Edwards Middle School & Irving Middle School Hip Hop, Theater and Social Change Apprenticeship With Citizen Schools: Week 1

Posted 12 March 2012 12:00 AM by Rachel Rhoades

The Edwards sixth graders were more than ready to take positive risks and jump into the Hip Hop, Theater & Social Change apprenticeship! They identified courage, respect and teamwork as the values we should hold onto as a blossoming ensemble. A particularly inspiring moment came from one student who expressed anxiety about displaying a dance move for our Name and Gesture icebreaker. The group encouraged her and offered ways to help ease her nerves; we decided to have her wait until last. When I asked for someone to see if they could remember everyone’s, this same originally nervous student shot her hand in the air and performed the group’s names and gestures with enthusiasm and bravery. When asked to show a frozen scene of a situation they’d like to change that happens in their school, every student raised their hand in a fist at their partner. With unanimous agreement, the students chose to explore the social issue of bullying and violence in and around school. They dove into some creative writing and started a word wall of material to use for when we begin crafting song lyrics and beats in the coming weeks.

Students at the Irving Middle School in Roslindale also chose to focus on fighting and created two tableau: first, The Real Image of violence in their school including students videotaping with their phones, laughing, trying to protect their friends engaged in the conflict, and the principal and dean of discipline entering the scene and, second, the Ideal Image of their school with students dancing, singing, collaborating on homework outside, involved in vigorous discussion with teachers about their learning. One student helped sculpt another playing the role of the dean of discipline, saying, “you should look bored since we wouldn’t even need detention with the kids getting along!” Next week we will be exploring personal agency and the ability to use one’s individual strengths to stand up to forces of oppression, such as the pressure to fight.

Rachel Rhoades, Teaching Artist

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