Wednesday, April 3, 2024

House Colors

My second day of three weeks of guest teaching at Havergal College, an independent girl’s school in Toronto. It’s mission is “to prepare young women to make a difference and to take on an ever-changing world with confidence, resilience and global-mindedness.” I’m happy to report that having just taught a few classes of kindergarten through 5th grade, they are wildly succeeding!  I taught the classic kid’s game Boom Chick a Boom to three different 5th grade groups today as an introduction to the Jazz Unit I’m leading and told them that jazz wants them to show their most wacky, wild, weird expressive selves, not in an indulgent way, but inside the discipline of self-expression that requires, work, technique, knowledge and sincerity. Off we went and as they played with partners this game that asks for a different expression for each phrase of the text, I noticed that they were far beyond what I usually get in my adult workshops. Indeed, wacky, wild and weird in the best of all ways, making extravagant motions and super-expressive voices with unbridled joy and enthusiasm. I asked if anyone wanted to lead the whole group and their hands shot-up without a moment’s hesitation. And they were fantastic! Truth be told, so much better than me leading that activity! So check off “confidence” on that Mission Statement. 


Generally, all wear the same uniform, but today was “House Colors” day and each was dressed in their own individual and yes, somewhat wacky, style. The idea seemed to be to dress the same color as your house is painted. Really? It turns out to be a Canadian thing, perhaps coming from the British. I asked the girls how they felt different on this day and they talked about being more energetic, as if the sameness of the uniforms somehow drained their individual charisma.  Later I read online that one rational for House Colors Day is that “Colors can change moods, reduce/increase tensions, cause excitement and could give a soothing effect to exhausted minds.” So it seemed to be the perfect day to introduced Boom Chick a Boom! Though their teacher said they often have that much energy. We’ll see when we review it later this week. 


Meanwhile, the second day here in Toronto without the sun and today, raining all day. So yes, color and light do affect mood and I wouldn’t mind a little bit more of both in tomorrow’s weather forecast!

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