*Please note that you can modify this activity should it not work for you for time constraints and/or for online versions or for social distancing needs.
Ideas for modifications:
- Simply watch the video together and engage in a class discussion (discussion prompts are at the end of this document.)
- Watch the video together and then have students read the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in Child Friendly Language. Discuss the various Rights and what might have surprised us, what we felt was powerful etc.
- Same as above, but following the discussion, students draw/paint a picture speaking to the Right in the Convention that stood out for them or resonated the most for them instead of the below tableau activity.
This activity works well for students in approximately grades 5 and up. Each age group will delve into discussion and creative exploration at the developmental level that works for them.
For the Tableau version – approximately 60 minutes (modified versions will take more or less time, depending on whether you just watch the video and have a discussion or engage in the visual art activity.)
- Screen/Media cart to play the movement/drama piece ‘We are Children’.
- Photocopies of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in Child Friendly Language (1 per student)
- You can download it here: https://www.unicef.ca/sites/default/files/imce_uploads/UTILITY%20NAV/TEACHERS/DOCS/GC/CRCPosterEN_FA.pdf
Collectively creating a tableau which demonstrates a Right listed in the UN Convention.
Watch ‘We are Children.’ This piece is a reflection on the UN Charter of Children’s Rights. It was written and voiced over by a former student, Jasmine Michel. The work seen in the video was collectively created by the students. (3:30 seconds)
It might be interesting for the students to know that Jasmine wrote and recorded this when she was 11 years old. We filmed it many years later, when she was in high school.
Give each student their own copy of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Provide them some time to read it over individually. If your class needs some support with reading it, or you think it is more enjoyable to do collectively, you could do this out loud together as a class instead.
After the Rights have been read, put the students into groups of 3 or 4. Have each student bring their copy of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with them when they join their group.
Allow about 15 minutes for them to discuss what they had read and what might have surprised them or what they may have found interesting or powerful. They then select, as a group, one Right which they feel is particularly important or powerful to them.
Let them know that each group is going to create a tableau depicting the Right that their group selected.
Teach the students what a tableau is. Let them know that a tableau is a simple way to communicate something without even moving. It’s like a ‘frozen picture’ that depicts something. If they think back to the video, they will have seen the tableaux that the other students created to reflect various Rights.
It may be helpful at this point to go to that part of the video to show them how each small group made a frozen picture that communicated a concept.
(Jump to 2:25 in the video to replay the part of the students creating tableaux on the various Rights.)
Provide each group approximately 15 minutes to explore how to demonstrate their concept as a frozen picture.
Tips that can help with the tableau creation process:
Ask your students to turn the idea they want to explore into a question. Ask yourselves and brainstorm – How can we show… (whatever it is) For example, instead of the group just trying to create a tableau on the Right to Food and Shelter, it can be helpful to kick start the process by asking themselves – How can we show someone having food? Or not having food? Or, how can we show the idea of shelter? When we are able to frame the exploration as a question, it can help more ideas to flow.
Encourage your students to not just talk about it, but to get up and try it out, with their bodies. Sometimes when we see it, experience it and try it, we have a better sense of what will work than when we just talk about it.
After each group has created their tableau, let them know that they need to find a way to present it as a group that includes reading aloud the Right they have chosen to present. They can find their own way to do this. Having them discuss when/how to share the Right aloud lets them imagine what might be more powerful and how to create it in a way that feels right to them.
Ideas for how to do this might include:
- The group selects one person to read the Right out loud before they do their tableau.
- The group reads it out loud together before they make their tableau.
- Having the Right read after they finish the tableau.
- Asking the teacher to read it aloud while they are in the process of creating the tableau together.
- Whatever unique ideas they might have for how to do this!
Have the class share their tableaux with one another. Let them know that it is OK if more than one group selected the same Right! This often happens and it is perfectly fine if different groups resonated with the same concept. In fact, it might be interesting to see how the same concept may be expressed differently by different people!
Have a class discussion about what they read, watched, noticed, and felt. Explore ideas they may have for creating change in our world.
Some discussion prompts include:
- Did you know that children had rights?
- What ideas do you have that could give students a stronger voice in their schools?
- How do you think we could change society so that children have more of a voice?
- If you were supported in your actions and anything was possible, what would you want to change about our world?
- Do you have to wait until you grow up to do this? Could there be a way you could work on this right now?
Looking for activity ideas you can do in your classroom? Click here to view more.
Rights of the Child
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