Dear Sierra Nevada Community:
Greenhaven Estates Sing
The Sierra Nevada classroom, along with most of the San Gabriel community, will sing at Greenhaven Estates this Thursday at 11:00. This is a “rain or shine” event, so please plan accordingly. The children have been practicing their songs to the elders and are very excited to sing for them. Most of the songs that we are singing were taught to me by my father when I was their age – songs of an earlier era that, hopefully, the residents will recognize. To celebrate our coming together to bring cheer to our greater community in the Pocket, we will have an ice cream sundae party in the afternoon.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Valentine’s Day tradition that we have in our classroom as well as holiday related traditions in general. Because our community is very diverse and I want to honor and respect every family in our community, I am looking at our usual traditions in a new light and would welcome input about this from you all. We typically have small mini celebrations throughout the year as holidays important to families in our community come up. In the past we have “celebrated” (by this I mean, learned about and perhaps share some traditional food or craft) various holidays such as Hanukah, Eid, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, the Moon Festival, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. I love these spontaneous celebrations that families bring into the classroom. I want to continue this so that the children can learn that we all come from different backgrounds and beliefs, but that all of the celebrations center around the themes of love, family, and unity. Because of this, I would like to propose that in the years going forward, we continue to keep the service piece (singing to elders) as a tradition and give thought to whether we want/need/should do the “Valentine” piece of the day. Again, I would really welcome your input on this. I’m certainly not anti-tradition, but I do want to be sensitive to everyone in our community. Please feel free to chat with or email me about your thoughts on this topic! My ultimate goal is for every family to feel completely comfortable, included and safe in our community.
My next parent event will be held on Wednesday, March 6, at 8:30a.m. in the Family Room (the large room behind the San Gabriel classroom). The initial topic will be ways that we can help our children at home continue with the learning they are experiencing at school. As with all Coffee Chats, there will be lots of time for discussion after the initial topic is introduced. I hope many of you can make it!
Well, the musical has been cast and the children are chomping at the bit to get started learning their lines and starting to practice! We have finished learning all of the ensemble pieces and next week we will begin “blocking” the scenes. In theatre-speak, this means learning where everyone stands and moves during the songs and scenes. They will also begin learning their lines during this part of the process. As we go, I will teach them about terms like “upstage”, “downstage”, “cheating out” as well as general rules of the stage such as never turning your back to the audience, where to stand so you don’t upstage someone, how to look toward the audience without actually looking at anyone, how to project your voice so that you can be heard, etc.
They will need these skills because I am 99% sure that we are going to be able to perform on an actual stage! I am in talks with the Sierra 2 Theatre in Sacramento, and am trying to negotiate a way to have one rehearsal and the performance there. I should know in the next week if this will be possible. If that is the case, we will need lots of drivers for our rehearsal on one of the days. I’ll let you know as soon as possible if that happens so that we can get enough drivers to get everyone there.
Also, if you have any large refrigerator-sized boxes, we will need a few as we get closer to May. Our wonderful receptionist and resident artist, Alex, will help the children build the sets. Right now the play is scheduled for Thursday, May 30th, in the evening. This will also become a firm date as we secure the venue and then you can tell your friends and family!