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EcoKids Report #20

Working on the Play March 27, 1999 

March 27 and April 3 we met at the GED room at the Dream Center. 

The development of the play was the most difficult element of my work with the EcoKids. I'm sure that part of the difficulty was my relative inexperience in teaching drama although I had successfully directed Down in the Dumps a play that toured over 20 locations. That was with younger kids. We went over the play as it was developed at that time. I attempted to include the kids in the creation of the play but they made few suggestions and appeared bored.

We learned songs that could be included. One was from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, "It's a Beautiful Day". I wrote the words for a song, "It's All About Connection" to the tune of "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones". Here we are practicing getting the rhythm of the rap. 

Weekday Studio hours were announced. See EcoKids Studio Opens. It is open for nine and a half hours, after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We planted a demonstration square foot garden outside the studio using plant seedlings that we had grown.

EcoKid attendance at the studio is intermittent. When they do come their motivation is social and not to work on the play. They require much more supervision than I can offer. One young man meets his girlfriend at the studio and tries to sneak off to be alone with her. When they come, I can't work because I need to keep an eye on them.

When working in the studio with several kids who have low motivation or inability to discipline themselves sufficiently, additional volunteers are essential. When you stop to help one kid, a lot of concentration is required to get them engaged again. When I'm focusing with one, two or three others are acting out.

Despite announcements in the neighborhood newsletter, neighborhood volunteers are not coming to help. This leads to frustration and a less than cheerful program director. I'm beginning to see that the EcoKids and I will not be able to complete the play, the scenery and the rehearsals without lots of help. So I am reaching out to friends and relatives who do not live in the neighborhood. 

Thanks to volunteers Joel Kraft and Ellie Dawson. 

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