Silent Scenes with ProseFirst, a Shakespeare Set Free strategy called "Silent Scenes." I used this on the first day of school to get kids comfortable in my class. This week, I used them to get in some higher level reading and what we call "sneaky close reading." I used the short story, Eleven by Sandra Cisneros for my lesson.
We had already read Eleven using the Tolaydo method of reading through (read around until you reach a period, semicolon, or exclamation) and I also used the story to explain 6 different kinds of imagery for which they found examples (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and kinesthetic).
I put the students in groups of 5-6 and gave them instructions for Silent Scenes:
- Everyone must write a script.
- Go through the story and decide on the main events that happen.
- Figure out what can be shown to an audience and what cannot.
- Once you have established the main action, write your script using adjectives to describe how the action will be shown to the audience. Ex: Rachel pushes away sweater angrily.
- Cast your scene.
- You must use at LEAST one prop and have at LEAST one costume/hair change.
- You must begin and end in tableau.
- Run your scene. Make sure you do not have your back to the audience--cheat out. (I am working in theater/acting vocab as well)
Here are some pics of the exercise:
I was impressed that so many groups went all out on their props (I had birthday cakes in nearly every class, lots of pillows, red sweaters, eyeglasses for the teacher, and mustaches for the father). They were enthusiastic and great audience members.
I need to work on how they critique each other. While they were willing to say what they liked, they were terrified to say what could be added or what did not work. I also need to add in pauses next time; some groups went fast out of nervousness.
I also need to have an exemplar script (have one now). Some of the scripts were not detailed as they spent their time rehearsing and not writing first.
Exemplar Script (typed for group by Ericka H.):
Parents: *put birthday ribbon on Rachel and send her off to school*
Rachel: *arrives at school looking a bit upset*
Silvia: *already sitting in seat*
Mrs. Price: *takes out red sweater and goes around showing it to everyone to see whose it is*
Everyone: *shake head no*
Mrs. Price: *insists and shows it again*
Silvia: *it gets shown to her and she shakes her head no, pointing to Rachel*
Mrs. Price: *drops it on Rachel’s desk*
Rachel: *looks at it for a bit, raises her hand to get Mrs. Price’s attention and shakes her head no again, indicating it’s not hers*
Mrs. Price: *shakes her head and points at Rachel sternly, gesturing that it is hers, even if she ‘says’ it isn’t*
Rachel: *hangs her head a bit in defeat*
Rachel: *shuts her eyes and clenches her teeth, thinking of what is to come*
Mother: *motions making a cake*
Father: *comes home*
Parents: *motions happy birthday with hands, as if ‘conducting’*
Parents: *walk away slowly, as thoughts go away*
Rachel: *opens her eyes and stares at the sweater for a moment, then gently pushes it away to the corner then moves her chair a bit to the right*
Beginnings of a Flipped Classroom:
I also began doing some flipping of my class this week. Using Edmodo, I am posting short stories, audio links, and other videos for the students to have read/watched before coming to class. I first just told them to read/watch and "take notes." That was too vague and so I began using a template which combines the WSQ from Crystal Kirch and Cornell Notes. I have two templates: a Read-Summarize-Question for reading and a Watch-Summarize-Question for videos.
Our first day using the RSQ was yesterday with The Sniper as their reading. I honestly did not expect much in the way of summary as the students haven't learned this skill in previous grades. They did a pretty good job for a first try. I spent the period beginning a calibration process for them. I used my doc cam to put chosen examples up on the IWB and had students rate them (again, they are terrified to rate something low).
On Monday/Tuesday, they are doing an RSQ for The Cask of Amontillado and a WSQ on a video tutorial on prompt books. I am going to have them do a prompt book for Cask next week (More Shakespeare strategies with prose). I have time allotted to continue the calibration process. I will use some Kagan strategies for revising with a partner and hopefully, by end of next week, we will know exactly what is needed to have a WSQ and RSQ.
It was a great week where I learned as much as the students! Tonight, I am off to the Texas Region 19 Teacher of the Year Banquet where I will represent my district. I am very nervous!
Blessed to be Teaching!