Establishment of the plan of action is the beginning of our cycle of change. Students may decide to create an outdoor classroom, an improved lunch program or rally for bus assistants. These are a few the major issues that are raised annually in my classes. The key is to not to impose the value system of the adults onto the students. Free from the mandates and accountability teachers experience, young minds can often see both problems and solutions easier and with greater clarity than the adults in charge of their education. We as educators can become guides, offering our experience and knowledge of established political systems.
Weeks 5-6: Meeting the Political System
Meetings will be scheduled with the principal, school planning and management team, the mayors office and the board of education. At each meeting students will present their action plan and ask for support where and when needed. A well thought our action plan will take into account issues of funding, time and accountability. Comments and suggestions from each of the political organizations will assist the students as they edit or modify their original document.
During this period students will complete the work needed to achieve their cycle of change. It could include letter writing campaigns, physical labor, acquisition of supplies or rescheduling of instructional days. It may involve parents, community members or classmates. All this depends upon their action plan, and the specific needs of the individuals in a class.
Week 7: Playwriting and Marionettes
The writing process is employed as the teacher meets with each small group to develop plays for their marionettes. Assist the students as they organize themselves into small group of 4-6. Each group can write one act of a play that tells the story of the change they are effecting. Works in progress are presented to the whole class at share meeting. The students receive constructive criticism and suggestions. Instructional points are reviewed by the teacher for the whole class. The teacher also acts as a scribe and records information for later revisions. Upon completion of the play introduce marionette making to your students to create the characters needed to communicate their work. Students design and create scenery for the plays. Rehearsals begin and lines are memorized. Excitement mounts! A student made stage and props is used to augment the marionettes. Imagine.....what they have accomplished. (9)
Lesson: Birth of a Marionette
Time: Week 7
Intelligences: Logical/Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Body/Kinesthetic
Objective: Construction of a marionette
Marionette Background: The word originated in France during the Middle Ages. Marionettes used in religious plays called "Les Mysteres". These plays were performed in front of cathedrals. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a central character in many plays and the inspiration for their name, "Les Petites Maries" or "The Little Marys". Through the evolution of linguistics Marie transformed into Marion.
Marionette became little Mary. During the Renaissance the term marionette was given to stringed puppets in Italy. Today in the English language marionette means the same. In France however it means any figure in an animated show.
Materials: paper tubes, scrap wood, screw eyes, fishing line or thin string, beads, notions and tongue depressors. All materials can be recycled from student's homes or local businesses.
1. Attach the screw eyes to the wood scrap body.
2. Use a piece of cloth and glue to secure the paper tube head to the back of the wood body.
3. String beads for limbs and attach to the screw eyes.
4. Create a personality by adding hair, facial expression and clothes.
5. Tape or tie two tongue depressors in an X formation.
6. Thread the first string through the should screw eyes and tie it to the tongue depressor crossbars.
7. Attach the arms to the crossbar tongue depressor.
8. Go for a walk
Assessment: Student will walk their marionettes to meeting and introduce them to the group. The finished marionette will serve as the assessment.
Week 8: Murals
Small groups of students will use the work of Thomas Hart Benton (8) as inspiration to create original murals of our change process. They will choose key visual scenes to tell the school community of the change we wish to effect. Once completed they will be hung through out the school. Written explanations will be posted with each so all members of the school attain a greater understanding of our message. Murals allow for visual learners to communicate and understand concepts more fully.
Lesson: Spread the Vision
Intelligence's: Visual/Spatial, Logical/Mathematical, Interpersonal
Communication of an identified problem in the school.
Precut one piece of 8'x4' butcher block paper or canvas per group. A faux acrylic paint can be created by mixing four parts tempera paint to one part Elmer glue. The paint will adhere to the surface smoothly and you will avoid flaking paint. Colored chalk and a variety of brushes will also be used.
The size of the group generally should not exceed five students. Have each group discuss and draw a small version of their mural. They will need to identify the major figures they wish to paint and how these figures will convey their message. Once completed they can use the colored chalk to outline their mural onto the larger surface. If you have an overhead projector available it is exciting and fun to produce the image on the paper and have the students merely trace the original. The students now can use their faux acrylics to bring their mural to life.
Once the murals are dry each group must write an explanation of their mural for their display. The murals should be strategically placed for greatest exposure. Students should be encouraged to explain their work to friends and faculty alike. By engaging individuals in conversation surrounding their work they are spreading their message quickly and efficiently.
Assessment: the completed murals and written explanations will act as authentic assessment.