Category: School Residencies

Posts relating to in-school residencies.

A new school… A new world!

Posted by Maggie on November 10, 2008

School Residencies

Six weeks ago we started at a new school.  Although this was the first time Dixie, Sam, Jen, Rachel, Brad and I had walked through the front doors armed with paper, markers and over 60 fresh Barrel of Monkeys Journals, it was a school we’d all seen many times.  Close to many of our homes, even in the same zip-code as some of our mail, right across from The Neo-Futurarium, the theater we’ve been running That’s Weird, Grandma in for over 5 years! 

Yes that’s right I’m talking about Trumbull School. The school stands four stories high with four architecturally historic wrought iron staircases that over 500 children scale and descend everyday with the sound of a bell.


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Before and After

Posted by Rachel on October 21, 2008

School Residencies

The Cleveland Team gathered for a marathon journal reading on Sunday night at Erick’s house. He made us some fish curry soup of his own invention, and it sustained us for the five hours it took to read the brilliant writing of 70 students. We read everything our students write, and it is a pleasure, but given our teachers’ busy schedules, finding a time when everyone can gather to read so many journals is a challenge. We have to do it all at one go

For the Cleveland residency, we had two volunteer teachers, Katie and Lupe, who have been indispensible. They used their Spanish speaking skills to help those of us who studied French in high school communicate. They volunteered their time and energy to meet for breakfast before each teaching day, to teach for six mornings when they could have been at other jobs, and most recently, to read and sign all our students’ journals. The children love them—I know because they wrote about it in their journals—and we love them too.

Here’s the intrepid Cleveland Team before our reading meeting:

See the After picture post-jump . . .


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Henderson, Y’all!

Posted by Chris on October 7, 2008

School Residencies

Hello, please.  Chris Mathews here, perennial newbie to the BoM crowd.  So, this session marks my first entrance into the BoM workshop teaching circuit.  As such, I have been nominated to be the Henderson Residency Blogger.  As I am new to this world and all that surrounds me in it, let me be your entry point into the story (I will be your Wolverine in X-Men, your young, unnecessary white guy in Hellboy, your Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October).  You will learn, as I learn, what volunteer teaching for the Barrelses of Monkeyses is all about and how to navigate its Russian Nuclear Sub infested waters with glee.  er….Henderson Elementary School.

But I am not afraid.  Nor should you be, as I’ve got some of the most seasoned and spirited BoM crusaders in the company to stand at my side, ushering me into games such as ‘impersonate a banana and peel yourself like one,’ ‘act like sleepy zombies and move your desk to the side of the room,’ and ‘how to respond when one of the students already knew I was clumsy because I have a “clumsy face”’ (a physiognomic truth I am familiar with, daily).  On the roster is MC Christina Anthony, BeardMaster Joe Schupbach, Czech Rani Waterman, the conservatively-adorned Molly Brennan, and Team Leader Dixie Belinda Uffelman, with a guest appearance by Elizabeth “not one of the students” Levy. 

Stay tuned for updates as I make my first steps amongst Our Future and teach them how to imagine that toys and pillows will grow from sewer holes if you dig them deep enough. 

Tasty and Tastier

Posted by Rachel on October 6, 2008

School Residencies

The first Monkey residencies of 2008-09 are well under way, and Cleveland School got a head start on everyone, starting way back on September 9th. We have two big fourth grade classes, and a faboo teaching team which includes Erick Deshaun Dorris, Sarah Garner, experienced volunteer teacher Katie, and brand new volunteer Lupe.

We’re into the groove of things with these kids, and they’re writing some brilliant stories.

The Cleveland School has produced some of my personal faves over the years, including the cheerleading classics: “Cheerleaders!” and “A Bad Day,” which is currently in Grandma. Why do I like them so much? Well, “Cheerleaders!” gave me the chance to play co-captain of a winning cheer squad, and in “A Bad Day,” two men have a cheer fight to the death over me. Yes, I’m using the children’s stories to live out my childhood dreams, and I make no apologies for it.

On dialogue day, we give students the opportunity to improvise scenes before they sit down and write. Then, at the end of class, we invite the students to share. They can choose to perform their own dialogues or have Monkey teachers act them out. It’s always tempting to plant ideas in the students’ heads of characters we Monkeys would love to play. But we resist.

Last week, the students created brilliant, stage-worthy characters all on their own. Don’t think I wasn’t secretly pleased when two girls chose myself and Katie to read their masterwork dialogue between two friends named Tasty and Tastier. We never know what’s going to make its way into the school show, but regardless, I can now mark “Play character named Tastier” off my list of things to do before I die.