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Sample Skit: Peer Pressure Parade
Drama prepared for 5th and 6th graders. To perform either live or video-taped.
To persuade students to resist peer pressure by demonstrating how silly it often looks.
Outside the school at the bus stop.
Put some frivolous/lighthearted music in the background to make this more entertaining.
Camera zooms in from view of school to find two students walking toward each other, one with her umbrella up and the other with her umbrella folded by her side.
Each politely says “Hi!” as they pass.
Immediately upon passing one another, each look to the sky briefly to view the weather, then, without looking back, the one with the umbrella closed opens it and puts it over her head. Simultaneously, the one with the umbrella open closes hers and puts it by her side.
Camera pans back out to reveal the school once more, this time showing two jock-looking guys walking towards one another. One has his shirttail out and the other in.
As they pass, they say “Hey Man” (or your localized, cool equivalent. Ask students what they would say.) and slap a high five.
Immediately after passing one another, each glances around to make sure nobody’s watching. The one with his shirttail out tucks it in and the one with it in pulls it out.
Narrator: “Wait a minute!” The actors pause, or the film stops (if being filmed), freezing the characters in place. "What just happened? Let’s see that again!"
Characters go backwards in fast motion until at the first of their walks, or rewind if filmed. (This should bring some laughs!)
As we see them go through the routine a second time, the narrator says:
“As crazy as this seems, I suppose we’re seeing the incredible power of peer pressure. It’s fine to be aware of styles and what others are doing; but ultimately, isn’t it our choice as to how we want to dress and what we want to do. If we always try to imitate others, we become what high schoolers call “Posers” (pronounced “pozers”): those who act like or pose as others rather than themselves. Although peer pressure’s no big deal when we’re deciding whether or not to tuck in our shirts or hold up our umbrellas, it becomes a big deal when we feel pressured by others to cheat or drink or do drugs. Today, let’s not be posers. Can’t we have the courage to simply be ourselves?”
Written by Steve Miller for Legacy Educational Resources at www.character-education.info , Copyright December, 2004, All Rights Reserved
Sample Activity: The Untangle Game
Divide into groups of 8 or 10 (must be an even number). Standing facing one another in a circle. Instruct each student to grab the right hand of a student across from (not next to) him or her. Next, join left hands with a different person. Then, try to untangle without anyone letting go.
Debriefing: How are tense, antagonistic relationships sort of like knots that need to be untangled? What factors make it difficult to untangle these relationships? How can we do a better job of restoring and sorting out tangled relationships?
Importance and Distinctives of Our Stories
We believe that quality people stories, presented effectively, are one of the key cornerstones to effective character education and life skills.
- They arrest and sustain attention: people love people stories!
- They persuade: it's hard to argue with people's experiences.
- They endure: it's hard to forget a compelling people story.
Our original, gripping stories can be used in a variety of contexts: from a one to two minute addition to announcements to a part of a character education lesson plan. We offer them either separately according to character quality, in the form of a short announcement or within our lessons. See below for samples.
Sample Stories: Spielberg Succeeds With Empathy
Trait: Resilience, Kindness, Compassion
Steven Spielberg is the most successful filmmaker ever. Everyone knows some of his blockbusters, such as Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Men in Black and E.T. What you may not know is how some of his early heartaches taught him to emotionally connect with his audience.
Once, when young 24-year-old Spielberg was directing a TV episode at Universal, the head of the camera department stopped an associate and said, ''You've got to go down to the soundstage. It's something you'll never see again. Your friend Spielberg is directing.''
The associate responded, ''I've seen people directing before.'' The camera man insisted, ''You've never seen a crew stand there and cry.''
So how did he learn the empathy that can't be taught in film school? Spielberg says that as a young person he experienced his grandmother's death with his family at her bedside. As a minority Jew in school, he experienced anti-Semitism through bullies. He learned what it's like to be an outcast, to be rejected. Fellow students thought he looked goofy and called him "Spielbug."
He learned the anguish of divorce by seeing his parents go through it his senior year. No one wants to experience these tragedies, but I doubt Spielberg could have learned to produce heart-felt films without them.
Says Spielberg, ''E.T. was about the divorce of my parents, how I felt when my parents broke up…. My wish list included having a friend who could be both the brother I never had and a father that I didn't feel I had anymore. And that's how E.T. was born.''
Copyright 2002 by Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved. Source: Steven Spielberg, by Joseph McBride, Simon and Schuster, 1997, p. 72.
- How did personal adversity help Spielberg empathize with others?
- How do you think this helped his film career?
- Can adversity help us with other careers besides filmmaking? In what way?
- How can you identify with the way Spielberg felt put down during his school days?
- How can understanding the benefits of adversity help us to deal with the adversities we now face?
For more free sample illustrations, click HERE.
Presenting With P.O.W.E.R.
I've seen the impact of great illustrations ruined by a poor presentation. Here are some hints to make them effective:
- Personal - From your heart to theirs. Not monotoned. Delivered with passion, yet in a way that's authentic with your personality. Don't preach down to them; (students hate that!) but include yourself as you address the school ("This week, let's all try to..." rather than "If you students could only learn to...". Remember, we're all still learning character!
- Other Oriented - Each student culture is unique. Put yourself in the place of your students and imagine what they would best respond to. Choose the most compelling illustrations for them, the discussions and activities that your students would love.
- Well Worded - The difference between a well-crafted story and a bunch of sentences thrown together can be the difference between "lightning and a lightning bug." Practice until you can say it in the words your students will both grasp and respond to.
- Ends on Target - The closing sentences should bring the point of the story into clear focus.
- Reflected Upon - Use thought questions or activities to help them understand and apply the story.
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