Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category

How Dinosaurs Say Goodnight

Quinn’s final acting class was this week and we were invited to join in for the last 15 minutes of class for a little performance and to see what they’ve worked on during this session.  It was SO fun.  We have not been able to observe the class before so it was really great to see what Quinn has been up to!  I took lots of video and Brent took lots of pictures (which I haven’t seen yet — will add later)… so if you aren’t a grandparent, this might be too much!

The “performance” started with a discussion of the “Actor’s Stance” that the students were all taught:  focused attention, no talking or wiggling.  The students demonstrated for us very well!  But anytime the teacher would turn away, they’d get all wiggly and silly — but snap back to attention when he looked their way.  It was super cute — this video catches just the end of it…

Quinn’s Dino Performance I from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

Next the students introduced their dinosaurs.  Quinn’s is named Trona and he tells about him here…

Quinn’s Dino Performance II from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

Next it was time for the book.  They had learned to act out a bedtime story, “How Dinosaurs Say Goodnight.”  I took lots of video — but here’s just one from the performance…

Quinn’s Dino Performance III from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

After the book, they showed us the Dinosaur Hunts they went on each week.  This might have been my favorite part because Quinn really gets into it and I love seeing him express himself so joyfully! (3 videos here)

This one begins with what Quinn would like to take in his backpack for the hunt…

Sorry about the sound on this one — I think I was covering the mic…

Quinn’s Dino Performance IV from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

Quinn’s Dino Performance V from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

Quinn’s Dino Performance VI from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

I’m so glad we chose to put Quinn in these classes.  If possibly, I think his imaginative play at home has even increased (it was already pretty great) since taking this class.  We are excited to start the new session next week!

Yeah Quinn!  Great job, Buddy!  We are so proud of you!

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Acting Class

Quinn’s acting class was a great improvement this week.  Last week, I took him to a class I had signed him up for at Christian Youth Theater.  I was super excited because I have wanted to find an outlet for his… well… his… his chatter.  Though he was a slow starter for speech, he has made up for lost time and will just about talk the ear off an elephant.  He’s also incredibly expressive and almost theatrical in his conversations.  Unfortunately, sometimes he’s also disciplined for these skills because they are not appropriate at that time.  So I’ve really wanted him to have a place where these talents were appreciated and encouraged.  Enter CYT.  The class was described this way:

Preschoolers will have an hour of fun learning about theater. The full experience will be a multi-sensory opportunity to explore movement, music, drama and art. Activities may include: rhythm games, coordination skills, demonstrating expressions and role playing.

We signed up for the class on the day of and arrived excited to start!  When we walked into the room, there were two-foot square pieces of plywood spread around the room and 13 little girls (some with tap shoes on) each finding a board to stand on.  I was confused, but waited to hear what the teacher would say.  She announced that every week class would be the same so the kids would learn consistency.  There would be 30 minutes of tap (what?), then they’d change to their ballet shoes for 15 minutes of ballet (WHAT???), then for the last 15 minutes they’d sit in a circle and each student would be allowed to freely and interpretively dance around the room (you’ve GOT to be kidding me).  I stared in disbelief.

Then the teacher said, “And I had three great girl songs picked out for our performance, including The Good Ship Lollipop, but then we had a BOY sign up today (and she points at Quinn), so I’ll have to pick all new songs.”  The other mothers in the room sighed and ohhh’d.

Seriously??? I was flabbergasted and immediately furious.  I realize now that I was mostly mad because my hopes were dashed.  I was finally doing something unique and special for my middle child and I had been so excited for him.  But it was also a totally unexpected experience of discrimination.  Discrimination against my beautiful, funny, active Quinn.  Because he’s a boy.

I left the room to find someone in charge and when I explained the situation, I was apologized to profusely with the explanation that there are usually other boys in the class, but that this time only girls had signed up.  I explained that the class was nothing like the description online and was assured my money would be fully refunded.

So I marched back to the room with Jake & Kira in tow, quietly went in and took Quinn’s hand and led him out of the room.

And here’s where my heart just bursts with pride.  When I had left the room a few minutes before, my champ of a boy was following the teacher and doing “heel, ball, kick.”  He was copying her movements and participating like a trooper.  And when I got back to the room, he was in line with all those little girls to work on the next skill.  I was so proud that he just went along and did his best.

As soon as we were out the door, I crouched down and said, “Bud, remember I told you this was an acting class?  Where you’d get to act out silly people and crazy animals?”  He nodded.  “Well, turns out Momma was wrong.  This is a dance class, and though I’m sure you are a great dancer, it’s just not the kind of class I thought it would be.  So we aren’t going to go to this class and Momma is going to find you another acting class, ok?”  Silence.  Serious look on his face.  “Is that ok?”

“Yeah,” he says, “I didn’t want to be friends with ANY of those GIRLS.”

I love that boy.

As soon as we got home, I was racing through internet searches and found that the theater in Balboa Park offers acting classes for Quinn’s age and a few classes are actually taught by MEN!  GASP!


He was thrilled with his first class this week.  Came out demonstrating what he’d learned and though I overheard the teacher explaining to a few other parents that he’d be working with their child on LISTENING skills, he didn’t say that to me.  SHOCKER.  And again, proud.

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