Too Far or Not Far Enough?

The seventh graders have concluded their term with the Colonial Fair, an exploration of colonial culture and events leading up to the American Revolution. Through a combination of one-act plays, skits, and dramatizations, students examine historical moments through the eyes of the British, colonists, Loyalists, and Patriots.
Seeing an event through different lenses certainly muddies the waters about who is right. Whether it’s the Salem Witch Trials, Boston Massacre, Quartering Act, or taxes on tea, so much depends on your perspective.
Each section addressed a different mix of questions and then presented them to the other sections and guests in a unique way. Click on the links to see photos from that section's performances.
  • VII Coleman: After ignoring the colonies for most of their existence, London decided to re-assert its control over its colonies, following the French and Indian War. Was this a case of the unjust abuse of power or had the colonists had it too good for too long? Each group answered this question by researching one cause of the Revolution, and then they collaborated to write and produce original plays. The theme this year was about perspectives. Before we can judge the past, we have to be able to see from a variety of points of view.
  • VII Farmer: This winter, we have been studying The Crucible by Arthur Miller. On the surface, the play is about the Salem witch trials, but as we analyzed it in class, we discovered that it is also about deeper themes of “othering” or exclusion, gender roles, power structures, and truth. For our Colonial Fair, we decided to adapt four key scenes to highlight these themes. Working in groups, we designed different ways to reveal what’s going on beneath the surface of the plot by adding lines of internal dialogue, projections of mental images, and symbolic set pieces.
  • VII Jones: When does protest teeter into terrorism? This question guided our examination of iconic events in and around Boston in the 1770s that led to the American Revolution: the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Declaration of Independence. We also examined children’s literature in the SHS library about these events with an eye on pro-patriot bias and nationalistic content.
  • VII Langdon: We focused on the skills of collaboration and perseverance in working as part of a group. Students were asked to be the driving force in the brainstorming, writing, editing, producing, design, blocking, and directing of each of the four distinct groups to which they were assigned. Students learned to work through difficulty and frustration as tensions arose during the process of creating an original 7-10 minute skit. Our theme this year was different perspectives as we examined the Battle of Concord, A Colonial Dinner Party with Franklin, Hamilton, Lafayette, & Metacon, a Presidential debate between Jefferson & Hamilton with an appearance by Burr, and both CNN & Fox News coverage of the Boston Massacre.
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