This year I had a GREAT idea!
Why don't I have 5th grade students sign up to be in "theater tech". The students in "theater tech" can meet after school as part of our grant funded after school program which provides both academic tutoring and enrichment.
It really was a great idea. My theater crew designed and created a beautiful backdrop. They created and organized all of the show props. They ran the sound for the show and created the program. What a great idea right? I was hoping that my 5th graders would be a good help and not extra work for me. I was not at all disappointed. They did good careful work, they cooperated and accomplished as much in one hour a week as I would have accomplished in 12 hours a week. The hardest part was making sure that I actually had enough work to keep them busy.
My theater crew created a truly beautiful backdrop and were so proud of their work that I couldn't wait to show it off. They decided to create buildings out of poster board so that we could fold up the pieces and easily store them without having to deal with them being in the way. Each week the buildings were taken out and the students would add details. Putting them away and getting them out caused them to be a little bit bent and roughed up, but I kept telling the students that no one would notice since the backdrop would be on the stage..... Little did I know how things would work out.....
I hung the backdrop on the very inhospitable wall made of cinder block and acoustic panels next to the stage. On the stage I have the option of using canvas, a track and hooks, or I can use butcher paper and a stapler. But on this wall..... I had to get super creative.
Originally, since our cafeteria has been recently painted, I thought about using fishing line and an upholstery needle to sew the backdrop pieces to the acoustic panels.... but I thought that would take too much time and I had to get out of town in a hurry.
3M hooks were the pricey but necessary hero of the day. Although 3M hooks and re-stick-able adhesive strips are a little steep, they are also reusable and you can find replacement strips for the hooks on amazon.com.
The day that we hung the backdrop, my co-teacher and tech crew did a whole bunch of problem solving and after an hour of guess work and figuring out, we knew what to do, but it was time for the kids to go home.
I was able to take what they had figured out and starting at 5:30, I was completely finished hanging everything by 7:00 even though I was working alone. The backdrop was hung on a Thursday evening, survived the breakfast trash line, a Thanksgiving feast, a really cold cafeteria, a really hot cafeteria and a weekend and I only had one sign fall down. Everything was ready for our Monday morning performance and didn't come down until Tuesday afternoon when we took it down. The backdrop took about 30 minutes to take down and I've got all of those hooks and strips for next years backdrop if I need them.
|Each building was attached to the wall by two 3M hooks. On the back of each building I built tape "hangers". A folded piece of tape held down by two other pieces of tape created "pockets" for the hooks to hang on to.|
The musical marquees and anything else that didn't have a piece of wall to hang on were attached to the backdrop with the clear adhesive strips and packing tape.
|A little worse for wear, but overall the end result was nice. Those were REALLY proud kiddos!|