Middle School News
MS WEEKLY LEARNING: Highlighting Metro Theater Company
Educators from Metro Theater Company are collaborating with Mrs. Sainz’s and Mrs. Strubhar’s communication arts classes to bring the theater experience into the middle school, promoting community and dialogue. Over the course of the next six weeks, students will engage with Metro Theater Company a total of five times, with lessons tied directly to their current novel units.
Through the exploration of various fiction and nonfiction war novels, seventh grade students are beginning their analysis of the triangle of oppression. This conceptual model takes into account the roles involved in oppression (targets, perpetrators, bystanders, and allies), and allows students to examine how roles change based not only on the target, but also on specific circumstances. John, from Metro Theater, helped students begin to think about this concept on a personal level through the nonverbal game “Defender”. As part of this activity, each student silently selects one classmate as a hero, and another as enemy (without anyone else knowing the identities). Students then move continuously throughout the room, keeping their hero between them and their enemy. Throughout the process, students were given different scenarios about their enemy that affected their movement around the room (i.e. they are just annoying, they betrayed you, they want to physically harm you). During the debrief, students reflected on the challenges of the activity, including the specific strategies they used, and how their enemy influenced their behavior.
In eighth grade, students recently began their “Homegrown” unit which includes Paul Fleishman’s Seedfolks, a novel told from the perspective of 13 different narrators in a diverse Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood. The story focuses on the transformation of a vacant lot into a community garden, and the impact that the shared experience has on the group. Based on the theme of community, students participated in a variety of activities with Metro Theater that encourage communication, a sense of belonging, and fellowship. The teambuilder “Come Here If”, helped students to recognize their similarities. Taking turns, students went to a chosen place within the classroom and made a statement that was true about them, inviting other like minded classmates to join them (i.e. “Come here if you were happy that the Cubs won the World Series”). Another activity “Blind Drawing” encouraged students to work with a partner that they rarely interact with. This exercise involved one person giving verbal and nonverbal directions to help their partner recreate a famous piece of artwork. Students reflected on the skills and attributes that made them successful, as well as how they could improve next time.
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.