Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer School

Okay, so summer school wasn't that bad! I enjoyed it.

I had 6 boys in my "School of Rock" class. I think they thought it was boring but it's all the background of how rock-n-roll became... well, became. I didn't get to Elvis, but we had lots of discussion questions and I played lots of song clips. I also did a "conformity" activity. After the history of rock and roll and then listening to clips, I asked them to write in journals what the advantages and disadvantages were of conforming to society were. Then we looked at lyrics (and listened to) of The Who's "My Generation", "Baba O Reilly" and Pearl Jam's "Who You Are." We talked about what each of these songs were about. Then they had to pick a lyric from one of those songs that "spoke" to them and explain why and make a mini poster, which we hung on the wall. Then I asked them what conformity had to do with rock-n- roll to tie it all together. Get them thinking about themselves in the world, and music. Hey, if they can learn something in the process, then bonus, right?

My second group was also boys, 7 of them, and right after lunch. They were much more talkative and wound up. They were in my Hollywood 101 class- how to watch movies with a focus on the classics as a genre. Basically it means, I picked a genre, talked about it, and used handouts for about 10 minutes. We did an activity using a Stephen King essay called "Why we crave Horror Films", and then got to watch Hitchcock's The Birds, which we didn't finish today, but will tomorrow.

It's odd because of several reasons. First, and this was cool, there were NO cell phones or headphones. Kids weren't trying to sneak text messages or listen to headphones. (Yes, I realize the irony of that since I am teaching a rock music class). That was totally awesome. And it's a totally incredible setting to have just a class of boys without the girl drama. I LIKED that. It was also hard for me to remember that 98% of all the kids in the building are hardened criminals, that this place is the last stop for them before going to Boy's State Prison. They were all in uniforms of khaki pants, collared shirts with an undershirt, belts, shirts tucked in, no sagging/ baggy pants, and nice shoes. Hair was combed and kids were clean. They were polite. Yes, I know WHY they are this way, but regardless of the circumstances, it was a really nice change of pace. I was impressed. They were kind and good. If this keeps up, it will be a good 10 days.

Okay, and I have to tattle on myself. I was preparing my lesson plans Monday night and I wanted to make sure I talked about the influence of rockabilly music. In all my research, I found that Johnny Cash "Cocaine Blues" or "Folsom Prison Blues" were the genre's best examples. Well, Sunday night, my thought process was that there was no way I could play "Cocaine Blues" to these kids because of the DRUGS! Oh NO! *gasp* Uh, but, uh, yeah... I know you're sitting there saying, "Oh no way. She so didn't..." Uh, yes way, she so did. I actually played, without thinking of the irony, "Folsom Prison Blues." Some of the boys thought that was a riot, and even suggested it be the class theme song. Yup- go me. I was so embarrassed!

Well, anyway... other than that little incident, it could be a great 2 weeks!

Keeping my fingers crossed,


Jacalyn @ said...

What an awesome experience! I am sure you are touching these boy's lives in some wonderful way!


sam said...


Sounds like fun. Is this job only two weeks?

I went to a restaurant the other night in St, Augustine and the host said...there's a table up agaist the wall for you. I started laughing and my brain went to the song "up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" and I sang it (only that line) to the dude. He cracked up.
I think he was suprised that an "old lady" would say such a thing.

Hope you had a good holiday. Very nice here.