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Unit 4, Lesson 5: Understanding Through Tableau

This theatre lesson helps students to understand how to create a “tableau”.  They learn how creating physical “statues” can help to reinforce thought processes and increase understanding by kinesthetically depicting the three branches of the California government.

Standards Addressed

  • Common Core State Standards for Reading

    Comprehension and Collaboration

    1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

    b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

    c. Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

    d. Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

    1. Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

    1. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    a. Plan and deliver a narrative presentation that: relates ideas, observations, or recollections; provides a clear context; and includes clear insight into why the event or experience is memorable.

  • Suggested K-12 Pathway for College, Career, and Civic Readiness – Dimension 2, Civic and Political Institutions

    By the end of Grade 5:

    D2.Civ.1.3-5.  Distinguish the responsibilities and powers of government officials at various levels and branches of government and in different times and places.

    D2.Civ.5.3-5. Explain the origins, functions, and structure of different systems of government, including those created by the U.S. and state constitutions.

    D2.Civ.6.3-5. Describe ways in which people benefit from and are challenged by working together, including through government, work- places, voluntary organizations, and families.

    Dimension 2, Participation and Deliberation

    D2.Civ.9.3-5. Use deliberative processes when making decisions or reaching judgments as a group.

  • Common Core State Standards for Reading

    Comprehension and Collaboration

    1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

    b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

    c. Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

    d. Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

    1. Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

    1. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
    2. Plan and deliver a narrative presentation that: relates ideas, observations, or recollections; provides a clear context; and includes clear insight into why the event or experience is memorable.
  • California State Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts

    Theatre, Creative Expression

    Development of Theatrical Skills

    2.1 Participate in improvisational activities to explore complex ideas and universal themes in literature and life.

    Creation/Invention in Theatre

    2.3 Collaborate as an actor, director, scriptwriter, or technical artist in creating formal or informal theatrical performances.

    Communication and Expression Through Original Works of Art – Creative Expression

    2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art.


Essential Question

  • In what ways are people challenged to work together and does the structure of the government help to solve issues?

Objective

  • Students will understand and apply the elements of tableau to depict their understanding of the branches of government.

Assessment

This objective will be assessed through teacher observation and feedback as students practice.

RUBRIC

Quality Criteria Absolutely! Almost! Not Yet
Three clearly defined frozen scenes capture the branches of government and their function.      
Creative and effective use of high, medium, and low levels for physical effect.      
Effective use of facial expressions, body positioning, and focus.      
Narration consists of a few “power words” that complement the frozen scene.      

Materials and Resources Needed

  • Room for students to group and move around
  • PowerPoint

Learning Activities (40-50 minutes)

HOOK (1 MINUTE)

Slide 28: To make your performances about the California state government more interesting at the Town Hall meeting, you will be performing using tableaux (plural) for part of your performance.  Specifically, you will use a group tableau to help show the functions (purpose) of the three branches of the California state government.

ELEMENTS OF TABLEAU (15 MINUTES)

Slide 28 continued: You remember practicing character at the beginning of the unit.  Stand and show me with your entire body: Happy, sad, frightened, proud, brave.  Now choose a focus ~ looking in a certain direction helps to tell your story as well.  Use focus as you show “anger”  (some may point to one another, a textbook, the clock, teacher).

Shapes: Notice the girl on the floor – what shape has she made with the let that is “up”?  Curved or linear (straight line?).  How about the tallest one on the left ~ look at her outside leg, is it linear or curved?

Show me a curved shape with your entire body, not a straight shape.

Levels:  Different levels with tableau make it more interesting, just as different shapes do.  This picture shows low, medium and high shapes.

Ask students to get into a low curved shape, a medium linear shape, and a high curved shape.  Have students get into groups of four and create a tableau where each person is it a different level, and different shapes are represented.

Ask each group or a few to share their tableau, and have others comment: Do they have different shapes, are they showing all three levels and have they chosen a focus as a group?

ASSIGNMENT (15-20 MINUTES)

Slide 28 continued: Tableau can show meaning, or just be an interesting work of art.  In our case, you will be showing the three branches of government and their main function or job, using tableau.

You may use narration of one sentence for each branch you are showing, but the overall tableau should let us know which branch you are demonstrating and their purpose through your shape. For example, when the class says, “Legislative,” your group makes your first tableau and might say: “Write laws.” Class will then say, “Executive,” and you continue until all three branches have been demonstrated, and words used to explain their function. Move from one branch directly to the other without talking. It would be a good idea to look at your posters to remind yourself of the functions of each branch of government and what words you might decide to use.

CLOSURE (5 MINUTES)

Before we close this lesson today, I want to see if any of you can answer a bonus question. (Maybe homework?)

What is one difference between each branch of the state government, and the same branch of the U.S government?  For example, how is the Executive Branch different at the federal level than at the state level?

The Town Hall meeting is coming up soon! Be sure you have your posters completed (with the problem and possible solutions), and your tableaux performances perfected!