Estimated Time: 75 minutes
This lesson invites students to investigate financial responsibility in the broader context of their community and the world. They will use drama strategies such as role play, writing in role, monologues and conducting voices to critically assess their roles and responsibilities in their families, community and the world when a financial crisis occurs.
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
Creating and Presenting
A1. The Creative Process
- A1.1: use a variety of print and non-print sources to generate and focus ideas for drama activities and presentations
- A1.3: use role play to explore, develop, and represent themes, ideas, characters, feelings, and beliefs in producing drama works
- A1.1: develop interpretations of issues from contemporary or historical sources as the basis for drama
- 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 skills developed through role play and writing in role
- use critical analysis skills to solve a problem presented in drama
- transfer the learning and insights gained in the fictional drama to the real world
- recognize the financial connections between themselves and their community
- assess the impact of financial crisis on their own and others’ lives
- analyse options, and explore multiple perspectives on solving a problem through drama
Instructional Components and Context
Students are encouraged to have previous experience working collaboratively in a safe and supportive classroom environment. Students can refer to the skills (role-play, writing in role) practised in lesson one. Students may need opportunities to review effective on-line searches and using the internet respectfully. In this lesson, students will explore a current event that has an effect on the financial stability of the student and their community at large. They will build on the personal effect of a financial loss from lesson one by investigating both the causes, and the ripple effects of a financial crisis beyond themselves, through their community and the world.
Writing in role
Chart paper and markers
Large venn diagram
BLM #1 Anticipation Guide from lesson one
BLM #5 CUPW Article on Toronto Postal Strike
BLM #6 Prepared Improvisation Checklist
Small Group/Whole Class > I Am a Tree
Organize students in groups of four or five. Choose one group to demonstrate. Begin by asking one student to create a still physical image of a tree and reciting the line “I am a tree!”. One of the other members of the group enters the scene, physically adding on to the tree in some way (e.g., a leaf) and stating it, “I am a leaf.” A third person adds on to the scene (e.g., a caterpillar) and says, “I am a caterpillar.” The tree then decides whether he or she will keep the leaf or the caterpillar. The activity continues with the group members adding on one at a time. Each time the context can change. The person who began the image is always the one who makes the decision about which item(s) they will keep, once a three-figure tableau has been created. Encourage students to be as spontaneous as possible when developing the tableau. The game continues for five to ten minutes. The game may also be played with the whole class working together in a circle.
Ask the class to reflect on the tableau(x) presented. Prompts: How did you feel when you were asked to enter the tableau? How did you feel when asked to leave? Did you find it easy to make connections to others in the scene? What are your strengths when creating tableaux? Which activity did you prefer, the small group or whole class tableau? Why?
Connections: This activity will prepare students for the culminating task for this lesson where students are asked to show the interconnectedness of a community during a financial crisis. In this situation and similar to the game, students will identify themselves in the first person. The game can be used as an introduction to any unit focusing on connections and interdependence.
Differentiation: Provide additional prompts to students who may need them. Model how to connect to the tree, and give examples of how to get started. Allow students the right to pass for the first round to observe and feel comfortable with the task. Put prompts on cue cards. Encourage students that there is not a right answer or choice. Items can be connected from the unique perspectives of individuals.
Assessment for learning: This activity allows students to feel comfortable with each other and will inform the teacher to students who have difficulty taking risks or coming up with a connection. Teacher feedback should be given throughout the exercise to prepare students for the Action! section of this lesson.
Whole Class > Reviewing the Anticipation Guide
Invite the students to review BLM #1 Anticipation Guide from lesson one. Prompts: Do you still feel the same about the statements in your anticipation guide? Which, if any, have changed for you? Has your personal relationship with money changed? Did losing your family income have an effect outside of your home? What effect? How far does the effect ripple away from you as the centre?
Invite the class to walk around the room while music is playing. When the music stops, allow students to discuss one of the prompting questions with someone beside them. Begin playing the music again, only this time when the music stops ask students to discuss another prompting question with a new partner. Repeat as with the first two steps. Finally, instruct students to discuss the last statement on the anticipation chart with a new partner when the music stops for one last time.
Allow time for students to brainstorm other outside factors that could have an impact on the financial security of a family. If the students do not raise the issue of strikes, suggest it to the group. Encourage students to share what they know about strikes and any experiences they might have had with family members or friends on strike.
Whole Class > Shared Reading/Reflecting
Provide students with a copy of BLM #5 CUPW Article on Toronto Postal Strike or visit the hyperlink related to the Strike. Invite students to read the article silently and then together. Provide time for a discussion and questions with students about the article. Ensure that students understand the difference between the terms “strike” and “rotating strikes”.
Key Questions for Discussion:
What lines in the article do you connect to?
What is the issue on both sides of the argument?
Who are postal workers?
What kind of person does this job?
Who is affected in the strike?
How do these actions affect you personally?
What are the financial ramifications of the strike on individuals? On households? On the community? On the world?
What is meant by “hardship”?
How long will the workers be on strike?
Do they get paid during the lockout?
Are they protected against financial hardship during the strike?
What are some changes the workers will have to make to make ends meet?
Individual > Whole Group > Creating and Conducting Voices
Invite students to take on the role of a postal worker on strike. Instruct students to choose the age and gender of the person, and their family relationships and situation. Prompts: Who are you? Do you have a family? Are you married/divorced/single? Do you own a home? What do you need in order to take care of your family? How are you affected by the strike? Remind students to refer to the characters from the previous lesson.
Invite students to write a brief monologue that will reveal the inner thoughts of their character, and tell the audience what will happen to them and their family during the strike from a financial perspective. Provide the following sentence starters: When I found out we were going on strike, I..., I am worried about…, I hope…, If the strike lasts a few weeks.., I wish...
Ask students to share their monologue with a partner. Invite students to respond to the partner’s work by considering the following. Prompts: Does the voice sound and feel realistic and believable? Would it be stronger if the order of the lines was changed? Do you think the monologues needs more information to help you understand the situation? Do you feel empathy for this character? Why? Encourage students to use the feedback to revise the monologue if needed. Advise students to work together to select and underline/highlight the most powerful line or short phrase in their writing.
Instruct half of the students to role play the postal worker and assume a variety of positions or poses and then choose one to freeze. Script: In 5 seconds, create a position that I would see you in at work as a postal worker; In 5 seconds create a position that reflects your immediate response to “strike”; In 5 seconds create a pose that shows how you are feeling as the strike continues; In 5 seconds choose one pose that reflects your feelings in the line you have chosen and freeze, etc.
Instruct the remaining half of the students to form a circle around the performers. Inform the performers that when you tap them on the shoulder they are to unfreeze and deliver their highlighted line. When finished, the student returns to his/her original frozen pose and another student is tapped. Let the students know that the conductor can return to the same student multiple times and sometimes voices might overlap. Remind students to use the same pace, tone and inflection when delivering their lines, regardless of how many times they are tapped. Switch audience and performers and repeat the activity.
Prompts: Does a single line have an impact? What is the effect of multiple voices sharing the same issues? Explain which lines were most powerful for you. How did you feel about being on strike? Do you feel that the public understands what you are going through? Do they care? Which voices are not being heard in this activity?
Invite students to peer-assess the activity in an appreciation circle. Ask all students to stand in a circle. Explain that one student walks across the circle to a student they wish to appreciate. They must make eye contact and say, “Today I really liked/appreciated/was surprised by/...” and tells that person what they did well. That student now crosses the circle and does the same thing with another peer. Continue until all students have crossed the circle at least once.
Whole Class > The Ripple Effect
Invite the students to form a single line across the classroom. Tell the first student in line to step forward and say, “I am a postal worker.” Ask the student next in line to connect to the first student (i.e. hand on shoulder, holding hands, etc.) and become a person (not an object) who is connected to the postal worker (e.g., “I am the worker’s son”). Ask the next student to connect to the son (e.g., “I am the friend who goes to camp with the son”). Then instruct the next student to find a role that connects to the friend or the camp and continue down the line. Remind students to focus on financial connections (e.g., the next person could note the loss of income when kids no longer have the money to come to camp, etc). The activity continues until all students have stepped forward and made a connection.
Invite students to reflect on the activity. Prompts: How many steps away was the last person in line from the first? Does there seem to be any connection between the first and last person, without all the students in between? What surprised you about any of the connections? Has your thinking changed about the effects of financial events such as a strike on a community? Who is ultimately affected by these events?
Connections: Connect this lesson with any community or global event that affects the financial security of the people. Using current/local events will tie in with the History curriculum and make the drama relevant to the student. This lesson might also be used as part of a larger unit on Media Literacy, examining multiple pieces of text written about the same event from multiple perspectives. This lesson could also be extended to become a much larger unit, with students researching a current event and performing more fully detailed monologues about the effect of the crisis.
Differentiation: Provide additional time for students to review their anticipation guide individually and make any changes. They can resubmit the guide with an attachment explaining their revised thinking. Allow students to have access to the internet to investigate aspects of the strike that might be unknown to them. Provide graphic organizers to record details of their character, or research if needed. For the Conducting Voices activity, students could arrange themselves in small groups, work collaboratively to set up a tableau, and then step out of the scene to deliver their lines. The Ripple Effect Strategy could also be implemented in small groups or in a whole group with students volunteering one after the other instead of being in a line. For some students this will give them more time to consider how to contribute to the whole piece.
Assessment as learning: The Minds On allows students to reflect on their own answers in the anticipation guide and allows them to hear and reflect upon the answers of their peers. Through this process, students can broaden their understanding of personal decision-making about finances. The Ripple Effect can be assessed through the questioning and debriefing at the end of the activity.
Assessment for learning: The Appreciation Circle asks students to assess the work of their peers, while better understanding what they can do to improve their own work.
Whole Class > Bringing Hope
Invite students to repeat the Ripple Effect activity, but this time, alter their connection to include some words of hope. Advise students that the drama can move in a new direction and they can make new connections to bring hope or change to the situation.
Ask students to remember and think about the connection they created to the person beside them in the previous Ripple Activity. Challenge students to consider and plan how they might add hope to the situation, how they might intervene to help the member of the community in distress, on strike, etc. (e.g. I am the friend of the worker’s son and I am going to go with my parent to walk the picket line together...) Prompts: As a student, do you have any say in what happens during a financial crisis? How hard was it to find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation? Does cause and effect work in positive ways as well as negative? Do you feel empowered to take control in a financial emergency? What can you do to help at the community/global level?
Now ask students to repeat the Ripple Effect in the same order with their new plan. Invite students to reflect on the activity. Prompts: How did you feel after this version of the Ripple Effect activity? Which version do you think was more realistic? Why? Is it possible to intervene as a community? Does this remind you of any situations in your community or in the world?
Invite the students to think about and share other real world situations that they might be reminded of through this drama. Encourage students to use their own work, and the work of others, to write a short “action plan” that will describe what can be done in any of these situations or times of financial crisis by themselves and by the community at large (e.g., hold a fundraiser dance; start a trust fund; etc). This plan may be performed as a “pledge” by a small group of students or can be a choral speaking piece where students decide how to use their voices to convey meaning. Assess the writing using a checklist or rubric, focusing on the relevance of the solution to the issue and the presentation using the CODE resource Performance Skills Rubric. Invite students to return to their brief monologue and extend it into a longer piece by adding details from the activities in this lesson, and words of hope or comfort. Assess the longer monologues using the CODE resource Monologue Performance Rubric.
Connections: Use this activity with any current or global event that triggers a financial crisis, that offers a situation where students can bring about real change. Encourage students to look at agencies they can support or fundraise for in order to bring hope to people suffering financial setbacks (e.g., Canadian Red Cross, Oxfam, Helping Hands for Japan, etc). In a drama classroom this lesson could also begin a larger unit on creating and performing monologues.
Differentiation: Consolidate the learning from this lesson by having students research a local event, noting what caused the event and the effect it had on the community. Present the research by writing in role or in the form of a T.V newscast, focusing on how the community overcame the negative effects of the event.
Assessment for learning: Ask questions to debrief the activity, giving students time to talk with each other to consolidate learning and formulate new questions.
Assessment of learning: Use BLM #6 Prepared Improvisation Checklist to evaluate this activity.