I feel incredibly fortunate that my social studies students are able to be a part of a program at the Wharton Center in East Lansing, Michigan called Eye for Broadway. Eye for Broadway allows local schools to produce art work to be displayed in the foyer of the center during the run of various Broadway shows. In the past my students have created art work for The Blue Man Group, Porgy and Bess, Annie, and The Sound of Music. This year we are creating pieces for Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.
Because this book isn't appropriate for fifth grade, I did not read it to them. What I did do, however, is explain the story to the students in a way they could understand. The focus of the pieces will be on the main character's disability: autism. Working with the special education teacher, the students will gain insight into his disability and fully understand why they are creating the type of pieces they are.
Normally one class starts the project and the next comes in and takes over and we do this until we are done. I can usually get through all the pieces in a few days this way, and it is a collaborative effort. It is very fun to watch the pieces take shape. But this year, I am doing things a bit differently. We are creating 31 pieces (the main character loves prime numbers) and each piece is numbered. All students have numbers so the number one in each class will work on the number one piece; the number twos will work on the second piece, etc. It is challenging because the students have different styles and each will never work on the same piece at the same time, but it is also exciting because each will never work on the same piece at the same time, yet they will create. And they will turn out amazing.
All 31 pieces relate to some aspect of the book. The two largest pieces will be part of a collage that two of the classes worked on. Today, I taught those students how to do blackout poetry. We practiced on one page of the story then went to town on our finals. I had five different final pieces that I handed out. And oh my. Goosebumps. The students got it, and I can't wait to see the final product.
And that third group. They painted the white canvases. But not yellow or brown. Because the main character HATES yellow and brown.