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Living Through Their Eyes (elementary)

Last changed: 05/20/2019 12:24pm
3 , 4 , 5
Theatre Social Studies English
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min


Five, 45-60 minute sessions with a Sharing (no additional production elements required) or other culminating project for individual classes or entire grade level during Session 5

Classes are typically held once a week. However, at the discretion of the teacher(s), the program may be completed in 1 or 2 weeks or spread out to allow time in between sessions for completion of classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher(s).

The program can be designed and scheduled to integrate throughout or serve as a follow-up to the selected curricular unit.

*If the school calendar does not allow for 5 visits, the Teaching Artist can provide an adjusted version of the residency with 3 or 4 sessions.

In-School Short Term Residency
All Year
$10 0
yes In-Person


Props needed for Drama activities to supplement available classroom resources

Originals for handouts or prompts to be used with activities during class or conducted by the classroom teacher to deepen student learning between sessions (ex. Facts from the Time Period, Events, Character Research/Chart, A Day in the Life, Floor Plan, Scene Preparation)

Additional reference materials on selected topic



Easel and large pad of paper

Non-lined paper and pencils or a journal for each student

Copies of handouts for students as needed

Copies of key reference materials/resources from the classroom for the specific content selected to help the Teaching Artist support each Classroom Teacher's approach and priorities



Open space in classroom or multi-purpose space large enough for entire class to participate on their feet simultaneously or spread out to work in small groups

If selecting a Sharing for the entire grade, will need a large enough space for all classes to meet together to present and view. Could be a stage, but not required. Should be scheduled for each class to use in Session 4 and for the entire grade for Session 5.



I can use facts and imagination to describe the home, clothing, food, language, job and daily life of a person from another time, place or culture.

I can recognize, discuss and demonstrate at least 2 similarities and 2 differences between life in another historical period or culture and our life today.

I can work with peers to create and perform an original scene or theatre piece representing characters from another time, place or culture.



Striking insights make students feel like time travelers, as the past comes alive!

In Living Through Their Eyes, each student experiences the world through the eyes of someone from another time, place and culture, seeing beyond the limits of contemporary perspectives. Imaginative acting exercises and techniques bring fresh insight, giving each participant a new vibrant connection to the past.

Research and imagination provide the tools for developing a deeper understanding of the actions and motivations of people throughout history. The focus on every individual’s exploration assures equal participation, as each student builds the ability to critically compare and contrast elements of Then and Now, throughout the creative process.

What students will do:

Based on guided reading of text and images, students create a realistic context from which to visualize a character’s personal life, relationships, occupation and events within their community. The children communicate insights through discussion, writing (ex. letters/journal entries/scripts/poetry) and drawing (floor-plans of homes or work places), as they prepare to act out situations and speak in the voice of a specific character.

Working individually, cooperating with partners and collaborating in small groups, students are guided to improvise, brainstorm, problem-solve, reflect and give/receive feedback as they ultimately bring characters to life in a unique Sharing for the entire grade or within each classroom.

Handouts and activities provided by the Teaching Artist work well in small groups and can be used in centers during the workshop or applied to other units throughout the year. (see Materials the Arts Provider Provides for examples)

Teachers may select any Social Studies Unit or Topic and a Related Text from the Language Arts/Reading Curriculum.

This short-term residency stands alone, but also successfully supports larger long-term projects.

*See Additional Notes for Popular Units/Topics, Related Texts and Sample Long-Term Projects.



Sample Long-Term Projects:

1. The residency prepared 5th grade students and teachers to meet the challenges of taking the text Esperanza Rising from Book to Script to Movie by adding simple props, costumes and set pieces and choosing backgrounds for using Greenscreen. Teachers noted, "even the most reserved children stepped up to write scenes and perform on camera" and students expressed pride in their "individual contributions to developing characters and the teamwork involved in producing their own movie."

2. Students applied information and acting skills learned in the residency to create a mini colonial village to share with other grades. They chose costumes/props, made signs/backgrounds, learned language of the time and/or incorporated period music/dance to demonstrate their shops/trades and village life.

Popular Units/Topics and Related Texts:

Colonial America - village life, trades and language of the period
If You Lived In Colonial Times by Ann McGovern
The Scoop on Clothes, Homes, and Daily Life in Colonial America by Elizabeth Raum
If You Sailed On The Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern
On The Mayflower by Kate Waters
Early American Crafts and Occupations by Peter F. Copeland

Immigration – country of origin, hardships of travel, arrival in America
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Journey to Ellis Island by Carol Bierman,
I Was Dreaming to Come to America (Ellis Island Oral History Project) selected and illustrated by Veronica Lawler

Revolutionary War - events leading up to the war and effects on segments of the population
Patience Wright, America's First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea
Freedom's Fire by Elizabeth Sullivan Falk
“Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Westward Expansion - moving west, predicting hardships and brainstorming solutions

The program may also connect with and serve the goals of the Art and/or Music curriculum. To explore this option include Arts Specialists in the initial planning meeting.

*All ACTive Learning Through Drama programs have been developed and implemented by a professional Theatre Educator in collaboration with Classroom Teachers and Arts Specialists.

1-3 are welcome, if the classroom teacher desires. They can be most helpful in the 4th and 5th sessions to facilitate preparing and implementing the grade level Share.

Grade 3

Grade 3: History: Change, Continuity, and Context: 3.2 Compare life in specific historical time periods to life today.
Grade 3: Reading Standards for Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas #7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Grade 3: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. c. Collaborate to determine how characters might move and speak to support the story and given circumstances in drama/theatre work.
Grade 3: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Participate in methods of investigation to devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work.

Grade 4

Grade 4: Geography: Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions, and Culture: 4.7: Explain how human settlements and movements relate to the locations and use of various natural resources.
Grade 4: Reading Standards for Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas #7: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
Grade 4: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. c. Imagine how a character might move to support the story and given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.
Grade 4: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Collaborate to devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work by asking questions about characters and plots.

Grade 5

Grade 5: History: Perspectives: 5.4: Explain why individuals and groups during the same historical period differed in their perspectives.
Grade 5: Reading Standards for Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas #9: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
Grade 5: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. c. Imagine how a character’s inner thoughts impact the story and given circumstances in a drama/ theatre work
Grade 5: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work that reflect collective inquiry about characters and their given circumstances.
Get to Know Our Arts Provider:

ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer