Students will consider what makes them the iGen by reviewing data and responding to quotations from fellow iGen’ers taken from the book American Girls. They will use this information to develop the next beat of their Riverstory. This lesson should take approximately two 90-minute class periods.
- Who are the iGen?
- Why is it important to understand the qualities of the generation you are born into?
- How does social media impact our identities in regards to self-esteem and confidence?
- How do the answers to these questions impact the way you engage in theatre exercises?
Activity 1: Students will interpret data from various charts from Jean Twenge’s book iGen in order to create a character profile of a typical member of the iGen. The following charts will be used:
- Times per week teenagers go out without their parents
- Percentage of 12th graders who drive
- Percentage of teenagers who go out on dates
- Percentage of teenagers who feel lonely
- Percentage of 12th graders with money from jobs or allowance
- Percentage of 8th and 10th graders whose parents always know where they are and whom they are with when they go out at night
Consider the story being told through the charts. What are you learning about your generation based on this data? What excites about what you have learned? Concerns you? How do you think this information shapes the way you think about yourself? Your relationship with your phone? Based on your interpretations create a character biography for an iGen.
Activity 2: Students will comment on various quotes from the book American Girls using the Chalk Talk strategy.
- “Everyone posted about me, You’re a terrible person, stay away from my friends. People commented that they don’t like me. It was completely humiliating.”49
- “All girls think about is trying to look hot.”50
- “As the girls began to talk about girls ‘trying to look hot,’ their words came tumbling out, as if they couldn’t say them fast enough; they talked over one another, interrupting one another, their faces becoming urgent and intense.”51
- “And because of social media you can edit yourself, like how you want to be, with Photoshop and apps,” Maggie said. “Like I want to be like her, I’m gonna make myself look like her.”52
- “I think the parents literally need to knock some sense into their kids and watch what their kids are doing,” Julie said, “ ‘cause I feel like a lot of kids are sneaking it behind their parents’ backs.” “They don’t want their parents to know what’s really going on,” said Cassy, “’cause they’re afraid they’ll take away their phones.”53
- “But she’s my friend, so I’m going to stick by her. With social media it’s really hard to know who your true friends are, and this is how you know, how someone treats you when everyone hates you.”54
- “I’m so excited to be talking about this, because we never talk about social media, we just live on it,” Melinda said.55
- “Probably more stuff happens on my phone than in real life.”56
- “All we talk about all day is what’s happening on our phones, but we never talk about how weird that is,” Sophie said.57
- “It’s like a lot of pressure to be allowed to make your own decisions, you know? And we’re just kids, and we don’t always know what’s the right thing to do.”58
Activity 3: Adding to the Riverstory (Six Words): After interpreting the data charts and anecdotes, create a six-word phrase or list of words that tells the story of your generation. Give this piece a title and create a sound and movement that tells this story.