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Study Guide | Film

Sancho: An Act of Remembrance

Enrichment Activities

Pre-Workshop Activity 1: “No Better Than a Slave”

Students will explore the recent backlash against the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and relate our current situation to what Sancho endured in trying to vote.


OVERVIEW
As mentioned in the introduction, the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County V. Holder essentially gutted the federal protections provided by the Voting Rights Act. Many states now require a government-issued ID to vote, a requirement that will have a disproportionate impact on minority voters. One would hope that an audience watching a work like Sancho might be able to approach it from the distance of history, confident in the knowledge that we have advanced far beyond the obstacles that almost prevented Sancho from being able to cast his vote nearly two and a half centuries ago. In this exercise, students will research the case and create a position paper arguing against the Shelby decision; in the process, they will come to understand that Sancho’s problems are still very much our own.

OBJECTIVES
Students will:

1. Research the conditions that nearly prevented Sancho from casting his vote as a free property owner in 1774, as well as the new voter ID laws created in the last three years by 17 states.

2. Discuss the connections between Sancho’s time and ours, and write a summation statement for an argument against Shelby.

PROCEDURE

1. Divide the class in half. Have one group of students research Sancho’s case, and the other half research the recent voter ID laws.

2. Pair up students from the two groups and have them discuss the connections, similarities and differences between the two situations.

3. Discuss as a class the connections between the two situations. While this is happening, students should take notes for a position paper for an imagined argument before the Supreme Court against the Shelby decision.

4. Have students write a position paper of 300 to 400 words or so as a summation argument against Shelby. Be sure that students include evidence, quotes from experts, and statistics to make their case. Students should present their speeches as oral arguments to the class.

5. Students should find out who their Congressperson is and how to contact him or her via e-mail. Based on what they have learned from their research and their presentations, they should write an e-mail to their representative expressing their feelings about the new laws and asking their representative to take the appropriate actions.

MATERIALS
Internet access for research and e-mail contact.

ASSESSMENT
The above activities will be assessed via rubrics that may be created by the teacher alone or in conjunction with his or her students.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.9: Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"), including how they address related themes and concepts.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.



Pre-Workshop Activity 2: Portrait of the Artist

In this exercise, students analyze in detail the famous portrait of Sancho by Thomas Gainsborough that inspired Paterson Joseph to write his one-man show.


OVERVIEW
As students will see in the clips from Joseph’s one-man show on Sancho, the only ornamentation on stage is a copy of Gainsborough’s famous portrait of Sancho. Portraiture was an extremely popular form of painting in Sancho’s time, but it was almost unheard of in the England of that time for a person of color to be the subject of a portrait by as famous an artist as Gainsborough. Students will learn about the art of portraiture by examining the work of several artists, and explore what a painted portrait can tell us about its subject. They will then apply this analysis to the Gainsborough painting and describe what it tells us about Sancho. Finally, using art materials or a camera, they will create a portrait of a classmate that uses the tools and techniques of portraiture to tell the viewer about his or her subject.

OBJECTIVES
Students will:

1. Learn about how artists have used the elements of portraiture to tell us things about their subject.

2. Apply this knowledge to an analysis of Gainsborough’s portrait.

3. Use this knowledge to create portraits of their own.

PROCEDURE

1. Begin by having the class look at the most famous portrait ever painted, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Have students examine the portrait closely and jot down the details that a viewer can learn about the subject.

2. As a class, make a list of tools that a portraitist has to tell us about his or her subject across time. Among these elements are facial expression, clothing or costume, position and pose, what if anything the subject is holding or carrying, what is in the background of the painting, and what objects are included in the painting along with the subject.

3. Break up the class into five groups and assign one of the following paintings to each group:

Portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sergeant

Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler

American Gothic by Grant Wood

Self-Portrait with Bandage by Vincent Van Gogh

Using what the class has learned in the first two steps, have each group make a list of things they learned about their respective subjects from their portraits. For each element, the group should be able to point to specific elements in the painting that led them to their conclusions. If time permits, they should present their conclusions to the class.

4. In pair groups, examine in close detail the Gainsborough portrait of Sancho from 1768. Have each pair make a list of things they learned about Sancho from the portrait, and then have them share out with the class.

5. Have each student create a portrait of their partner using either drawing materials or a camera phone. Remind students of the elements great portraitists use in teaching us about their subject.

6. Finally, have students write a brief journal entry describing the process of creating the portrait of the partner, and what they were trying to tell us about their subject.

MATERIALS
Internet access to view the above mentioned portraits, art supplies and a digital camera (if available).

ASSESSMENT
The above activities will be assessed via rubrics that may be created by the teacher alone or in conjunction with his or her students.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

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.)

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.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.



Post-Workshop Activity 1: “Consider Slavery—what it is—how bitter a draught, and how many millions are made to drink it.”

Students will explore the choices that Paterson Joseph makes in bringing the story of Sancho to life.


OVERVIEW
In creating Sancho, Paterson Joseph achieves something of an artistic miracle. On the one hand, he gives us a detailed and specific portrait of a figure nearly lost to history. Yet at the same time, he makes Sancho’s story a universal emblem of the struggle to end the cruel horrors of slavery. Students will analyze the ways in which Joseph is able to achieve these two goals at the same time.

OBJECTIVES
Students will:

1. Hear Sancho’s story in his own voice by reading an excerpt from his published letters.

2. Observe how Joseph uses the techniques of acting and the format of the one-man show to bring Sancho’s voice to life.

3. Write a critical review of Joseph’s performance.

PROCEDURE

1. Have students read three or four letters of their choice from the online text of The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, available at docsouth.unc.edu.

2. With a partner, have students write about Sancho’s voice in these letters. How does he use language, rhetoric, and literary elements to tell us about himself and his place in the world? Share these responses out with the class, and as a class, create a list of the elements that characterize Sancho’s voice.

3. Watch the three clips from Joseph’s performance as Sancho.

4. Discuss with the class the idea that performance is all about choice. Actors use gesture, movement, tone of voice, facial expression and other tools to convey the elements of a character. Then have students return to their pair groups and list some of the choices that Joseph made in bringing Sancho’s story to life.

5. Discuss with the class the effectiveness of Joseph’s choices, being sure to cite specific examples. Have the class compare Joseph’s portrayal of Sancho’s voice to the conclusions they made about Sancho’s own voice from his letters. Is Joseph successful in showing us the essence of Sancho? How does he achieve this?

6. Have students write a review of two to three paragraphs critiquing Joseph’s performance as Sancho. In their review, students should focus on the choices Joseph made (and the ones he chose not to make) in his performance.

MATERIALS
The video clips of the play, access to the Internet for the text of Sancho’s letters.

ASSESSMENT
The above activities will be assessed via rubrics that may be created by the teacher alone or in conjunction with his or her students. Students may also write an answer to the following prompt: “Paterson Joseph succeeds in bringing Sancho to life because _________.”

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2: Determine a central idea of a text and analyze 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.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

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.



Post-Workshop Activity 2: A One-Person Show

In this activity, students will reflect on the nature of the one-person show, and then will use their research to create and perform their own one-person shows.


OVERVIEW
As mentioned above, Paterson Joseph stated that he chose to present Sancho’s story as a one-man show because he saw it as the most effective and powerful way to bring Sancho’s story and ideals to life with a minimum of distraction. The class will discuss the relative merits of the format, and how Sancho’s story might have been more or less effective had it been presented in a more traditional theatrical form. They will also discuss how Joseph chooses to focus particularly on the pivotal moment as Sancho tries to cast his vote in the Parliamentary elections of 1774. They will then choose a figure from history that interests them and focus on a critical moment in their subject’s life. They will then write and perform a three- to five-minute monologue in which they try convey a sense of what their subject was thinking and feeling at this critical juncture.

OBJECTIVES
Students will:

1. Focus on the positive and negative aspects of using the one-person show as a format.

2. Research a figure from history, focusing on a pivotal moment in his or her life.

3. Use the research to create a short monologue for presentation.

PROCEDURE

1. Have students write a journal entry assessing Joseph’s choice to tell Sancho’s story as a one-man show. Have them describe at least one advantage and at least one disadvantage of this approach. Share out the answers, and discuss as a class.

2. Have students create a list of three or four figures from history that interest them. After doing some research, have them narrow their list down to one figure. Have them discuss with their partners why they chose that figure.

3. Having chosen their subject, have students continue their research and choose a pivotal moment in their subject’s life. Again, have them turn to their partner and discuss why they made the choice they did.

4. Re-watch the clips from Sancho, focusing this time on the writing. Discuss as a class how Joseph chooses his words in such a way that he brings Sancho’s thoughts and emotions to life in this critical moment.

5. Using Joseph’s work as a model, have students write monologues capturing their figure from history in a pivotal moment. When they are finished, have them swap with their partner and offer constructive criticism of their partner’s work. Have students return the papers to the author for revision.

6. Have students present their monologues to the class.

MATERIALS
Video clips from the play, Internet access for research.

ASSESSMENT
The above activities will be assessed via rubrics that may be created by the teacher alone or in conjunction with his or her students.

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.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.5: Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.

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.9-10.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.