Lights! Camera! Action! Respect... ….and get ready for Performance & Media Arts (PMA)

We have been busy navigating between exciting mobile activities like improv and warm-up games and more mellow activities like learning software and having great discussions in table groups and in whole-class shareouts.  PMA is lighting up foundations and moving towards big projects like 5th Grade Comic-Con, 6th Grade Avatar Projects, 7th Grade Photography Unity, and 8th Grade Podcasting.

We have been busy in Performance and Media Arts (PMA) in 5th grade we are starting to prepare for Comic-Con Culmination with PMA and Core Classes by reading “El Deafo” and investigating relationships and turning our various vulnerabilities into our super strengths.  This will lay a foundation for students to take their ideas and values and develop a Super Hero, Super Shero, or Super person that embodie4ns those traits.

In 6th grade, we are training up for the Avatar Project, which will be launching in Art and PMA as a collaboration.  They will develop Avatar masks that showcase their values in Art and use them in PMA.  Currently, we are learning to make action words and phrase physical and finished learning the basic elements of performance from facial expression and levels/depths to “cheating out” to always face your audience. Finally, they are focusing on creating ideas and making them into costumes.  This is great practice as we continue to build upon ideas of the embodiment of our individual and collective values and creating masks that we can move, play, and create in.

For 7th Grade, we have traversed the outer elements to start our Photography Unit.  PMA is only a once-a-week class, so we do our best to get in as many shots as possible.  We have learned the difference between AutoFocus (AF) and Manual Focus (MF) so that we can use the zoom ring and the focus ring to get in close and frame a shot.  Students have aimed their cameras high into the air and gotten low to the ground to see the details in the world that are often not seen.  They are making great choices and keeping equipment safe and are excited to move on to new camera challenges.

Of course, all grade-level projects lead to 8th Grade movie making, and 8th graders this year are making their way towards their Final Class Movie by learning more foundational elements, especially audio engineering and the power of storytelling through podcasting.  This focuses on audio recording and audio editing.  We are using WeVideo, so students have access to recording and audio editing at home, including their future family interviews.  This week we did a low-stakes peer interview and learned about Great Questions to ask & Effective Interviewing skills to support that effort.   They are also learning how to use Zoom H4n Portable Recorders with all the XLR cords and microphones.  They have learned about movie follies and worked in groups to create some awesome sounds with these awesome recorders.  Thus far, they have learned about StorySlams from The Moth Radio Hour Podcasts and we will learn about KUOW RadioActive family stories, so they can hear and respond to great stories by media makers who are youth as well as choose the type of podcast they would like to create.    
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.