Tableau “Living Stories”
Students are given passage of a short story which is read aloud by a group leader. The story should have themes of identity. The group should have a few minutes to discuss the meaning of their passage before they create a scene that represents that passage. The scene should be still or “frozen” in action. The leader of the group will read the passage aloud while the other group members remain in their tableau. The students can then feel free to make remarks on their choices in representing the passage in the manner they did. After each group has shown their tableau, the class should have a strong understanding of the story. Instructor may choose to follow the activity with any of these discussion questions:
- How did your role within the tableau lend to the piece?
- What were the different representations of the main character?
- What different interpretations of the text did we see?
- How would you write an alternative ending to this chapter?
What is the Objective?
To give students the opportunity to interpret readings about identity, which can often be difficult, in an interpretive and low-risk setting.
ULLG: Cultural understanding and effective communication
CCSS: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Why is This Important?
This activity is a part of the Diversity in the Making workshop as part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. This workshop seeks to offer all students participating a chance to understand the uniqueness of their own and others’ Diversity. Students engage in an assortment of creative, collaborative projects, ranging across a variety of media to surface their commonly shared struggles, languages and cultural assets.
The workshop’s guiding question is:
How do we come to create together a classroom and a school climate where all of us matter and are valued equally?
What Do I Need?
Copies of a short story or passage of text.
This activity was created and run as a part of the Beyond Insights workshop series. The series, done in partnership with the Creative Exploratory at Michigan State University, brings 100 Lansing 6th graders to MSU’s campus one day a week for five weeks to encourage students to explore creativity, innovation, arts, and culture. The experience also encourages students to interact with the local university community and consider college as an option after high school. Students work with MSU Faculty, Creative Exploratory Fellows, the MSU Writing Center, and the MSU Center for Language Teaching Advancement in order to build a holistic understanding of creativity through design and communication, storytelling in writing and video, culture and identity, and digital media. All of the activities were created and run by preservice teachers and MSU faculty with the input of the students’ classroom teachers. More information about the workshop can be found at the link below.