Professional Development Workshop

Framing the Experience


Step 1: Asking Questions (Asking personally relevant, contentious questions; Facilitating students' ability to ask questions)

Leader: “We are positioning you as the student learner today. We are entering into an inquiry. The inquiry question we
are posing is, ‘What Happens When the Structures in Your Life Breakdown?’”

Leader writes the inquiry question on the board.

Leader: “We are choosing a content area that is challenging – we are entering into dry textual material.

“How can an art form fill in the gaps, open up the content area?

“How can art humanize content?

“We are taking you on a journey today integrating improvisational theater with social studies content.”

Opening Up the Inquiry

Step 2: Frontloading Content (Building prior knowledge; Connecting students with the topic, hooking them...)

Leader: "I am going to give you a quick history on the Great depression. This is what I want you to know. The depression is bookended by Hard Times moving to a New Deal."

Leader writes Hard Times/New deal on the board.

Leader: "Let's start to play with this a bit. When you hear Hard Times what do you think about?"

Leader leads a mini Sense Web for Hard Times and New Deal. record the responses on the board.

Leader: "What does Hard Times look like? What does it taste like?" refer to Sense EAEC Teaching Strategy instructions.

Leader then repeats the mini Sense Web for New Deal.

Introducing Historical Text

Step 3: Gathering Information (Collecting data, finding information, interviewing, creating surveys)

Leader: Show Social Studies page on overhead. Explain that this is text from an actual history text book and that it is striking how briefly such a major event in U.S. History is covered. read the "Dust Bowl" section out loud to participants.

Leader: "Alright, now what is missing?"

ParTICIPaNTS: "... a human element."

Close Read of Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, 1936

Migrant Mother and Children, February 1936 Black and white photograph Farm Security administration, Office of War Information Photography Collection Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division Washington, D.C.

Step 4: Constructing Knowledge (Organize information, creating meaning, asking, "what do I now know?")

Leader: Show Dorothea Lange image, Migrant Mother. Refer to EAEC Close Read Teaching Strategy instructions.

"Let's read the photo; what do you see? We are going to practice observing. Be specific about what you are looking at. You can use 'I see ...' to preface your statement."

ParTICIPaNTS: "I see two children with their backs to the camera."

"I see furrowed eye brows on the woman's face."

"I see a torn shirt."

Leader: "Good. What else do you see?"
Gather responses from multiple participants. Continue to encourage them to respond using, "I see..."

Tableau of Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother, 1936

Step 5: Making KnowledgeVisible (Creating something concrete to represent new knowledge; Designing a product which represents new learning)

Leader: "I want to try this moment in a theater tableau. I am going to ask people to donate an image that recreates this photograph. Could someone create a frozen image of the woman?"

Participant comes forward and creates a frozen image of the woman in the photo. Make sure the participant is facing the audience.

Leader emphasizes holding the pose as still as possible. Keep different levels of height in mind: high, medium and low. At this point, the leader is giving a simple introduction to tableau to pre- assess the participants' knowledge and skill in the art form. Formal instructions are not needed at this time.

Leader: "Can another person donate an image? Good. Now we need two more people."

Participants finish image so that there is one mother and three children in the tableau.

Leader: "Now we are going to infer meaning.What does this image look like? You can use the words 'It looks like . . .' to preface your statement. Can someone tell me what this image looks like?"

Point to the tableau image of Migrant Mother. Give multiple participants the chance to respond and provide encouraging feedback.

ParTICIPaNT: "It looks like she is a worried mother."
"It looks like the children are going to the mother for protection."
Leader: "Good. If we were to speak for the mother, what would she say now?"

Give multiple participants the chance to respond and continue to provide encouraging feedback.

ParTICIPaNTS: "I don't know when I'll be able to feed my children?"

Opening Up the Inquiry

Step 6: Gathering Information

Leader: Refer to EAEC Jigsaw Method Teaching Strategy instructions.

Leader: "Good. Tableau participants you can relax now. Thank you. Now I want to share some background information about this image.

"This photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange and titled Migrant Mother. The photo was taken in March, 1936 at a camp for seasonal agricultural workers 175 miles north of Los Angeles, Ca. Lange was working for the Farm Security Administration as part of a team of photographers documenting the impact of federal programs in improving rural conditions. Lange had just completed a month-long photographic assignment and was driving back home in a wind-driven rain when she came upon a sign for the camp. Something beckoned her to postpone her journey home and enter the camp. She was immediately drawn to the woman and took a series of six shots – the only
photos she took that day. The woman was the mother of seven children and on the brink of starvation. After returning home, Lange alerted the editor of a San Francisco newspaper to the plight of the workers at the camp, presenting him with two of her photos. The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included Lange's images. As a result, the government rushed a shipment of 20,000 pounds of food to the camp. The photo's wider impact includes influencing John Steinbeck in the writing of his novel The Grapes of Wrath. The Migrant Mother is a photographic icon of the Great depression in America."

Migrant Mother, 1936, eye Witness to History,

Small Group Art Making

Step 7: Frontloading Art Activities

Leader: Depending on the number of participants, you may want to split into two groups. Each group could take a different art form. This is when the leader formally introduces the elements and principles of the art form.

"A tableau is a frozen image made up of a group of actors that conveys ideas and emotions. It is like taking a picture with a pretend Polaroid camera and getting to see the frozen image immediately. It can be used to explore a text or generate original poetry.

"Let's review the basic elements of theater tableau. In order to create a tableau, each participant joins the tableau one at a time, stays frozen, has his/her face visible to the audience, is in physical contact with the other members of the tableau, avoids lying on the floor, and explores multiple levels and supports one's own weight."

Leader: Lead the group in introductory tableau activities (i.e. statues). Establish a line on the classroom floor that will represent Center Stage.The wall behind Center Stage is an imaginary curtain and represents Back Stage. Split the participants into two groups – actors and active audience. Refer to the EAEC Art Making Activities.

"One at a time, I want each actor to run up to Center Stage and strike a frozen image. Try not to think about your pose before you get there. Just run up and do the pose that comes to you. Each actor should remain frozen until all of their fellow actors have joined the tableau. Remember to be in physical contact with the existing tableau."

Remind the actors about the ground rules and coach them through the tableau creation, "Remember that we should be exploring multiple levels. "When all of the actors have joined the tableau, ask the audience members for a detailed description of what they see and for positive evaluation.

Any art form can be used in this workshop. If you chose not to use tableau, Step 7 would be the time to introduce the basic concepts of whichever art form you do wish to use.

Adding Content to the Art Form

Step 8: Frontloading Art Activities, Making Knowledge Visible

Leader: Now identify a guiding theme to help the actors determine their pose. Use large ideas that are familiar to everyone, such as springtime, the ocean or a tree.

"Now we are going to add a theme to our tableau. Let's create a tableau of a weeping willow tree. Remember that we are not trying to recreate the tree literally, but rather we are using are whole bodies and faces to give our audience an impression of the weeping willow tree. Also, if we are ready, let's add vocals to this. Each actor should say one word when they come up to Center Stage and join the tableau. Does that sound okay? Great, let's try this with Group 1."

Add a guiding theme to whichever art form you have decided to use.

Entering a Difficult Text

Step 9: Gathering Information; Constructing Knowledge

Leader: "We are going to read a primary source document in US history. We have intentionally picked a dense and dry editorial to show how you can step inside challenging text. We are going to use the arts to crack it open. The purpose of this workshop is to demonstrate the power of any art form entering complex curriculum."

Hand out the Fortune Magazine article, "Editorial on Economic Conditions (1932)."

"In continuing with the concept of positioning you as the student learner today, I am going to read this article to you. As I am reading the article, I want you to listen for any images or details that strike you as being powerful or important- underline, circle or make a note of these striking images."

Allow yourself 10 minutes to read the editorial slowly and clearly.

Generating Sensory Details


Step 10: Asking questions; Gathering Information; Constructing Knowledge

Leader: "What striking images or details did you make note of?"
Record the participants' answers on the board.

Leader: "Good. So now you can see how such a dense text can hold vivid images. Let's choose one of these images to explore even more.Which of these images or phrases is most compelling to you?"

After the group has agreed on one of the phrases, write it in the middle of a clean part of the board. Refer to the EAEC Sense Web Teaching Strategy instructions.

"Let's explore 'digging in heaps' through a Sense Web. What does 'digging in heaps' look like?"

Record everyone's responses in a web-like fashion around the phrase your group chose. Move through each sense (what does it smell like, what does it taste like, what does it look like, what does it sound like, what does it feel like?) to generate more and more detail. Feel free to follow a new strand of the Sense Web (i.e."What does 'digging in heaps' look like?" Response- rotten."Good.What does 'rotten' feel like?" Response- warm breath, bacteria).

Continue to question in order to sharpen the images and to prove to the participants that they have the experience and the prior knowledge to connect to this concept. The goal is to reach an extended definition of the phrase the group originally focused on from the Fortune article. Record your extended definition on the board (i.e. Digging in heaps feels like the warm breath of rotten bacteria).

Group Responses in the Art Form

Step 11: Frontloading Art Activities, Making Knowledge Visible

Leader: "Using the skills we just learned, let's create a group tableau for our extended definition. We will share this with the other group in 10 minutes."

Provide time for the participants to rehearse.

The art form used here will be the same art form introduced in Step 7. If the art form introduced in Step 7 involved individual exploration, the individuals would be asked to create a group response in that art form here.

Going Public

Step 12: Presentation and Feedback (Share knowledge artifacts with peers; Allow for critical feedback and peer reviews)

Leader: Gather the whole group back together to allow each group to share their creations. A representative or two from each group should recap their experience and describe what their group created. The audience should have time to conduct a Close Read of what they see.