Kill Floor-The Power of Play
For the past two weeks all of the freshman students at Roberto Clemente High School have been engaged in the Mosaic Program through the American Theater Company (ATC). This is a program in which ATC partners with Clemente and selects theater teaching artists and apprentices to go into the classroom to teach students about the art of theater. Students are given a play to read and then each class is assigned a different scene to perform in a final live production of the play. Along with performing the scene, students are responsible for all aspects of production including advertising, lighting, stage and costume design. This unique program gives students the opportunity to engage in a high level depth of knowledge (DOK) project, while also enjoying themselves and having the opportunity to ‘play’ with the play.
One of the key elements of the Mosaic Program is the use of ensemble games. Each class becomes a unique ensemble as part of the learning process, which facilitates teamwork and cooperation. The games are played at the beginning of each class and help students to trust one another and to take positive risks in the classroom, which help to build each students’ International Baccalaureate learner profile characteristics by focusing on being Risk Takers and Communicators. While students were initially a little skeptical about what the theater unit would be like, they have quickly become huge fans of theater. The freshmen are not only having a blast, but they are also practicing essential “Approaches to Learning” (ATL) skills, which are an integral part of the IB Middle Years Program philosophy of learning and teaching. Students jump at the opportunity to read the part of their favorite character and cannot wait to start each class with an ensemble game. When asked what they like most about this unit so far, one student said, “I like that I get the opportunity to read aloud to the class, I usually don’t like doing that, but with the play it is fun.” This is a common feeling among students as they embark on an experience unlike any they’ve had before. As an International Baccalaureate school, Clemente places a high value on providing students with unique and international learning opportunities. Bringing in the Mosaic Program through the American Theater Company is just one way Clemente embodies what it means to be an IB school. This program is funded partially through the Creative Schools Art Fund, which is a grant the freshman English teachers were awarded earlier in the school year. Everyone is eager to perform the play at Clemente High School in early April. Stay tuned for the exact date and time!