Artist Visit for the PAGES Program: Tableau and Narrative

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As part of PAGES, a literacy and arts integration program through the Wexner Center, a resident artist comes to the classroom before and after each of three art-integration field trips throughout the year.  The visiting artist has a direct, real-world connection to the experience the students have while at the Wex.  When I was part of the PAGES program, I had graffiti artists, cartoonists, actors, poets and others in my classroom working with students and co-teaching with me.

For Miwa Matreyek’s play This World Made Itself, theater educator Pam Decker came and worked with Mandy Bruney’s students using a technique called “tableau.”

Miwa Matreyek performs in her play This World Made Itself.  This image is from her website.

Miwa Matreyek performs in her play This World Made Itself. This image is from her website.

For the activity, Bruney had taken pieces of students’ narratives and distributed them to groups of three to four students.  They were asked to choose a beginning, middle and end of the story together.  After they have chosen the three moments, they had to decide how to create a “frozen” re-enactment of the scene using body language and facial expressions.  Each group then presented the three scenes to the rest of the class.

From watching Decker, I enjoyed how she “coached” students through the presentations.  For example, she asked questions of the students presented, modeled facial expressions for them and provided formative feedback for improvement.  This was a more “interactive” form of presentation that I had seen in the past.  I feel like students learned more from this style where the end product was about “process” and not a “product.”

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