Tableau

Description 

In this activity students will create frozen scenes from significant events in their reading. The purpose of the activity is to identify important scenes from the reading and analyze character behavior. This activity works best with fiction, but can also work with historical readings or scientific biographies that may have many different scenes.

Learning Strategies 

  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing
Skills 
Close Reading, Making Meaning

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Balancing Informative and Literary Texts
  • Building Knowledge in the Discipline
  • Staircase of Complexity

Preparation 

Obtain tambourine or other musical instrument. Form groups of four or five students. Assign a specific section or chapter of the reading to each group. Gather photographs of striking scenes for introduction analysis.

Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce Tableau.

    Share the dictionary definition of tableau as a “picturesque grouping of persons or object; a striking scene.” Share photos of striking scenes in a slideshow and ask students to discuss what they think is going on in those scenes. Explain that this activity will ask them to create their own striking scenes based on the text.

  2. Model group performs.

    Select four students and whisper to them a scene from the novel. The group moves to a corner of the room for two to three minutes to plan out their scene. The remaining students in the class have their heads down; the teacher uses the tambourine to prevent the class from hearing the group. Once the model group is ready, the teacher stops banging the tambourine and invites students in the audience to look at the scene. The teacher leads audience participation by calling on students from the class to identify the scene and its importance in the reading. The teacher can also invite students to tap a character on the shoulder and ask them a question.

  3. Groups select scene.

    In groups of four or five, students select a scene from their assigned portion of the reading. Each group must discuss two questions: (1) What is the significance of the scene selected? (2) What roles do the characters play in the scene? One student in the group should record the answers.

  4. Prepare scene.

    Students then decide how to form the tableau with the group members. Allow groups to meet for about 15 minutes to prepare and to locate any props in the classroom. Limit the number of props to one or two.

  5. Perform scene.

    Each group performs its scene. The teacher leads audience participation by calling on students from the class to identify the scene and its importance in the reading. The teacher can also invite students to tap a character on the shoulder and ask them a question. Teachers can also create a viewing sheet for students to give and receive feedback and record their observations during the performances.

  6. Reflect.

    · Which group scene was the most striking? Why? · How did doing this activity better help you understand the importance of certain scenes in the text and the text overall?

Downloadable Resources 
Login to See More