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Transcript of OUR Town
What connections can you make between the clips to any specific scenes or characters from the play?
How might Thornton Wilder, author of "Our Town," respond to either the video or the song? Do you think Wilder has a positive or a negative view of small towns? Does The Simpsons creator? Does Mellencamp? Writing! After reading "Our Town," we might revisit our initial likes and dislikes list and our tally. Common Core Standard: Reading CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. Common Core Standards: Writing CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.) Our Claim Assignments Media Integrations Revisit and Paper Prep. We believe that although "Our Town" is an old-fashioned play, students can still relate to it.
"Our Town" is about the universal experience of being human as well as the significance of individual life. Making Connections After reading "Our Town" and revisiting our initial feelings about towns, students will watch an episode of The Simpsons and listen to a song by John Mellencamp. They will be watching and listening for connections to "Our Town." Frontloading We want to provoke students thinking about small towns by first thinking about their own. In groups, students will discuss their towns.
Is it small, medium, or large?
Is it urban, suburban, or rural?
What other characteristics can they come up with about it?
The group will compile two lists of things they like and things they dislike about their town. Then they will take a tally of how many of them they think will eventually leave their town to go away, perhaps to college, and how many will stay. Finally, groups will share their lists and tallies aloud, and we will compile whole class lists. Students could also draw maps of their towns and share them with their groups. What is similar about their maps? What is different? They could then present their maps to the class, or present their maps in pairs, having a partner share the important parts of the other's map. Reading "Our Town" 1. The cornerstone, pg. 33
2. Rebecca's friend's letter, pg. 46
3. The eternal "thing" about humans, pg. 87 Write a memo from Wilder to The Simpsons' creator, Matt Groening, imagining what Wilder's comments might be. Does he think Springfield captures the eternalness of humans and the universality of small towns while also highlighting the importance of the individual? http://www.wtsof.com/watch/S7E16-lisa-the-iconoclast "So- people a thousand years from now- this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century.- This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying," (33). "I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover's Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America.... But listen, it's not finished: the United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God- that's what it said on the envelope," (46). "People just wild with grief have brought their relatives up to this hill. We all know how it is...and then time...and sunny days...and rainy days...'n snow...We're all glad they're in a beautiful place and we're coming up here ourselves when our fit's over....
We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars...everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings....There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being," (87-88). Maybe some students have decided that there is something else they appreciate/like about their town, or something they realized they dislike about it. Maybe some have changed their mind about whether they will leave or stay. The point would be to discern why their ideas may or may not have changed either in discussion or writing. Write from the perspective of any of the characters from "Our Town," as if you had listened to "Small Town," by John Mellencamp. Respond to the song, expressing your own views of Grover's Corners. What have you valued about living there? What regrets might you have? Examples: Mrs. Gibbs, Emily, George, etc. Write a letter from a character from The Simpsons to a parallel character in "Our Town." What do you have in common? How are your experiences different? What advice might you have given that person? Examples: Lisa to Emily, Barney to Simon Stimson, Apu to Howie Newsome, etc. Write from your own perspective comparing your town and the people who live there to Grover's Corners. How does John Mellencamp's song, "Small Town," capture the idea of the universal and the individual as applied to your town and Grover's Corners? Common Core Standards: Speaking and Listening CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Various scenes in "Our Town" demonstrate this paradox between the universal and the individual.