El acto.pmd

Evaluation of the actos consists of two steps. The first evaluates the mechanics of the group process from the beginning of the assignment to the end of the presentations. This step should keep students on task and keep them responsible for their various assign- ments. By monitoring each group every day of the project and using an observation form such as the one in figure 1, the teacher should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of 1. _____________________________________________________ 2. _____________________________________________________ 3. _____________________________________________________ Copyright 1995 George Chilcoat www.civilrightsteaching.org In the second step, the teacher debriefs each group individually and, upon completion ofthe assignment as a class, the class’s work as a whole. Debriefing determines commandof content information, how well the central concepts of the activity were understood, andstudents’ ability to apply contemporary or historical information to the design of the actoand to present-day situations. Before each presentation, each student receives a handoutof questions to answer during and after the presentation (figure 2). From these questionsthe teacher conducts the debriefing.
2. Based on what you have seen, what issues do this acto illustrate? 3. What specific facts, concepts, or generalizations in this presentation justify these 4. What particular incident brings out the major focus of the acto? 5. How can these conclusions be applied to the contemporary/historical topic we are now 6. Are these conclusions consistent with those of the other actos? Why or why not? 7. How are these conclusions applicable to current society? 8. Do you agree or disagree with or accept or reject these conclusions? Why? 9. What questions do you feel this group should have asked in their presentation? 10. How can this presentation be improved? Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching www.civilrightsteaching.org The example presented here represents a U.S. history unit on the Delano Grape Strike.
The teacher introduced the unit by asking the students if anyone in class has ever heardof or knew about the Delano Grape Strike or boycott. No one did. The teacher then gavethree assignments: (1) spend the balance of class time in the library finding informationon the strike; (2) after school interview parents on what they knew or remembered aboutthe strike; and, (3) be prepared to discuss the Delano Grape Strike in class the next day.
The balance of the next day’s class revolved around what was, who was involved, why, and what events made up the strike based on the findings of the students with additionalinformation from the teacher. A list of events from each class were placed on the blackboardfrom the class discussions. The third day of the unit a guest speaker, a woman who wasactively involved in the grape strike, gave an overall history of the strike and shared emotionalpersonal experiences of her involvement. The fourth day of the unit, the teacher passed out asheet of paper with a number of events that made up the Delano Grape Strike episode. Hethen introduced the acto activity in which five groups of six students would choose one eventto be designed into an acto skit. The sequence of the five actos would provide the class aglimpse in the events of the Delano Grape Strike.
One of the five groups choose two related events that took place in December, 1965, in the San Francisco Bay area. The DiGiorgio Corporation, a California grape grower who hadlocked out the National Farm Workers Association and employed “scab” workers, was toship scab-picked grapes through the Bay area ports. In two related instances, picketers fromthe Association and friends of the farmworker movement caused the dock longshoremen notto load the grapes, which in turn rotted and cost the DiGiorgio Corporation a tremendous lossof money and gave the National Farm Workers Association a victory.
The reason the group choose this event was because a father of one of the group’s members had actually participated in the two events. Based on an interview with thefather and information from news articles, the group designed a five scene acto entitled“What’s Up at the Docks, Doc?” Scene 1:Three characters: a campesino, DiGiorgio, and “scab” worker. No scenery. Thecampesino begins to narrate the story by providing background and naming the charac-ters included in the play. DiGiorgio tells the audience how he is going to issue a courtorder to prohibit the National Farm Workers Association from interfering with theshipment of his grapes. The campesino reminds the audience the grapes are no goodbecause—he points to the “scab” worker—the grapes have been picked by “scab” labor.
A student walks across the stage with a “boo, hiss” sign.
Scene 2:Four characters: a judge, DiGiorgio’s lawyer, two picketers. No scenery. Props: Twopicket signs held by the two picketers, a large piece of paper with large words “IN-JUNCTION.” The judge asks the two picketers to stand up. She then tells them she isgiving the DiGiorgio lawyer an “injunction” to stop the farmworkers with interfering withthe shipment of DiGiorgio’s grapes. The lawyer, with a big grin, flashes the “injunction”in the faces of the two picketers. A person walks across the stage with a “boo, hiss”sign. One of the two picketers turns to the audience and asks them what would they do:interfere or not? A small discussion with the audience takes place.
Scene 3:Five characters: truck driver/DiGiorgio’s lawyer, dock boss, a longshoreman, two picket-ers. Scenery: A backdrop with a building, a dock, and a ship. Props: Two picket signs, Copyright 1995 George Chilcoat www.civilrightsteaching.org and a sign saying “Pier 37” taped to the scenery, a cardboard truck with a side panelindicating “DiGiorgio’s Grapes,” and the “Injunction paper.” The truck driver/lawyer“drives” up to Pier 37, gets out of the truck and tells the dock boss the grapes are to beunloaded onto the ship at the dock. The dock boss turns to the longshoreman and tells himto load the grapes in the truck onto the ship. Then two picketers with their picket signsheld very high walk up to the lawyer. The lawyer pulls out the “injunction” and tells thepicketers they cannot interfere or picket. It is illegal because of the “injunction.” The twopicketers ask “what is an ‘injunction’?” The lawyer explains. The two picketers leave.
Two more picketers (the same students) return to the lawyer. They are each wearing anew sign around their neck. The picket signs are held high. They tell the lawyer they aretwo new picketers. The lawyer exclaims they cannot picket because of the “injunction.”The two picketers ask “what is an ‘injunction’?” The lawyer explains. This event isrepeated one more time with the picketers each wearing a third sign. The longshoremantells the dock boss he is not going to cross a picket line in order to load the grapes. Thedock boss tells the lawyer to drive the grapes away because he is losing business. He doesnot need the grapes. The lawyer/truck driver backs the truck off stage. The two picketerscheer. A student walks on the stage with a sign saying “The DiGiorgio Corporation lost$50,000 in grapes.” Another student follows with a sign “BUENO.” Scene 4:Three characters: DiGiorgio, the lawyer, and “50” policeman (representing 50 policemen).
No scenery. Props: The “injunction” and a cardboard bullhorn. DiGiorgio tells his lawyerand the “50” policeman they need a new plan. He has got to ship his grapes. The lawyersays the grapes will be shipped after Christmas at the Howard Terminal on the GrooveStreet Pier. DiGiorgio asks what needs to be done to stop the farmworker pickets. The“50” policeman answers the lawyer that he will read the “injunction” over the bullhorn toavoid the delaying tactics used at Pier 37. The “50” policeman then will draw a line toallow the grapes to be shipped. If the picketers then try to picket, the “50” policeman willarrest the picketers and the grapes will still be shipped. “Great Plan!” exclaims DiGiorgio.
A student walks across the stage with a sign “Boo, Hiss.” Another student with thecampesino sign around her neck follows and asks the audience what the farmworkers andpicketers should do now? A short discussion with the audience follows.
Scene 5:Six characters: Truck driver/lawyer, “50” policeman, dock boss, a longshoreman, and twopicketers. Scenery: A backdrop with a building, a dock, and a ship. Props: Two picketsigns, a sign saying “Howard Terminal” taped to the scenery, the cardboard truck, the“injunction,” and a cardboard bullhorn. The truck driver/lawyer “drives” to HowardTerminal, gets out, and tells the dock boss he has some grapes to ship. The dock boss tellsthe longshoreman to load the grapes on the ship. Two picketers appear as does the “50”policeman. The “50” policeman draws a line on the floor of the stage with a piece ofchalk. The lawyer using the bullhorn reads the injunction to the picketers. The picketerstake one step back and yell “We can’t hear you!” The “50” policeman yells through thebullhorn if the picketers cross the “police line” to interfere with the longshoreman, thepicketers will be arrested. The two picketers go out into the audience and ask for avolunteer picketer who then comes on stage. The two picketers put a sign “picketer”around the neck of the volunteer, gives her a picket sign, and tells her to cross the “policeline” with them. As the three cross the “police line,” the “50” policeman grabs the “volun-teer,” puts her arm behind her back, pretends to kick her, and yells “You are under arrest!”The longshoreman is furious at the actions of the “50” policeman and refuses to go towork until the “50” policeman leaves the area. He then yells “Those grapes will rot beforeI touch them!” The picketers cheer. The dock boss tells the “50” policeman and thelawyer to leave and take the grapes away. The lawyer tells the dock boss the picket lineswere illegal, he has to ship the grapes. One of the picketers changes her sign to the sign of Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching www.civilrightsteaching.org “The Judge.” Now as the judge she tells the audience indeed the picket lines are illegal,but the longshoreman has the right to refuse to work due to safety reasons, and the dockboss did not need to ship the grapes. The lawyer/truck driver backs the truck off stage.
A student walks across the stage with a sign saying “The DiGiorgio Corporation lost$20,000 in grapes,” followed by another student with a sign “BUENO!” The play was presented to the class followed by a lively discussion on the rights of Copyright 1995 by George Chilcoat. Reprinted with permission from George Chilcoat, “El Acto:Studying the Hispanic-American Experience through the Farm Worker Theater,” The Social Studies, vol. 86,no. 4 (July/August 1995).
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