Friday, May 20, 2011

Middle School Adventures

Quote of the Day:  Presence arrives through the intuitive.  We cannot approach the intuition until we are free of opinions, attitudes, prejudices, and judgments. - Viola Spolin, in her book Theater Games for Rehearsal.

I've been riding the trails with middle schoolers this week, marveling at their energy, creativity and courage.  I've been volunteering and teaching, learning and living.  I've been experiencing life off-screen, and been quiet online.  Here are a few highlights.

On Monday, I went on an outdoor fieldtrip with Twin B, Eric.  We had a wagon ride through the woods, learned about the plant and animal life, and roasted marshmallows.

He learned how to approach and catch a horse, lead him, and brush him.  Then, the kids went on a trail ride.  Smiles, smiles everywhere!

The kids were challenged by the adventure ropes.  To truly grow from an experience, you need to be pushed out of your comfort zone, climb one more step up.

On Tuesday, I went on the same adventure with Twin A, Charlie.

I watched as kids went from crying to trotting on the horses, from shaking their heads and saying, "No way," to the ropes course, to "Let me go again!"  With encouragement, trust, and bravery all things are possible.

On Wednesday, I traveled North to a middle school Young Authors Conference.  I used that model of being encouraged out of your comfort zone to empower young writers.

I also used it to empower myself because the night before I left, the voices started taunting me again.  They said, "Who are you to teach anything at a conference?  Where are your published books?  What are your credentials?  All those other presenters are real authors.  You're just a poser."

Weren't they awful?

I pulled out Viola Spolin's Theater Games book and thought, she might be able to help build my confidence.  I read what is the Quote of the Day, above, in the prologue.  Yes, Viola, I need to trust my intuition.  I needed to push aside my own self-doubts, opinions, and judgments against myself.  I took notes and visualized eager young writers, embraced the teacher inside of me, and I went into the classroom with the old confidence I once had as a classroom teacher.  And, guess what?


I helped them create characters and write two different scenes, one alone, and one as a group.  The one on the board is called a "Death By -" scene, a comedy about ways to die by...boys, Justin Bieber, homework, chocolate, fear of pens - to name a few. 

Did you know Middle School kids are very brave, smart, and creative?

Ya, thanks, kids, for a terrific week!!!!!

Journaling Prompt:  When is the last time you were pushed out of your comfort zone?  What did you do?  Would you dare climb up those trees to do the adventure ropes?

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