Monday, April 27, 2009

Training 4 - April 25

OK, so I don't try to hide the fact that typing about something is my least favorite way to process stuff. But I guess luckily for me (unluckily for this blogging mechanism), after the session, theresa, chuck, leona, and myself - as well as some others - got drunk together. during that process, we did a lot of talking in and out of what we did that day and what we've done so far. let me try to put down some semi-coherent thoughts here.

we started with chuck's music activity - and i honestly feel like i could have done that all day. now i just want to randomly pick a book off the shelf at home and randomly pick a CD out of my case and try to match up each song with a place in the book. And I want to do that every single day - and then I want to ask everyone I know to do the same thing, and then we can spend all day Saturday talking about it. I think what was so gripping about doing music was that everyone has a fairly intimate relationship with music - but many of us don't feel we have the vocabulary to talk about it. Relating it to the text gave us permission to talk about music in the most accessible terms, which is how we receive it in the first place, so it kind of connected the listening and the analysis in a way that is natural - but for some reason, most of us don't do.

Leona's photography activity was also transcendent. I made my best effort to start the activity - like with every activity - with as clear an idea of what the tasks were as I could. Because we're workshopping these lesson plans, I've been wanting to try to do each activity with no preconceived notion of where we'll end up, and just trust that the work we end up doing will take us there. And I think I started this one very doubtful in my own ability to do anything special with it, but as luck would have it, each step opened us up a little more, right? When Leona put in that twist at the end - by having us hand the camera to someone in the scene - it was unexpected. I kind of assumed we might just look at different parts of the text and take a bunch more pictures, but we actually needed to take a picture of the same thing - and somehow convey a different story with it. that made a lot start to pop off in my brain.

Also, I think it was helpful to have Doris there offering help. Because we each only get one shot at running our lessons with each other, I think Doris was interrupting more than she wanted to - but it's better to have that happen early, than to wait until we've run an exercise that doesn't get us to a place we want to be. Part of me wishes she had been present when Gee and I did our pieces because she has the most experience with this specific method, and so she may have seen some things we didn't catch at the time. Although, I think by now, our cohort here at BCNC can look over each other's plans and offer helpful feedback. I think we were already doing that as early as the 2nd or 3rd session, and we'll certainly get better at it over the next several weeks.

One more to go! I think we're all looking forward to the one from Theresa.


  1. I agree I really liked Chuck's training because it opened me to experience music in a different way, an accessible way. I never really sat down to listen to music, just always exposed to the radio. i mean i love to listen to different genres like jazz and classical music, but never really knowing who's the composer and where it comes from. I liked this exercise a lot cause it gave me the time to sit down enjoy a piece of music and connect it to something. it gives the music more meaning. I like this exercise for youth cause it would make them sit down and appreciate the sound of music not just cause it's "popular".

    Leona's photo activity was really creative and active. I like how everyone has a role in the activity and it isn't so easy. I wanted to be the one taking the picture, simply because i like taking pictures, but also because i was getting too lazy to act out anything. Of course i was wrong and being prompt by Gee helped me remember that i was the photograph and have to be just as active as anyone else in a photo. I couldn't just snap a picture but I needed to decide on the angle and the pose of each person and object in the frame. I think relating photography to a literature is great because you're given a purpose to take pictures but at the same time be able to understand the text on a deeper level, as a character or a director of a book.

  2. i loved listening to how everyone connected the pieces of music to the text. it's so interesting to see how everyone has a different emotional reaction and imaginary connection to imagery. i agree, giles, i could've done that all day... it was just like... yea... i'm happy it went well. any comments on what could be improved or some different ideas to incorporate would be wonderful!

    also, here are the tracks from training:

    as for leona's, i loved the picture taking process. it was just this really cool thing to express the text in a visual manner. i think doing that exercise in the beginning about expressing emotions through your body was a helpful way to prepare ourselves to do the photo exercise. granted the body expression needs a little fine-tuning... but the idea was wonderful. and even tho the body exercise didn't go as planned... i feel that i still got the idea... which led nicely into the photo exercise... which is great!

    taking photos in relation to the text is just a really interesting concept... and i feel would help provoke people's imagination. wonderful.

    i also love how each medium we're using... all feeds into each other. we don't even have to preface a workshop with how it connects with the other mediums... it just happens on an intuitive level. and i love that.

  3. we're all so lovey-dovey with each other! so i wanted to throw in some things i've also been thinking-- maybe get some responses. i really like how this works relating to a text. i guess i wonder how this could connect to other work we do, say, youth leadership development. i feel like there are a lot of really great skills the youth would develop through this-- is there a way to connect it to a leadership program? would the focal point not be a text but something else? any ideas on that?

    also, this is such a powerful model-- i wish we could make ALL our youth go through it. and not only them, but all the youth in boston, and beyond. how can it be used more across the board? i like that this is happening in schools-- what more can we be doing at the community level to bring this model and start expanding its uses?

    and then further down the line, how can continue doing this even after the summer? what would it take? funding? space? what would be the broader vision for this kind of programming?

  4. i think to connect this to a leadership development program would be possible, but would maybe require an additional session per week for another activity to be run?

    OR, if the text were "black boy" by wright, "no no boy" or the autobiography or something. but exercises would have to come from a different angle - some would remain the same too i guess...

    let's explore all these thoughts when we start meeting as a cohort. yeah good to think about this.