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The Land of the Unknown

School: Genesee Community Charter School

City/State: Rochester, NY

Grade(s): 6

Format(s): Program: Playbill

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This program for a play was created by 6th grade students at the Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, New York, as part of a Learning Expedition on Ancient Egypt. Students wrote a play based on their research of ancient Egypt; this is the program from their production. 

To write the script of their performance, students were divided into four crews; each crew worked on a different time period. Based on their research, students then chose a specific historical character who represented their time period.

Students created a multifaceted performance, which combined drama, movement, music and scenery. In accomplishing this, students worked with many teachers including dance, art, music and humanities teachers.

This program, in addition to introducing audience members to the performance and to the actors, explains student’s reasoning behind her or his choice of character. Also, each student, at the beginning of her or his crew’s scene, describes, in first-person voice, the context for her or his historical figure. Students used “sensory poem” writing to describe their character; to produce their final piece, students engaged in peer critique and revision.

Finally, the program also includes fictitious advertising, most of which furthers the theme of Ancient Egypt. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Shows a clever format that allows students to not only introduce their performance, but also to demonstrate their content knowledge
  • Highlights a multifaceted Learning Expedition, in which students produced multiple products: a performance and a program, each of which uniquely integrates content
  • An example of a format with a clear audience: communities members attending the play are a captive audience with time to kill while waiting; it is a great use of that time to engage them in looking at student work in the program
  • Demonstrates engaging, poetic writing by 6th graders. See Ryan’s entry on page 5 about being in his tomb for the first time

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to produce clear and coherent writing.
  • I can use evidence from a variety of grade appropriate texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • I can adapt my speech for a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • I can maintain consistency in style and tone when writing and speaking.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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