Activities for Deeper Exploration

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Activities

30-Second Play (for students who have read the play or book)

Length

15-25 minutes

Summary

In small groups, students create a 30-second version of the play Gathering Blue, with attention to story format, collaboration, and silliness.

Objectives

  • Students will determine the most important components of the play in the beginning, middle, and end.
  • Students will work together and explore movement, sound, and iconic moments.
  • Students will practice good audience skills and peer feedback.
  • Students will better understand the story through silliness.

Activity

  1. Divide the class/group into small groups of 4-6.
  2. Ask the groups to create a 30-second version of the play. Remind them to consider the format of a story (beginning, middle, end) and what specific images and keywords can tell the larger story in a short time. (Think about iconic images in movies we all know, like losing a slipper in Cinderella and putting it back on.)
  3. Students perform for their peers and practice good audience skills (listening, laughing when appropriate, clapping at end, etc.).
  4. After each performance, guide the students in a peer feedback by asking them to point out their favorite moments or moments that helped clearly tell the story.

Talisman Storytelling and Gift

Length

25-40 minutes

Summary

In partners, students will share a story about their own talisman and its importance. Then, they will create a “gift” for their partner in the form of a poem, story, picture, song, etc.

Objectives

  • Students will practice storytelling about an item of importance to them.
  • Students will practice active listening.
  • Students will exercise their creativity by making a “gift” for their partner.

Activity

  1. Ahead of class, ask students to bring in a talisman (a trinket that holds value and a story). Discuss Kira’s talisman (her scrap of cloth and father’s pendant) and Thomas’ piece of wood. Quote from play: Kira: “When you care about someone and give them something special. Something they treasure. That’s a gift.” (pg 27)
  2. Review components of storytelling (beginning, middle, end). Ask them to apply those components to their own story.
  3. In pairs, each student tells their partner about their talisman and why it’s important (timed approx 3-4 min) while their partner actively listens (review what that looks/sounds like).
  4. After both students have shared, they separate and create a “gift” to their partner about their partner’s story. This “gift” (in the form of a poem, song, dance, etc.) is to say, “I heard you. I know why this is important to you. Thank you for sharing.” This takes about 10 minutes.
  5. Partners share their “gifts” with each other. Discuss as group that process and experience.

Writing Prompts

  1. Kira has a gift of weaving; Thomas’ gift is in woodworking; and Jo’s gift is in song. What’s YOUR gift to the world? What skills and talents do you have and how can they be “gifts” to the world?
  2. Kira has a debilitating limp. She struggles growing up in her village because of it and has been threatened to be cast to the “Field of Leaving” because of it. What’s something that makes you different from your peers? Have you ever felt “othered” because of it? Or have you seen someone else get “othered” because of their differences? Why do you think humans can be afraid of differences? What strengths come from being different?
  3. Kira is told there are beasts lurking in the woods. Who are those beasts? What do they represent? What are the beasts in our communities and world? Are they real? Are they metaphorical? Is there hope of ridding them?
  4. Vandara explains at the beginning of the play that, “It is the way.” What are some of the rules or “ways” of Kira’s village? Which ones do you agree or disagree with, and why? What are some of the “ways” we live now, in our society, and what do you think of them? (Consider currency, work, family, transportation, time, etc.)
  5. Kira, Thomas, and Jo all have special gifts, but when they move into the Edifice, their freedom of expression is taken away. Is art still art without freedom of expression? What importance does creativity and freedom of expression have in our lives? Have you ever felt like your freedom of expression was taken away? If so, describe the experience. If not, describe the importance—or lack thereof—of creativity and freedom of expression in your life.