This schedule has been created for an elementary school which has a music, art and physical education teacher willing to work on this project. The production will serve as a culminating event for the full teaching unit, and also as a culminating event for the end of the school year. Obviously the unit can be used at the time of year best suited to the participants, although it is planned that this unit will be implemented between September 1, 1990 and June 10, 1991. In a situation where the coordinator does not feel able to do the drama, it is hoped that the teachers will be prepared to do as much of it as possible, and if necessary, an “expert” can be brought in as a consultant.
: The Coordinator presents the project to the entire staff at a staff meeting. Special effort must be made to involve ancillary staff (Art, Music, Physical Education), as they may not come to staff meetings. This meeting is held to identify teachers, begin the process of collecting resources and to gain early commitment. If the entire staff is involved, meetings should always be held at a regular staff meeting to involve the Principal or school facilitator. The “tentative” unit dates are given: April 1-May 31. The “tentative” performance dates are given: June 3- whole group rehearsal, June 4-Dress Rehearsal, June 5-1:00 p.m. afternoon performance and a 6:30 p.m. evening performance. Effort should be made for staff to check all other schedules to determine if these dates conflict with any other school or classroom functions. Dates will be confirmed at the October staff meeting.
OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY
: Updates given at regular staff meetings. At the October meeting the dates for the Unit and Performances are confirmed. Resources for the study of the three cultures are continuously being identified. (See Bibliography) Methods for involving parents in the project are discussed. (Individual letters home with students, P.T.O., the School Newsletter, etc.) Coordinator talks with individual teachers to get ideas and hear concerns. Teachers understand that they will be responsible for parts of the production—not the entire thing.
Each room will work on their part(s) and only during the whole group rehearsal will everyone come together. This process allows the least amount of “disruption” to normal classroom routine, and allows the maximum number of students to benefit from performance. In January and February a separate date after school is set aside for all interested teachers to work on the script for the play. Room must be left for students to have input. Their ideas in the play will give them ownership! The sample script should serve as a guide—not as the final product!
: Update at staff meeting. Have all resources been identified? Have artists been contacted? If payment is necessary, has a funding source been identified or created? Is each participant comfortable with the direction and accomplishments to date? Although there will be ongoing updates at future staff meetings, separate meetings will now be held to address all of the needs and issues of this project.
: (45 minute meeting.) The entire schedule will be given to each participant for feedback. Discuss problems, resources, parent input, programs, video-taping, the sale of goods at the performance (possibly foods from the studied cultures), special invitations. An outline of the script is presented.
EIGHT WEEKS OF LESSONS: (APRIL 1-MAY 31)
: During the first week, introduce project to all students. Explain that each class will study a specific culture for eight weeks, and the study will culminate in a performance. The following teachers (listed alphabetically) will assume the roles listed:
: Assist with costume ideas, lead costume making workshops for teachers and/or students, assist with prop and scenery ideas, lead groups of students and/or teachers in the creation of props and scenery. (The idea of a teacher workshop would be for teachers to learn how to lead the activity with their students.) Mask making, interior of space ship, three environmental murals: Puerto Rico, Russia, Ghana. Create Adinkra cloth, common in Ghana. Make stamps of common symbols found in Ghana. (Chart available at Yale’s Dept. of African Studies.) Possibly lead students who are playing the aliens in the creation of “new” instruments for their culture.
: Find and create resources, teach content (see chart), teach 1-10 in the language of the culture (make an audio tape for students to listen to on their own), show audiovisuals, rehearse scene(s) to be performed, involve parents.
: Update script as it is changed; make copies of scripts for teachers; communicate with teachers, parents and principal; bring in visiting artists and find as many resources as possible; support teachers to make the project as positive as possible. (Remind teachers that the project should not be a “pull out” project, i.e. individual students will not be taken from classrooms for rehearsal. It is designed as a puzzle, all the students in each classroom being a self-contained puzzle piece which fits neatly into the whole picture.)
: Do at least eight Drama sessions with each class: Lead Games to assist students with basic drama skills (See Sample Lesson 1); Two sessions each to tell stories to students from each culture using Creative Drama to lead them towards the creation of a play (See Sample Lesson 2); one or two sessions on leading dance/movement instruction with each class (See Sample Lesson 3); lead fourth grade towards the creation of an alien culture (See Sample Lesson 5); one Drama session for each 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade on the creation of a new culture (See Sample Lesson 5); two sessions to develop a family scene and a market scene from each culture (See Sample Lesson 5); one session to go over the scene which will be presented in the final production. Extra sessions at discretion of teachers.
: Teach each class at least one song from the culture the students are studying. Expose students to music of each culture. (Music from Ghana available at Yale African Studies Center; Music from Puerto Rico available from the Bilingual/Foreign Language Department; Prokofieff’s
Peter and the Wolf
can be used as one example of music composed in Russia.) Create a new piece of music to play with the fourth grade alien culture. (They will have to make their own “new” instruments—possibly done by the Art or classroom teacher.)
: Advertise, assist with costumes, help create large pieces of scenery, two or three parents needed to assist classroom teachers with students in their classrooms the evening of the performance, video tape the production.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER
: (Go over three dances that have been taught to students in six classes.) If the P.E. teacher has a dance background, s/he can take the dance teaching responsibilities. Assist fourth grade with the creation of their own dance. Possibly teach games more common in other countries: soccer, cricket, etc.
: Notify parents of performances, arrange for schedule changes necessary in lunch, have chairs set up, announce the program at both performances.
: Demonstrate customs of one or more of the cultures studied.