And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole
Objective: By introducing a book where a zoo keeper make a family feel like they matter and are included, we hope to engage students in a lesson about what it means to feel included and to matter.
Rationale: And Tango Makes Three is a story that details how a zookeeper tried to make two male penguins feel like they could have a family. This very touching and true moment justifies that all people should feel included. Students need to be aware that some folks within the classroom sometimes don't feel like they "matter," and in fact, feel "marginalized." By working with the definitions of "marginalizing" and "mattering," we'll explore scene deconstruction and inclusion. As a final note, we'll begin to design our class project - something that will make all students in the class feel welcome and included throughout the entire year.
1.Warm up: Going to the Zoo -Pretend like we’re going to the zoo, we’ll pass around an empty bag and have each student pack an imaginary item that they’ll need to take with them to the zoo.
2. Read book: And Tango Makes Three
3. Warm up: Animal motion - Have children stand in a circle and pass around an animal sound and motion. One person will make an animal sound and motion, and then everyone will repeat it back to them.
4. Main Activity
A. (For students 5-7 years old) Summary Skits
Divide students into groups of three to six (depending on what part of the plot they’ll be retelling). The groups of six will either be reenacting the beginning section of the story, where Silo and Roy are not able to hatch their “egg”, the middle section where the Zoo Keeper realizes that they want to hatch an egg and gives them a real one, or the end of the book where Silo and Roy have hatched Tango. The students will act out a summary of their given scene, providing dialogue to get across feelings and interactions without a narrator. They will practice in their group for 20 minutes, and then have the whole class share their skits for another 20 minutes.
B. (For students 8-11 years old) Emotion Sculptures
Break students into groups of three. Each group will receive a paper telling them which character to act out, during a certain point in the plot:
1. Roy when he meets Silo.
2. Silo when he sees a penguin a couple with a baby.
3. The zookeeper when he sees Roy and Silo with rock “egg”.
4. Silo when they get real egg.
5. Roy when Tango hatches.
6. Tango when he’s hatched.
These sculptures only feature the emotions of one character, in three different stages of of the emotion. A phrase is added to the physical expression of the motion, i.e. in plot point 2 (Silo when he sees a penguin a couple with a baby), there might be three physical expressions of a sad emotion where one person would say “I want a baby”, another would say “Where is my egg?”, and a third would say “I’m sad”. Students will perform statues after ten minutes of deliberation.
5. Cool down/ Discussion:Define mattering, marginalizing, inclusion and how they work in the book. Talk to class about creating guidelines and activities that make folks feel like they matter. Design an affirmation project for the class. Some examples:
a. Affirmation Notebook: a collection of individual self-affirming worksheets that are compiled, created, and done by the students throughout the year. Students can write positive things they feel about themselves, and also write things in other people’s notebooks if they notice positive behavior coming from another student.
b. Special Mailbox Notes: mail boxes are set up for each student. All students write each other anonymous affirming notes throughout the year.
c. Good Deeds Wall: students can write post-it’s of different good deeds that they have witnessed another student doing.
Assessment: Most of your assessment will be found in the discussion part of the lesson. If students feel motivated to engage in an all class project about creating community/making other students feel included - the lesson has had some effect.
Extensions: To do more work about homosexuality/homophobia in the classroom, consider the following texts:
- Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
- My Two Uncles by Judith Vigna
- King & King by Lenda de Haan and Stern Nijland Berkeley
Social Justice Training on Mattering and Marginalizing - From the Orientation Training for Hampshire College Orientation Leaders - August 2009
Richardson, Justin, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole. And Tango Makes Three. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005. Print.
Prutzman, Priscilla. The Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet: A Handbook on Creative Approaches to Living and Problem Solving for Children. Wayne: Avery, 1978.
Washington Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia . "Spotlight on Drama in the Classroom, K-6." (1975): 1-91. Print.