On Wednesday, I facilitated a professional development workshop at Dawson Educational Coop in Arkadelphia sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in collaboration with the Arkansas Arts Council. In the one hour workshop, I facilitated teachers in using theatre games and the drama-based instructional strategy of teacher-in-role to teach students about the three main Indian tribes of Arkansas. In the beginning of the lesson, teachers gathered pictures of Arkansas landmarks with Native American ties from around the room. Then I used slides from a great PowerPoint lecture created by the Dept. of AR Heritage to explore the three main tribes of Arkansas--the Caddo, the Osage, and the Quapaw. Taking on the role of "Hannah the Historian," I asked the teachers to help me develop an exhibit for the Historic Arkansas Museum. Finally, we used the theatre game "Donkey," to review characteristics specific to each tribe. Since this was such a short workshop, it ended right as I felt like the teachers were starting to get a feel for "drama-based instructional strategies." However, they seemed engaged even in spite of our limited space in a tech lab.
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About the Author: April Gentry-Sutterfield is a director, deviser, educator, and mom who uses theatre as a tool for social justice, education, and community engagement.