Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The 50s invade Vistamar

Last weekend the students put on 6 shows of the musical Grease. The first two shows were on Friday and then there were two each on Saturday and Sunday. Thus, Friday was declared 50s day. Unfortunately, apparently only the teachers were told this because a number of us, myself included were surprised when the students didn't dress up. Actually, the students not only didn't dress up, but they had no idea why some of the teachers were dressed like it was the 1950s.
I'm a huge fan of the 1950s and so a couple of years ago I had my mother make me a poodle skirt. She did an incredible job. Unfortunately, I realized at Halloween that none of my Halloween costumes, including my poodle skirt made it to California. I'm pretty sure they are at my grandmother's house, but I have been back twice and I never remember to look for them. Thus, when they announced 1950s day I was sad. I decided I still really wanted to participate and I found a cheap poodle skirt on Amazon (sorry mom I really would have preferred the one you made!). I ordered it and then the night before I bought a curling iron. I wanted to create a style that appears to be called a bouffant (I think that was the style I wanted it has been almost a week). Well, I didn't actually know how and I couldn't get my hair to do quite what I planned, so I tied it back with a scarf. It was really cute nonetheless. We took a picture of the staff that dressed up. Originally, I wasn't going to include that picture here, but then Sunday morning at swim practice one of the women was like, "Do you teach at Vistamar School?" I replied that I did and she told me she had seen a picture of me (and the others) on Facebook. She said I wasn't tagged in the picture, but I figure between that and the fact that the picture went out in our school newsletter last week, it is fair game.
"Rydell Staff"
On Saturday morning, I gave my students a mock AP Chemistry exam (I of course only gave this to the students in AP Chemistry) and then in the afternoon I went to see the musical Grease. I was rather tired since the play started at 2 pm and I had arrived at school at 8:40 am (on a Saturday after of course working a full week) so I wasn't sure I really wanted to be there. However, the performances were limited to 100 each and I already had a ticket so I didn't want to not go and leave an empty spot, so I went. I am glad I did. It was the most interesting play I have ever been to.
The audience came in and sat down in chairs to wait for the performance to begin. Then Eugene and Patty (I will refer to everyone by their character names here) came and welcomed the audience to their first day of school. They let us know that the day would be interactive and told us to come on. So we followed Eugene through the halls. As we were walking down the hall we started to see cast members hanging out and then all of the sudden the started the first song moving up and down the hall with us as we proceeded towards the back patio.
On the back patio

We don't have a cheerleading team. I was impressed by
the routines they learned.
On the back patio, we were directed to seats which included some among the cast members who then interacted with us. The band was set up back there and the first scenes played out on the patio before we moved to the gym. From the gym, we went to the front parking lot, but we went along the back fence and characters were hanging out pretending to smoke and so forth. After the parking lot was the intermission. There were popcorn and candy grams available. Then we went into the performing arts space for the prom scene. Here the cast members pulled audience members up to dance with them. Being a teacher at the school, I had one student pull me up to dance with her, then another cut in and I danced with him. After that, I sat down, but it wasn't long before another student was asking me to dance. They made small talk as we danced in character, which I thought was pretty cool. The play continued in the parking lot again where they even had a carnival set up with real games and a dunk tank (they had wanted teachers in the dunk tank, but I don't think many volunteered. During the performance I went to it was a student in the dunk tank).
There's both a train track and a metro track right behind here
(you can see the metro track in the picture). Unfortunately, a train went
 by during one of the outside scenes making it difficult to hear for a while.

While there were some issues, especially with the costumes (during the prom scene, for example, the students tried to have appropriate dresses, but many of them were simply too short and/or had way too much back exposed) and the sound (imagine trying to do tech for a play that not only moves throughout the entire building and two outdoor spaces, but also involves wind - the wind knocked over some of the equipment at least once), but it was the most unique and engaging play I have ever been too.

Friday, April 1, 2016

When life gives you lemons...

When life gives your lemons... you watch hockey. Okay, Okay, I know that's not how the saying goes. A couple of week's ago one of my students excitedly found me at school and told me he was going to Alaska for a hockey tournament (he is on the same team as 3 other students of mine). I asked him for details, and while he didn't know a lot of the details he knew the dates of the tournament and I realized that while I would be in Alaska during the tournament, I would be in Nome. I told him it was too bad that I couldn't be there, but I already had tickets to Nome.
After my flight to Nome was canceled for a second time thanks to Mt. Pavlof, I decided it would be better to cancel my trip altogether. Tuesday's morning and afternoon flights were both canceled and I was rescheduled for Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, this flight would put me into Nome basically three days later than I planned. With the danger of the eruptions continuing and my having to be back at work in Los Angeles on Monday, I thought it was a better idea to just cancel altogether (Alaska refunded me the Nome portion of my plane fare). Of course, this meant I now was in Anchorage during the hockey tournament, but I didn't know anything about it. Google to the rescue. I found out the National 14U hockey championships were in Anchorage. I didn't know which team my students played for, but there was only one Los Angeles team on the schedule - LA jr Kings. So I went to the game today.
Not sure why I thought I should take a picture of the welcome to Anchorage sign. I've never in my life been able to truthfully say I've never been to Anchorage.

I quickly figured out which players were my students (with all that gear on it's not as easy as it might seem), but the first period was really sad. Thankfully the second period was better and in the third period, they tied the score at 1-1. Regulation time ended with a tied score and so the game went into a five-minute overtime. After overtime, the score was still tied so the game went to a best of five shoot-out. The first player from the LA jr Kings to shoot was my student and he score a great goal. They won during the shoot-out. It was great fun to watch my students win the game!
After the game, I wanted to see them (among other things so that they would know that I had come) so I went down to the area where they would come out when they left the locker room to wait. As I was waiting I overheard comments at the table run by the Anchorage visitors' center. Being me I chimed into a conversation about Alyeska (a ski resort in Girdwood). The hockey mom in the conversation mentioned the time of her children's game tomorrow and I realized she must be a Kings' mom. I told her who I was and she was super excited. It was kind of funny of the four students (2 are twins) I had only met 1 of the 6 parents (although I had emailed with some of the others). She introduced me to the parents, including one who was one of the coaches. They were all really excited that I was there (not to mentioned puzzled). After explaining that I was from Alaska and what happened with my trip to Nome one of the mom's commented that her son had told her about a teacher from Alaska. I replied, "that's me."
They took pictures of me with the boys and I had them use my phone too, but I'm not going to post that picture on here because it too clearly identifies my students.
I also met with one of my friends from Nome today as she was going through Anchorage on her way to Nome. Thus, while I was sad my trip to Nome didn't work out I have had some good times and neat opportunities (after all it's not every day a teacher in California watches her students play hockey in Alaska).
It's rather difficult to take a clear photo with the speed at which they move.

Preparing to shoot - that's my student

Celebrating after they won!