Monday, September 28, 2009

Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

Using kids' storybooks as a template, we hope to create a series of lesson plans that focus on different aspects of theater, can be carried to a variety of grade levels (2-6), and have an anti-bias focus. The story will be presented and then manipulated in a variety of ways i.e. playwriting, design, discussion, etc. We’ll be predominantly focusing on several books that guide teachers towards an anti-bias curriculum, but will include several theater books to enrich our lesson development.

This independent study is important for us to carry out because it gives us a chance to connect creative drama to the classroom. We want to combine our interests of anti-bias education and theatre to create a firm foundation from which we can work with children more creatively and effectively. With this productive convergence of fields we want to be able to reach out to teachers that are in need of a drama lesson that will supplement classroom activity. Teachers should incorporate performing arts in the classroom as much as possible. But, most teachers in public schools don't have time to have a drama or theatre period. We’ll attempt to tie in standards that apply within the Massachusetts Curriculum framework to make these plans relevant to the teacher’s syllabus. By creating a template for simplistic lesson plans (adopting story books/poems into dramatic works), we hope to offer any classroom teacher the chance to use drama.

Anti-Bias education is also an emphasis of the work we'll be doing over the semester. Settings where children feel like they can express themselves by creative means are excellent times to deal with issues that might be uncomfortable in other settings. The stories and poems we'll be using all have conflicts that deal with family, difference, and uniqueness. Hopefully the lessons we eventually design will promote positive self-esteem and provide a better understanding of the words/issues behind them. The Anti-Bias aspect of this project is found mainly in the nature of the books we chose. We spent a lot of time reading through picture books, and only selected ones that could initiate a discourse of bias. Though a discussion about bias is not necessarily the goal of each lesson, the characters themselves often embody certain aspects of identity that are oppressed. Creating a positive association with characters that might otherwise be marginalized will build community and awareness of inclusion and/or tolerance. 

Lastly, our resources are plentiful in terms of theatre and anti-bias education. We'll do our best to keep a bibliography of every relevant source we discover. If our lesson plans don't interest teachers that might find this blog, at least we can provide them with alternate resources.