  had a parent/child contest in which the teacher asked each team two questions and both partners had to write down the answer, ideally getting the same one! I think the teachers did a great job on this one. You can watch Chris and Katya do this in the first video below. Their questions were: "How many siblings does your parent have?" and "What is your dad's favorite kind of car?" I didn't expect Katya to get that one, since Chris doesn't really even have one... But somehow they both wrote "Jeep" -- the car his parents have in Colorado.

Next the teachers had the parents act out a quick version of the fairy tale about a radish that was stuck so hard in the ground that it took an entire family (and their animals) to pull it out. That was so funny to watch! (You can see it in the first video below). 

The last activity was to see which team could create a linked chain out of ribbons the fastest. 

Then Katya and her friend Paulina surprised everyone with a solo from High School Musical; they had been practicing the song during the after-school club "English Songs." Katya loves that club, too; the teacher is so young-at-heart and she enjoys using pop culture and contemporary music to get the kids excited.

It was great to see the "Honorable Mention" corkboard in Katya's classroom; she was commended in three of the five areas for last week's work (when she was sick for a day, too)! She excelled in math problems written vertically, word problems, and copying literary texts without any mistakes.

There were gifts for the girls in honor of March 8th (International Women's Day -- HUGE here) and a big "tea" for everyone in the classroom. All the parents brought something. Two of us baked, to everyone's amazement. (Why don't people bake anymore??!) I made biscotti and everyone wanted the recipe. I'm going to make a big basket of them to thank Katya's teachers for all the work they put into creating that Play/Celebration.

In this next mini movie you can see clips from the whole celebration: two ESL songs that the whole class sang; Katya's scene as a fox in the play; a game that parents and kids played; an impromptu play put on by the parents; and a duet Katya sang with a friend at the end.

Disclaimer: Chris took the videos, and heads are often cut off... I was busy taking pictures.

In the next video you can watch the entire class play of "Kolobok."


Tina in CT said...

She's growing up too fast. I want her 2 again when she came for weekends with me.

She looks sooooooooooo happy and in her element (on stage).

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of thought was put into organizing this celebration! Impressive! Katya does indeed look very natural and cute (as usual :))!

I have no idea how to render an adequate translation of those Russian proverbs, but thanks a lot for the latin equivalent of "глас вопиющиего в пустыне"! To me, it's one of those instances when the Russian translation sounds almost as good as the original!

Annie said...

I can't wait to watch these! I can't believe how animated Katya is in the photos. She does appear to be a true actress in the making!

I am always SO impressed with Russian children's performances! I wish that kind of care and high expectations were present here.

Anonymous said...

*вопиющего* that is