Look Inward, Look Outward - Create Our Space

Students self reflect and identify their values for their own space, share them and collaboratively build constitution for community.

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Look Inward, Look Outward - Create Our Space

Summary: Students self reflect and identify their values for their own space, share them and collaboratively build constitution for learning community.

Outcomes: Build citizenship, character and personal development awareness and skills. Provide a framework so that students can self assess their growth.

Resources: The Giver by Monica Hughes, Social Studies frame work: four pillars of democracy and short play "The Game"  (by Dennis E. Noble) (Modified ending)


Task 1. (30 minutes) Invite students into an open space.  Imagine the space you chose becomes your territory.  What would you call it?  What would be valuable in it (your most important thing)? What would it look like? Draw, sketch, note ideas down

Task 2. Set the rules for your country. Choose the most important rules. 

Task 3. In a group of 3, think-pair-share your rules.  Look for the common ideas and give those values a common name.  Make a list of your group values

Task 4. Whole class – Create a board with all the values.  Copy it, and then distribute to class. 

Task 5. In new small groups, have each group create a few categories to organize the values.

Task 6.  Whole class. What are most common values that emerge?  List those values

Task 7.  How do those values compare with the pillars of democracy – Justice, Equity, Freedoms and Representation? Short discussion.

Task 8. Make art: each student has watercolour paper and one colour. (Students will all have different colours).  Using wet on wet, have students choose their favourite value.  Have them put a line or shape on their paper.  Then have them rotate through all the papers in the room, and put their value/stroke on each one.  (Maps)

Task 9. Who are we? Make art: gesture line portrait of each other – when the subject gets his portrait, have he and his artist identify what feature was most valuable in the portrait? How does a feature represent something important about you?

Task 10. Make Art – add a gesture line to the watercolour maps – one or two lines in India Ink. The line represents the value that is a part of the student and, by extension,  builds our class character

Task 11. In small groups of 4, act out The Game. (Modify the ending before handing the plays out.) See end of this document for details.  Reflect through writing, Socratic Seminar about the values, and more writing.

Task 12. Class project – create visuals showing what values we will support and build to make our educational space a community. Organize and post class constitution.

Task 13. Build exemplars:  How will we know when we are showing citizenship and character to support the values we identified? Small group work - divide the values and give each group a value.  Each group creates some sentence starters that demonstrate the value. (ie. I showed character when I helped _____________ to _________________ in (subject assignment). ) 

Task 13. Make art – collaboratively assembly the water colour/India ink papers into a “map” of our classroom.  Determine what else needs to be added to our map to make it complete.

Conclusion: Our class added their reflections and writing, and some students created transparencies of sketches of each student in the class.  The “map” became a visual for our classroom “territory”, our educational space.  The values became the “constitution”.  The students reflected regularly on their own citizenship and character in the ongoing development of our educational space.

Students had time assigned monthly to assess their growth in character and citizenship, using the exemplars and sentence starters they created to spring board their reflections.  These reflections provided student voice in their report cards, as they "owned" the growth they had accomplished.

Summary of The Game - Dennis Noble.

A Game begins comically with three men entering a room.  They banter over what their names are but are quickly sorted out as they receive nametags.  They have an innocence about them.  There is a scientist, Henning, who explains that he is conducting an experiment and that is why they are there.  He tells them to each stand in a square and they are given a piece of paper that says, “This is my land.  It is beautiful, and it is mine.”  They are instructed to recite this together whenever the lights come on.  They begin innocently enough but as the play continues we see the greed of human nature come to life as they argue over territories and especially a chair that is located in one man’s “land”. In the end of the play, the three are fighting violently over the chair and over the boundary lines when Henning returns.  He tells them that the game is over but they are so engrossed in their own greed that they can't understand what he is telling them.  They only thing that they can comprehend is that wherever he is standing, he is invading someone's land.  The play ends abruptly as they beat Henning with the chair. This short play is extremely intriguing.  It begins quite comically, a genuine slapstick farce and then as the play continues, the action becomes more and more intense until it finally explodes in a terrible tragedy.  The play would be extremely easy to produce due to the lack of set and scene changes.  There are no elaborate costumes or props. The only lighting effect utilized is the lights turning on and off, which only lasts for the first few minutes of the piece.  This play explores the intricacies of human nature and our innate need to own, to have something uniquely ours that no one else can have. It demonstrates our greed.  The play analyzes humanity as a whole, in that every human being has fought for something that is “mine”.  It is seen in children and in defending what we think is ours. We don't stop to realize that those material things are “just a game” and will not last.  The language of this play is ingenious and natural.  The audience is not given any background information on the characters but they are developed well enough to create an emotional connection.


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