Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Seven Cs

By Patrice Trim

How are we going to fit all of the objectives of the course into the remaining sessions? We needed to help the kids write a script, learn lines and learn accompanying movement. If that wasn't challenging enough, we had to have them film and edit this to create a final product that could be shared in public forums. Oh, did I mention some kids from last week didn't come back and some new kids showed up? 

Great minds create great things. Penny, JC and I met and discussed all of our options...Looked at the pros and cons...Shelved ideas and started again. We went through pans A to Z and found middle grounds that would work for and please all stakeholders. We took the best elements of all the plans and came up with a new one. We were ready to create a magazine with the kids. 

I took the plan to the kids. They loved the idea. They were excited to get to work. I told them we'd be looking at the Rights of a Child. Reading and analyzing. There was some hesitation. I told them we'd go around the room and they would read the right and explanations aloud. I asked for volunteers. It was like pulling teeth. My nervousness stepped back in. Had I lost them? How would we go forward if they weren't on board? 

It was shaky at first. The same kids had volunteered to read and help analyze articles of the declaration. What was happening? Should I re-evaluate the plan? But Penny wasn't there. I can't make a decision without consulting everyone. I looked at them. I was nervous. I sensed their nervousness. I started to panic and suddenly I was smiling. Smile turned into a laugh. I was a teacher for the last six years and here I was nervous in front of students. What was that? Laughter? 

Yes it was laughter. They had relaxed cause I was now relaxed. Kids started calling out numbers they wanted to read. We were filling in spaces where some had jumped ahead and spots needed to be filled. We went through all thirty articles. I helped them with their pronunciation. They helped each other. They gave examples based on the analysis and discussion. They were excited. I was excited. It was going to be alright. 

Children are amazing creatures. They never cease to amaze me with their tenacity and drive. With my guidance they got into groups that had representatives of both genders. They were assigned different sections of the declaration and they worked together to decide who was going to learn and present which articles. We also finished most the biopoems that we started last week. The older kids helped the little ones write their ideas on paper. They are all excited to start learning them and even though there is some nervousness for next week when we start to practice presenting them, I think it's safe to say that the NA Reach the Unreachable  session in Maloney Gardens is the beginning of something magical! 

Stay tuned, it's only going to get bigger and better! 

Monday, 20 March 2017

Scared For No Reason

By Patrice  Trim

I've known the founders and teacher volunteers of Necessary Arts for years. I've admired their work and was always amazed at the amazing things they've taught and helped adults and children achieve. I would always joke and say: when I grow up I want to be like Naima or Penelope or Lydia. I never thought I'd actually have the opportunity to step into their shoes.

Naima asked me to teach a literacy class. I was nervous. I'm a teacher and interact with kids everyday but it felt I was being asked to step into some extra large shoes. What if I messed it up? What if the kids were bored and not engaged? What kid wants to do extra school work on a weekend? I was ready to quit before I even started.

Driving from Couva to Maloney I had butterflies in my stomach. I went over my lesson plan over and over on the hour drive. When I got to the community center I took a deep breath, jumped out the car and reminded myself that Naima wouldn't have asked me to do this class if she didn't think I was capable. I said to myself: "you've got this" and walked in.

Penelope was doing drama with the kids. They were so excited to do the exercises. My nervousness came flooding back. I'm almost sure a wave of nausea hit me. She introduced me to them. I guess it was too late to back out now. They were given a break and then it was my turn.

I stood in front of them for about ten seconds before I spoke. It felt like five minutes. I looked at their faces. They were filled with anticipation not dread. I started speaking and they were listening. Asking questions. Ready to learn and share. My nervousness disappeared instantly.

I shared with them my plan for the sessions. I told them about writing bio poems and discussing the rights of a child and making a list of their rights and responsibilities. They were ready to get to work.

We looked at the structure of a bio poem and I asked them questions about what is a noun or adjective. One little girl of about seven to eight max was so excited to share and give examples. I asked her name. She said: Lily and told me that her name was a proper noun. I high fived her. Another boy Isaiah said: a teacher that gives high fives, you're really cool!

Reach the Unreachable Maloney Day 1

I had won them over. I knew in that moment I had stepped into the shoes of some amazing women and I was making them proud. We spent the rest of the session brainstorming ideas and making notes to start writing the biopoems. After I dismissed the class I overheard a small group of kids saying they were actually looking forward to doing more work with me next week.

I'm looking forward to it too. Can't wait to see them grow as learners and express their ideas. This is going to be an awesome session with the kids from Maloney. I can't wait!

Reach the Unreachable in Maloney, Trinidad

by Naima Thompson

Our Reach the Unreachable literacy through drama program has made its way to Maloney, Trinidad. This project is dedicated to Marcia Henville who met with me a month before we lost her. We had hoped to bring such a program to Maloney and as it turns out, her soldiers are manifesting her dream.
Up to this point we have had workshops at the headquarters in POS and at the outreach sites in Kenya.
When Trinidadian television producer Jillian Wickham visited Dubai in January, we chatted extensively about Necessary Arts and bringing its outreach program home.  She shared with me that her company, Framesync, was commissioned by the Honorable Camille Robinson-Regis to conduct a video production boot camp for the children and youth of the Arouca/Maloney region. A synergy was now inevitable.

After a site visit and several planning meetings, we are pleased to say that all is in place to start the four week boot camp on March 18th.

We suggested the theme of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child to mirror the current Thompson Thespians program in Dubai. The NAS team would need an acting coach, a literacy coach and of course someone to handle the logistics and collaborative needs with Framsync.
Thanks to our teacher/volunteers, Penelope Spencer, Patrice Trim and Marianne Bishop, the collaboration is well on its way.

So the big question today is:
Can we collectively raise the social consciousness and literacy skills of the participants as we examine the content of the boot camp?  If so, how do we know that we achieved success?