Co-curriculars are structured activities that take place before dinner almost every day. Most are athletic, like swimming or tennis. One of this week's more creative co-curricular options, puppet making, featured a group of young sewers of different abilities. Media Proctor Abby Shepherd chatted with the group.
Katie, the activities proctor who teaches puppet making, learned how to sew just a couple months ago. When her puppet making class wanted to hand sew their own puppets, she was glad she learned. About half of the students in her co-curricular group have prior sewing skills, but she's had to teach some of the others. While William Z. learned how to sew when he was six, Carolyn and Xander have both just learned from Katie. Even though she's the teacher, she's learning new skills from both the inexperienced and experienced students. "They're very innovative," she said, "and even though I taught them the basic steps, they learn from themselves more intricate techniques and then teach me."
|William Z. works on a castle for the group's modern twist on an old favorite: Snow White.|
For example, Peter showed her how to end stiches in a way that she believes is much better than she learned. Peter is from Beijing, and he learned to sew from his babysitter when he was four. He likes to sew "when he's bored," and is currently making a Snow White puppet. Most of Peter's classmates in Beijing know how to sew, but the girls know how to sew better than the boys, he said. Among his male friends, "some of them know how to sew, but I’m one of the only ones who does it well.” In Peter's community in China, he remarked, people are much more likely to mend their clothes than buy new ones.
Puppet making co-curricular isn't just about sewing. Keeping in theme with the Experimentory, there are interdisciplinary elements to what the students are doing. Katie and the students decided to use their puppets in a play to be performed at All X. After some deliberation, they decided on Snow White with a modern twist. Peter showed me the script that he was writing out in his notebook.
Hans is also using interdisciplinary methods in puppet making. He decided to take puppet making as a co-curricular because he needed to fix his light-up cape that he bought at Six Flags. He opened the seams of the patch that covered the lights, fixed the lights (Thanks Theatre + Electronics!), and sewed the patch back on all by himself.
The scheduled co-curricular activities with the proctors are a great opportunity for students to work together to form new skills and develop old ones. In puppet making, students cross different subjects (like playwrighting and sewing) and are able to collaborate with each other to create something outside of cluster time.