Thursday, January 22, 2009

Henry's Freedom Box

In November another teacher in my school approached with with an idea to perform a play in order to celebrate Black History Month at our school. She gave me a copy of Henry's Freedom Box, and I transformed it into a play suitable for our classes. I have a copy of it saved in school, I'll be sure to make it available to you as soon as possible.
Today was our first day of practice, and the kids were eager to begin transforming this story into a play. Thanks to Jill, our students went back in time through the music and clothing she had to help them envision themselves in their roles. We need more white aprons for the girls, but for the most part, the costumes we've created are perfect for our purposes.
When I was reading this story to my students I asked them to scrunch up like Henry did to fit in a box. Since the kids were sitting on the rug I told them they had to fit in one square on the rug. I thought this would help them feel more like Henry, I thought it would help them walk in Henry's shoes...then when we went down to Jill's room she had he box we are going to use for the play. One of her students got in the box, and as I looked at my kids faces I could tell they "got it!" By seeing a student scrunched in a box, and by actually scrunching themselves up they understood how uncomfortable and scary the situation was for Henry.
After we finished practicing, I asked my students to write in their journals - Would you mail yourself to freedom? Put yourself in Henry's shoes...Would you mail yourself to freedom?
Henry's Freedom Box

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