Estimated Time: 75 minutes
This lesson invites students to investigate financial responsibility in their own lives by examining their wants versus needs, their earning potential and their place in the financial hierarchy of their homes. They will use drama strategies such as role play with secret information, reflecting in role through inner and outer circle and writing in role to critically assess their roles and responsibilities in their family unit when the primary breadwinner loses their income.
A Note on Safety: It is important when exploring topics of a sensitive nature (such as financial hardship) to know your students and establish a safe environment for learning. Be aware that some students may be experiencing these issues in their real life. Avoid forcing personal disclosures and establish distancing techniques to establish safety in role (the right to pass, the freedom to choose characters and scenarios that are comfortable for them to explore).
Connections to Financial Literacy
B. Reflecting, Responding and Analyzing
B3. Connections Beyond the Classroom
- B3.3: identify connections between their learning in drama and possible employment opportunities in the broader educational and arts sector
A. Creating and Presenting
A1. The Creative Process
- A1.2: select and use appropriate forms to suit specific purposes in drama works
- A1.3: use role play to explore, develop, and represent themes, ideas, characters, feelings, and beliefs in producing drama work
- A1.2: select and use appropriate forms to present identified issues from a variety of perspectives
- A1.3: use role play and characterization to explore personal and social issues
A2. Elements and Conventions
- A2.2: use a variety of conventions to develop character and shape the action in ensemble drama presentations
- A2.2: use a variety of conventions to create a distinct voice that reflects a particular global, social, or personal perspective
A3. Presentation Techniques and Technologies
- A3.2: use a variety of expressive voice and movement techniques to support the depiction of character
- A3.2: use a variety of voice and movement techniques to support the creation of character or atmosphere during rehearsal
B. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing
B1. The Critical Analysis Process
- B1.1: use the critical analysis process before and during drama projects to identify and assess individual roles and responsibilities in producing drama works
- B2.2: explain how dramatic exploration can contribute to personal growth and self-understanding
- B1.1: use the critical analysis process before and during drama projects to identify and assess individual and peer roles and responsibilities in producing drama works
B3. Connections Beyond the Classroom
- B3.2: identify specific social skills and personal characteristics they have acquired or strengthened through drama work that can help them succeed in other areas of life
- B3.2: identify skills they have developed through drama activities and explain how they can be useful in work and other social contexts
C1. Concepts and Terminology
- C1.1: identify the drama forms, elements, conventions, and techniques used in their own and others’ drama works, and explain how the various components are used or can be used to achieve specific purposes or effects
- C1.1: identify the drama forms, elements, conventions, and techniques used in their own and others’ drama works, and explain how the various components are used, or can be used, to achieve specific effects, with a focus on ensemble drama works
C2. Responsible Practices
- C3.1: identify and follow safe and ethical practices in drama activities
- C3.2: identify and apply the skills and attitudes needed to perform various tasks and responsibilities in producing drama works
- C3.1: identify and follow safe and ethical practices in drama activities
At the end of this lesson, students will:
- identify key drama skills developed through role play, improvisation and writing
- use critical analysis skills to solve a problem presented in drama
- recognize the financial supports in their lives, and explore the hypothetical reality of having those supports removed
- examine their personal relationship to money, and their financial responsibility to themselves and others
- make responsible decisions about wants versus needs
Instructional Components and Context
Students are encouraged to have previous experience working collaboratively in a safe and supportive classroom environment. They should be familiar with financial terminology such as income, earnings, saving, spending, investment, budgeting, severance, credit, risk and insurance. This lesson will provide the personal lens for lesson two where students will examine the ripple effect of a financial crisis outside the circle and safety of their own homes.
Inner and outer circle
Teacher in role
Writing in role
Whole class/Pairs > Anticipation Guide
Explain to students that this is not a test with right or wrong answers but an opportunity to explore and express their ideas and opinions. Hand out copies of BLM #1 Anticipation Guide to each student. Invite students to read the handout silently, agree or disagree with each statement and then complete the guide.
Instruct students to choose one statement that they strongly agree with and share with a partner. Students must also explain why they so strongly agree. Now ask students to choose one statement that they strongly disagree with and share with a new partner. Again, instruct students to explain reasons for their choice. Direct students to choose one statement they are uncertain of or have questions about and share with a new partner.
Invite the students to survey the class to discover the overall collective responses to the first and last statements (i.e, the total number of students that agree and disagree with each statement.) Ask students what they can learn from this group analysis. Collect the completed guides so you can hand them back at the end of the drama and ask students if, with this new knowledge gained from the lesson, they might now change their responses.
Encourage the class to consider and share what they think the drama will be about if this guide is a way to introduce the work. Record their answers on chart paper and post in the room and return to their predictions following the drama lessons.
Connections: Refer to this anchor chart throughout the lessons to revise and synthesize thinking.
Differentiation: Instead of using BLM #1 Anticipation Guide, students can be given questions orally. If available, use a SmartBoard or similar technology and create an online survey, making sure that individual student responses are tracked for future reflection. This is an effective tool for creating a visual representation of the results that can be recalled when needed throughout the lesson.
Assessment for learning: This activity will activate prior knowledge and allow students to think about their relationship with money before beginning the Action! part of the lesson. Student responses can be monitored by the teacher and may be helpful in forming groups later in the lesson. Ensure that the messages about money you are giving as feedback do not set a negative or discriminatory tone for the lesson.
Pairs > That’s Wonderful, But...
Invite students that they will need to work with a partner and form a circle. Instruct the first pair to sit facing each other in the centre of the circle created by the other students. Ask students to imagine that they are friends trying to decide on something to do together. Student A might say, “I will take you to a movie.” Student B could counter with, “That’s wonderful but I’ll take you shopping”. Student A responds, “That’s wonderful, but I’d prefer to go snowboarding”. Inform the students that an activity or destination cannot be used more than once. Allow time for students to practise a few rounds with their partner. Now advise students that they will continue playing the game, but this time, neither player has any money. As soon as one partner cannot think of an activity or place to go that does not cost anything, the game is over. Encourage students to switch partners and play again.
Debrief the activity by listing the places students can go without spending any money. Prompts: Are you surprised by the number of “free” activities? How many of these things have you done yourself? Would you consider taking a friend or date to these places? Why or why not? How hard was it to think of a popular activity that does not cost anything? What would have to happen to you to consider these places as realistic destinations?
Small Group > Secret Information/Role Play
Invite students to work in groups of 3 or 4. Describe the scenario to the students. Script: You are members of a family who are going about your daily routines at home. Inform students to choose roles and relationships within the family. Try groupings where there is at least one parent or care-giving adult, respecting the different configurations of “family”. Everyday activities might include sitting down to dinner, watching TV together, helping with homework or planning a vacation.
Allow possibilities for students to create their character considering the following prompts. Prompts: What are your likes and dislikes? What do you like to do in your spare time? Are you a good student? How do you interact with other family members? What is your role, both within your family, and outside with your peers? Does what you like affect how you look? What kind of relationship do you have with other family members?
Instruct two or three students to create the set for whatever activity the family has decided to do, while one of the remaining parents/care-givers is removed to receive some secret information. Give students in the role of parent/care-givers this information on cards or inform them away from their groups.
Script: You have just been informed that you will be losing your job in two weeks. You have worked for this company for 11 years and have had an exemplary employment history with them. There is a modest severance package, but the industry in general is downsizing and it will be hard to get another job in your field. How will this affect your family? How will you tell them? Can you ask them for help? Find a way to inform your family without losing your temper or sounding negative. Try to problem solve as a family after you tell them the situation.
Instruct the students to begin role-playing and building the scene and then inform the student with the secret information to enter the scene. Ask groups to continue role-playing until you signal them to freeze the scene at a specific point (e.g., child A may tell the parent that they will forego piano lessons until their situation improves; teenager B may show anger at having to give up his cellphone and the parent will have to work with the child to deal with this, etc.)
Whole Class > Inner and Outer Circle/Teacher in Role
Ask students to stay in role as either parent or child. Instruct the parents to form an inner circle facing in, with the students in role as family members in a circle behind their parents also facing in (but still in one large).
Using teacher in role, arrive in the role of a fellow worker who has also lost their job and question the parents. Prompts: How did your family react to the news? Did they offer any solutions? What are you most worried about at this point? How are you feeling based on their responses? Advise the students that only the students in the inner circle can speak. Students in the outer circle are only to listen.
Now, invite the family members to form the inner circle, and have the parents form the outer circle. Arrive in role as a family member and question your peers. Prompts: How will this news affect you? What are you most worried about? How do you think your parent feels? What are you willing to do for the family? Will you tell your friends?
- Invite students to use their improvisational scene and inner and outer circle reflections as material to write a structured scene that may then be rehearsed, revised and performed for the class.
Connections: Use this lesson as preparation for the lesson two where students move from their personal and family perspectives to one that includes global factors that cause income loss. Allow students to build empathy and understanding for the characters by stepping into a difficult family situation.
Differentiation: Debrief the lesson using a writing in role exercise instead of the inner and outer circle. Students can write in role of their choice of family member to reveal one impact of the breadwinner losing their job. For example: a student writing to her hockey coach explaining how she will feel when they can’t play this season, or a parent writing to another adult in the same situation sharing the impact on the family.
Assessment as learning: By debriefing the activity in this format, students gain the perspectives and ideas of their peers, which may impact their opinions in lesson two. It affords the opportunity to reflect deeply on the effect of their choices, both on themselves and the rest of their family. BLM #2 Group Skills Checklist can be used for self and peer reflection.
Assessment for learning: Provide students with descriptive feedback on their scenes after freezing. Allow students time to discuss the scene amongst themselves before moving into the inner and outer circle. Also give descriptive feedback if using a journal writing exercise.
Assessment of learning: Observe the scenes as they unfold and assess the students using BLM #4 Role Playing Checklist or the CODE resource Role Play Rubric. Focus on the student’s ability to remain in character and solve problems presented in the drama.
Individual > Exit Card
Ask students to complete an exit card, writing in role as either parent or child, reflecting on the above activity. Distribute copies of BLM #3 Exit Card. Prompts: What words of advice or comfort do you have for your family? What can you do to give them hope?
Connections: This exit card consolidates the learning from the Action! section of the lesson, and gives students an opportunity to put their thoughts in writing, while further exploring their character’s motivations.
Differentiation: Invite students to record their responses, using their character’s voice and speech patterns. An alternative to the exit card is the 3 -2-1 Countdown strategy where students list 3 important things they learned, ask 2 unanswered questions and state one way the activity connected to something they already knew. Ensure students have adequate time to plan and explore the issues raised in the drama.
Assessment of learning: The exit card can be evaluated using the CODE resource Writing in Role Rubric. Descriptive feedback should be given to assist the student in lesson two.