Creating a Character, Dramatizing a Life: A 3rd - 4th grade lesson plan
In this lesson, students are asked to use materials from the scrapbook, and from their other reading, to invent characters and dramatize scenes based on their lives. Encourage students to use the scrapbook materials imaginatively in constructing characters; a name on a calling card, a photograph, a signature on a letter, or a character from a theater program might all prove starting points for a character idea. Students might also choose to imagine the stories behind various objects in the scrapbook, such as postcards, fabric remnants, and dolls, or to develop plots that incorporate the dance cards, invitations, menus, and other mementos of Olive Ruby's social life. This lesson will be most effective if students are already familiar with the elements of a story: plot, conflict, climax, characters, setting, etc.
- Students will use their imagination and what they have learned from the scrapbook to create a "period" play of what they imagine life might have been like during Olive Ruby Henty's time.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to work cooperatively as part of an ensemble.
- Students will practice working with a primary source.
- Students will work together to understand the elements of a play and how to write one of their own.
- Students will plan, improvise, and write simple dramas that include the five w's: who, what, when, where, and why.
At least three class periods:
- Introduction to the scrapbook and its content
- Brainstorming and writing
Classroom Setup and Materials
- Computer/Projector (class could take place in library or computer lab, if available)
- Chalkboard or other write board
- PDF of Background/Info
- PDF of Groups
- If using in computer lab, allow students to break up into groups of 3-4 and look at scrapbook individually. If multiple computers are not available, project scrapbook for the whole class.
- While going through the scrapbook, write a list on the board of the different groups of:
- people (students, ladies, men, athletes, dancers)
- events (dances, teas, sports games, plays)
- places (school, theater, outside, inside, New York, Boston, etc)
- objects (dolls, fabric remnants, keepsakes, etc.)
- who (describe the characters in each play: age, likes, dislikes)
- what (describe the plot of the story: what is the conflict or problem?)
- where (describe the setting of the play: where does it take place? what is the environment?)
- when (when does this play take place: season, year, month, day, time of day)
- why (describe the reason for the conflict: why is this a problem?)
Teachers who wish to tie this lesson in to their language arts curriculum, and to give students a more detailed picture of life in the eastern United States in the early twentieth century, might also choose to have students read selected historical fiction that is contemporary with Henty's life, or nonfiction describing the period. Students might read one book together as a class, or might choose from a selection of books to read on their own. Possible literary tie-ins include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Anderson, William. Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Carbone, Elisa. Storm Warriors.
- Irwin, Hadley. I Be Somebody
- Karr, Kathleen. Gilbert and Sullivan Set Met Free.
- Lowell, Susan. I am Lavinia Cumming.
- Lutes, Jason. Houdini: The Handcuff King.
- Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.
- Sawyer, Ruth. Roller Skates