Ten Easy Steps to Entering Your Class to Win Canada's Coolest School Trip

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  1. Warm up with fun drama games to get your students out of their heads and into their bodies. Great drama games can be found at www.dramaresource.com.
  2. Review the timeline/story:
    • As a whole class, have each student share what they know about a particular subject. Create a timeline. What happened? When did this happen? Where did this happen? Who were the key players? What are the external factors?
    • Have the class list 5-7 most important moments that they want to recreate in their film.
    • Title the key moments and list them on the board.
  3. Create tableaux: Have students break off into groups. Each grup will be responsible for creating a tableau (frozen picture) of one of the titles on the board. Something to think about while creating the tableaux: what or who is the focus of the scene? How do you make it clear that he/she/or it is the focus?
  4. Have the students present their tableaux. Is their depiction clear? Is the right message getting across?
  5. Ask the students to bring their tableaux to life. Create a scene. Add dialogue. Scenes must have a clear beginning, middle and end. The audience must be able to understand: (a) what is happening in the scene, (b) where the scene is taking place, (c) when the scene is taking place, (d) who the main characters are in the scene, and (e) why the scene is happening.
  6. Have the students present their short scenes. Discuss what worked and what didn't work in the scene. How could one improve the scene?
  7. Storyboarding: Put the scenes together. Draw out each film shot from the point of view of the camera. What do you want to be sen on the screen?
  8. Discuss costumes, locations, props, director, filmmaker etc.
  9. Shoot and edit your film!
  10. Submit your film at http://myparkspass.ca/canadas-coolest-school-trip.

Classroom Activities

Getting Started (10 minutes)

The teacher will lead a warm-up. This will allow the students to begin moving and thinking creatively. An active warm-up promotes a safe, focused, and collaborative working environment. Options include:

  • Name game: Each participant says their name with a movement, and the whole group repeats how they've shared their name.
  • Atom game: The facilitator calls out atom and a number, participants form a group of people based on the number called. The facilitator then calls out an object to create, i.e. a boat. The group must form this object without talking. The key to this exercise is non-verbal communication; it must be played in silence.

Establishing the Story (20 minutes)

Create a story line with your students, building on their existing knowledge of the event and using collaboration to fill in any “gaps.” Possible techniques can include:

A Group Re-telling of Story: Each person in the group shares one part of the story that they remember, and each subsequent person adds on more information.

Create a Timeline:  Provide your students with prompts to ensure that “the five Ws” are answered. What happened? When did this happen? Where did this scene happen? Who did this happen to? Why did this happen? Who were the key players and what are the external factors?

Establish Significance: Have the class list the 5-7 most important moments that they want to recreate in their film. Engage your students’ critical thinking skills by asking them to defend their choices.

Set the Scene(s) (20 minutes)

Work with your students to bring the significant moments to life.

Create Titles: Begin by listing the titles of the significant moments established by your class (above) on the board.

Historical Tableaux: Divide  your class into small groups. Assign a significant moment to each group and then ask groups to create a tableaux (frozen image) based on one of the titles, demonstrating what took place. Ask your students: Is their depiction clear? Is the right message getting across? Have the groups share their tableaux with the class.

Re-enacting History (30 minutes)

Ask your students to bring their tableaux to life and create a short scene that expresses the piece of history their tableau represents. Each small group will present their scenes to the larger group and lead a short question and answer period to make sure their piece was clearly understood by the audience.

Props and Costumes (30  minutes + prep)

Once the scenes are polished, consider what sort of costume or prop elements can be used to ensure continuity of character between scenes, if applicable. (For example, the students who are playing Sir John A Macdonald during a Confederation film would wear the same costume/prop, scene by scene, to allow the viewer a greater sense of continuity.)

Performance and Filming (30 minutes)

Film the scenes separately and edit them together, using programs such as iMovie.

Submit Your Entry: Submit your film at http://myparkspass.ca/canadas-coolest-school-trip.

Classroom activities developed by Michal Weinfeld – Director of Annex Children’s Theatre in Education, www.acte.ca.