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Turning Points Toy Theater

School: High Tech High

City/State: San Diego, CA

Grade(s): 12

Format(s): Performance: Play

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Performing Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview: 

Turning Points Toy Theater” was presented by 12th grade students in the collaborative classrooms of Media Arts and English at High Tech High in San Diego, California. On December 20th, 2012, ten student groups, of five students each, presented miniature toy theater performances with handcrafted originally designed paper puppets. Students learned to manipulate their puppets in relationship to custom animations, sound, and video works (all produced by the students). Throughout the creative process groups received mentoring from the professional puppeteer company Animal Cracker Conspiracy.

The end goal was to recreate and interpret critical historical turning
points from the last 150 years in the hopes that these creative stories would
stimulate new dialogue about old stories. In order to tell the story with
puppets each student group picked their own topic to investigate, and each
member of the group wrote a research paper investigating a unique
aspect/angle of their turning point topic. Building on each group members’
knowledge, students were able to create interpretive and comprehensive toy
theater shows.

The project was hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego and funded by The San Diego Foundation.

How This Project Can Be Useful: 

  • Demonstrates an outstanding level of sophistication for high school students
  • Highlights a unique and wonderful way to engage students in learning about history
  • A final product that represents students’ work on multiple levels: designing the puppets, learning puppeteering, researching topics, writing papers, and creating a final performance

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
RST.11-12.7
  • I can integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information in a variety of formats and media to address a question or solve a problem.
RST.11-12.8
  • I can corroborate or challenge conclusions with other sources of information.
RST.11-12.9
  • I can resolve conflicting information when possible.
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