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My friend, Sarah Kirkpatrick, introduced me to, and I absolutely fell in love.  A site devoted to making others feel better through anonymous “love letters” is right up my writing alley.
Deciding to test the waters on my writing class with this site, the results far exceeded my expectations.  My students were asked to visit the site, read through the request for love letters, and chooose to respond to the one need which spoke to him/her.
What ensued was a healthy pile of heartfelt writing;  tears flowed when I read through their letters.  Told to be creative with font, color, etc., one student thought outside the box by including humorous pictures in his letter for Brooks.

Dear Brooks,
I heard about the things that you have gone through and just wanted to say that you are one brave little guy. What you’ve gone through is definitely tougher than anything I’ve experienced. Your friends and family must be very proud of how tough you’ve been throughout your rough times.
Your determination and bravery can be a huge inspiration to everyone around you and to all of those (like myself) that hear about your story. In the future, whenever I am going through something tough, I’ll think of Brooks and how brave he was to get through what he experienced.
Anyway, I found your story really inspiring and hope you have a GREAT DAY!!!
        Here’s some pictures that make me laugh. (Hope you like dogs)

Teaching Compare/Contrast with The Little Mermaid

A good friend of mine, Sarah Kirkpatrick, invited my squirts and me to see a production of The Little Mermaid at Metcalf Theater located on the SIUE campus.  Directed by Johanna Beck, a 2012 graduate of SIUE in Theater Education, this production mesmerized my kiddos.  A modern take on The Little Mermaid, costumes consisted of colored jeans and brightly colored tank tops for Ariel and her sisters.  Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula’s hench-eels slithered around the stage on scooters wrapped in lights.  A ten-minute intermission occurred between Beluga Sevruga and Les Poissons with an opportunity to purchase fundraiser cupcakes, but they were sold out by the time Sarah and the squirts approached the line (bummah!).  During the performance, Sebastian surprised the squirts by running and hiding between the rows of seats in the audience.  On the way home, excited chatter asked when we could see this show again.

As luck would have it, talking with a friend at church, Carolyn Biagi, she told me about Hard Road Theater located in Highland, IL.  When I visited their website, I was pleasantly surprised to see their next production was of The Little Mermaid Jr.  Kismet!  I ordered the online tickets, and we headed to The Kennel at Highland High School on the second performance evening.  Directed by Gentry Nessel, this performance, too, took on modern elements intertwined with traditional costumes.  Ariel, Flounder, the Princesses, Flotsam, and Jetsam all swam with the use of shoes with wheels.  The overall age of the performers was much younger than those in the SIUE production, but the caliber of the performance was the same, phenomenal.  My daughters sat on the edge of their seats throughout the 21 scenes.  The fact that there was no intermission was not missed as a concession stand was available prior to the opening scene complete with beverages, popcorn, and snacks.  

The ride home consisted of discussion of the comparison of the two productions.  They were unable to pick a favorite as both showings rocked.  We look forward to another lesson in compare/contrast with use of theater.  In fact, I was able to sniff out an upcoming dance performance of The Wizard of Oz coming in January, performed by Dance St. Louis.