You all have probably been wondering why I titled my blog flash mobs in the classroom and have not written about them yet. Well, without further delay this post shall include how flash mobs as well as mock trials, and historical recreations can be used as theatrical teaching tools.
Teachers can use flash mobs in their classroom by creating one of their own with their class, if possible, using class material. However, this may be difficult to achieve, but then again I am not talking about the random ones, these will be planned and known about by the class for the purpose of using them in an educational setting.. You don't have to perform them for the entire school of course. In whatever subject you teach you can take the social issues/debates surrounding the subject matter and have your students create flash mobs that they can perform for each other. For instance, in a science class some issues that flash mobs can approach are the controversy over global warming, evolution vs. creationism, and eugenics. Each group can do research on these topics and work with you to rehearse the proper associated movements that should be used in the flash mob.
This activity can be applied to all subjects, but I decided to use science as an example here. Flash mobs are creative ways for student to show what they have learned. The student can tell the class what the title of their flash mob is, perform it, let the class comment and ask questions about the performance, and then explain their artistic choices with support from their research.
Mock trials are most likely to be used in English or History classrooms, but they are not limited to those areas of study. The controversial scientific issues mentioned above can just as easily be approached with a mock trial. I remember that I did a mock trial in my AP English class my Senior year of high school.
We were reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Our mock trial was about whether or not the monster should be to blame for his actions or if Dr. Frankenstein should be charged with negligence for creating him and then abandoning him without teaching right from wrong. This was a challenging assignment, but very interesting and we had to use textual evidence to support our case, whether we were on the defense or the prosecution. Classmates were lawyers, characters from the novel (I was the monster and that was fun), one was the judge, and then there was the jury.
This is a great idea for a mock trial, but of course there are many others, please share any ideas you have in the comments section below this post.
Historical recreations of events or symbols of importance can bring the past to life for students. For instance, in my Sophmore year of high school my World History teacher, Mr. Dunn, was very creative and when we were studying the Vietnam War we recreated the Vietnam Wall. We left messages that we would have wished we could tell the families of the soldiers, placing ourselves in the dead war veterans shoes. This made studying the war a powerful and emotional experience.
You could also recreate the stock market collapse that happened during the Great Depression, which another one of my teachers, Mr. Perry (also a good teacher), did. He did this with an interactive game, in which students were upset when everything they had was lost at the end of it. This simulation creates empathy and a greater understanding of what it was like to be alive at that horrible time in the U.S.'s economic history.
Hope these activities were informative and interesting.
Thanks for reading,
Aliana ~Theatre Lover~