Paper Doll Project

This is the project that I will use for my thesis project at SSU. The project has been designed to create empathy amongst middle school students. It is based on a “social construction of reality” theory by De’Andrade.

Feel free to use any or all of it if you think it would a project you could use.

Running Head: Social Construction of Reality

Curriculum Development Project

Paper Dolls: A Social Construction of Reality

Mary Lynn Bryan

Sonoma State University



The curriculum proposed in this paper will be based primarily on the “Social Construction of Reality” theory by Roy D’Andrade. The curriculum is also grounded in philosophy and theory by the work of Beane, Freire, and Vygotsky.

The curriculum proposed is based on a practical application of D’Andrade’s Social Construction of Reality theory and his propositions that involve how people interpret and value certain situations. Based on D’Andrade’s theory, a curriculum specifically designed for seventh and eighth graders will be introduced. It is called “Paper Dolls.” The curriculum provides opportunities for middle school students to view situations from different perspectives and reflect upon how their own perspectives might have been formed. The curriculum is designed to help students become aware of how they have come to create their own set of values and how and why they view certain situations in a particular way.

The work of James Beane, and Paolo Freire will be discussed in relationship to learning as a process rather than a product and these theorists’ belief that education should begin with the needs of the child or learner (Dewey 1929, Beane 1977, Freire 1970). Additionally, the work of Lev Vygotsy regarding how children learn will also be examined in relationship to the proposed curriculum.

Additional Criteria

As an additional criterion, I will discuss why I have chosen D’Andrade’s theory in particular and why I feel it is a match for my middle school students.

Secondly, there is an Appendix attached that outlines each day’s lessons for this unit including Social Studies and Language Arts. This includes a Unit Overview and individual day plans.


Why I have chosen this philosophical/theoretical perspective

Although this curriculum is primarily based on the work by D’Andrade, it is important to discuss the additional philosophies and theories that have been utilized to create this curriculum as they are also a foundation for the unit. I have selected these philosophies and theorists because they are most closely aligned with my own educational philosophy, pedagogy, and the project itself. Although not entirely similar in their beliefs about how best to educate students, the theorists/educators share several things in common. Dewey, Beane, and Freire all believe that education should start with the needs of the child/learner. As I have read different theorists throughout the course of this semester, I understand most of them to fall into two camps. One camp starts with the knowledge that is believed to be best to teach to children. This pedagogy includes teaching the child “essential knowledge;” knowledge that he or she must have in order to function in society, the global community, etc. and  includes philosophers such as  Bobbitt, Adler, Hirsch, and Bennett. Historically, this “essential knowledge” originates outside of the child and is determined by the needs of such groups such as businesses and corporations, textbook companies, and/or the state and federal government. I am not philosophically opposed to students having a base of knowledge that will assist them in learning, in thinking critically, in being functioning people in society; I am opposed to a curriculum that is only that.

Our current educational culture is standards-based and test driven. Teachers are compared to teachers, schools are compared to “like schools,” and students are compared to other “like students.”  I believe that there is no child left in No Child Left Behind. Thus, the other camp including the educator/theorists that I have mentioned such as Dewey, Beane, and Freire advocate initiating education with the child. They are joined by others such as Horton, Giroux, Greene, and Noddings. I certainly may be oversimplifying by separating these theorists into only two camps, but I make the distinction as follows: the first group mentioned is primarily concerned with what children should learn, the second more concerned with what and how children should learn.

Since the introduction of NCLB in 2001, the amount of time spent on anything beyond academics in the school day has greatly decreased. Children are required to learn certain facts and teachers are required to teach certain content. Nowhere in the California State Curriculum Standards is there mention of how we might address children as human beings; as whole persons. The closest I could find is regarding how students should treat each other and is contained within the 2008 California Framework for Physical Education.

Physical education offers unique opportunities to bring students together in non-threatening ways that emphasize fairness and cooperation. Because physical education involves students working and playing together, students learn the personal and social skills, values, and attitudes needed for effective, positive social interaction. Disparaging remarks about an individual’s disabilities, ethnicity, gender, native language, race, religion, or sexual orientation are not tolerated. Sarcasm and “put-downs” are considered inappropriate behavior and addressed with each student according to a student discipline plan, behavior contracts, etc. Conversely, positive social skills are modeled, taught, reinforced, and assessed regularly (Chap. 7, p. 212).

I am thrilled that these types of ideas (working and playing together, personal and social skills, lack of tolerance for disparaging remarks) are mentioned anywhere in the state standards but disappointed that they are neither a focus or even discussed anywhere else in the entire document. This distresses me and is a clear indication of our current educational climate.  It is neither fair nor feasible to put the onus on the Physical Education folks to be the only group of educators in our schools to address these types of issues with students. It is my belief that all teachers should be involved in the education of students as human beings and that “working and playing together” should be an aim of the educational process. Despite the state standards’ lack of direction and attention to this topic, I believe it is imperative that we address the needs of our students on a social and emotional level; if not, we are committing a great disservice to our students and our communities. “To move toward this vision will require new concepts of defining the learning process and evolving purposes of education. It will also require rethinking our current direction and practices. State and national standards must be critically reevaluated in terms of what is necessary to prepare students to be knowledgeable, responsible, and caring citizens” (McCombs as cited in Zins et al., 2004, p. 26) As a child cannot focus on the lesson at hand if he is hungry, a student cannot focus on what is being taught if his social and emotional needs are not being addressed (Zins, Weissberg, Wang, Walberg, 2004). In order to accomplish this, we may have to redirect our current direction and practices. We can maintain the teaching of standards, content, and skills, but we can also focus beyond these basics.

As an educator, I must ask myself, how do I best address the needs of my students beyond the academic? How do I help my students develop as caring, empathetic, compassionate human beings? How can I have some assurance that when students walk out of my classroom, and our school, that they will embody these characteristics as well? One option would be to purchase and implement one of the many pre-packaged curriculums that have been produced to promote character education, social and emotional learning, tolerance, even morals and values. Another would be to take a hard look at the hidden curriculum of the school. What is being explicitly and implicitly taught to students through what and how the curriculum is being is taught? What values are we teaching our students through the curriculum we choose to teach or not to teach and how we choose to teach it? What are the punishments and rewards in my classroom and at our school that send messages to students about what is right and wrong? I cannot determine what is best for every student or every school, but I am convinced, as Nel Noddings (as cited in Flinders and Thornton, 2003) promotes, that we talk about and begin with the “aims of education.” Why are we doing what we are doing in our school and how can we best serve our students?

I do not believe the needs of the students at our school can best be served by a pre-packaged curriculum developed by someone who is not acquainted with our students. Thus, the curriculum must begin with us; us being the educators in our school. We must work together to examine our aims, to ask why we are teaching what we are, and how we can be effective in helping our students to become caring, compassionate, human beings if those indeed are our aims.

The purpose of our school is stated below.

…to educate sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students to be responsible, respectful self-motivated learners who make positive contributions to their communities. We will accomplish this with the collaboration of teachers, parents and students who provide a nurturing learning environment that emphasizes academic competence, creative expression, and personal and social responsibility and models the values we want our students to learn (“River School,” 2007).

Within our mission statement we discuss and define what we mean by the word “respectand how we would like it to look in the classroom and in the school.

  • Respect the diversity of opinions by examining issues from multiple perspectives.
  • Value the uniqueness and contribution of each individual.
  • Work collaboratively with peers and teachers (“River School,” 2007).

“All schools should participate in discussions of what the goals and aims of their values education programs are to be” (Pyszkowski, 1986, p. 47). Our staff has what we call an “ongoing conversation” about our purpose and mission. Everything we do at the school is designed with our purpose in the forefront. Before we decide to do any new project, design curriculum, or talk about discipline, we revisit our purpose. If the new idea is not a match, we do not pursue the project.

The curriculum I am proposing is in line with my personal educational philosophy, the purpose and mission of our school, and specifically designed for the students within my classroom. I say “my classroom” not because I am unwilling to share this curriculum or believe that no one else is capable of teaching it but because it is a philosophical match for me as an educator of my students. So much of what happens in our classrooms of recent is curriculum that is forced upon us—curriculum that has been created by someone else and many times counter to our own educational philosophies. If someone was drawn to the curriculum proposed in this project, I would be more than happy to share it. I simply do not want to make assumptions that it would be a match for others—even at our school.

Philosophical/Theoretical Perspective of the Curriculum

The following section, will discuss the proposed curriculum based on individual educators and theorists. It is important to note that James Beane is grounded in Deweyan philosophy. Throughout his writings and work, Beane uses Dewey as a base for his philosophy and writings about education and the educational process.

James Beane

James Beane (1990) describes the debate over “…whether the curriculum should follow the “natural” instincts of the children or the intellectual interest of adults” (p. 22). A resolution to this debate was suggested by none other than John Dewey. Dewey proposed that “… the issue was not the child or the curriculum, but the child and the curriculum” (Dewey as cited in Beane, 1990, p. 22). Dewey talks about the “old education” and the “new education.” The former explains that Dewey viewed the interests of the child as something to be got away from as soon as possible while the latter viewed the interests of the child as something extremely significant. Beane (1990) explains that this controversy is still alive. As sensible as Dewey was about paying attention to the curriculum of children, the issue is unresolved and unsettled in education (p. 23).

Despite the debate and controversy, Beane (1990) advocates for putting what he terms as affect into the curriculum. This was 1990 but one could argue that the situation remains the same today.

Clearly, we are in an era when troubling symptoms evidenced in the behavior of young people, adults, and institutions suggest the need for a new look at affect in the curriculum. As issues related to cultural diversity, human rights, the distribution of wealth and justice, corruption in business and government, the ethics of technology and technicization, and so on more fully enter the public conscience, or at least its consciousness, the concern over affective issues will be even more heavily emphasized (p. 2).

Bean warns that the practitioner however, must address some critical questions before implementing affect into a curriculum. First of all, how does one define the word “affect” especially in the context of an educational setting? Secondly, how does one place or implement affect in the curriculum? And finally, how do we evaluate the effect of affect in the curriculum? These are tough questions to answer but if educators are not willing to attempt to answer them, cautions Beane, who will? (Beane, 1990, pp 2-3).

Several arguments are made by Beane for implementing affect into learning. In fact he states that to ignore or deny is it is “… incomplete and inhumane” (Beane, 1990, p. 7). For the purposes of this paper, the term affect will be defined as “those aspects of education that have to do with personal and social development” (Beane, 1990, ix). According to Beane, (1990) “…affect refers to a broad range of dimensions such as emotion, preference, choice, and feeling. These are based on beliefs, aspirations, attitudes, and appreciations regarding what is desired and desirable in personal development and social relationships” (p. 6). According to Beane, students arrive at school on day one as a “whole person” which includes their “affect.”

When young people arrive at school, for the first time and every day thereafter, they bring them with them their whole selves, including the affective aspects. Even before actually starting school, children typically construct some belief system about it, using what they have heard from adults, siblings, the media and other sources. These belief systems may amount to fear, anxiety, excited optimism, or a combination of those. Once children are in school, each day adds new experiences that may confirm, change, or refine, or otherwise alter their existing belief systems, preferences, or attitudes toward themselves or others in general or specifically in relation to school. Because these aspects reside within the individual and are integrated with other mental and physical characteristics, they cannot be left at the school doors or set aside in order to focus on those other characteristics (Beane, 1990, p. 7).

Thus, it is important, according to Beane, for the educator to realize that they are working with whole human beings that come to the classroom with a set of experiences, opinions, beliefs, fears, etc. If we as educators do not address the affect of the student, the child cannot be expected to fully develop as a human being. Beane claims that the student is looking for personal meanings that can be used to help form a system of beliefs, attitudes, preferences, etc. “The greater the opportunity for finding such meanings, the more likely that learning will be complete and satisfactory; the lesser the opportunity, the more likely learning experiences will be unsatisfactory, frustrating, and disengaging” (Beane, 1990, p. 8).

Another argument that Beane (1990) makes regarding affect is that education is supposed to result in improved thinking and behavior by the child, or at least a better than if a child did not attend school at all.  “Young people should not simply learn about ideas, but should also learn to apply them in the direction of ‘good’ lives” (p. 8). This step however requires that students “… develop some organization of preferences, appreciations, and attitudes on which to act” (pp. 8-9). In this way, knowledge is not merely an accumulation of facts that students passively take in but students working toward what Dewey refers to as full, active participation with meaningful outcomes. (Dewey as cited in Beane, 1990, p. 9)

Dewey also stated that the fundamental way in which education can aid social progress is through the moral development of the individual. “The aim of education is growth or development, both intellectual and moral. Ethical and psychological principles can aid the school in the greatest of all constructions—the building of a free and powerful character” (Dewey as cited in Kohlberg, 1975, p. 47).

Beane’s final arguments in terms of implementing affect into the curriculum are around the cultural diversity, gender bias, distribution of wealth, and family structures in the United States. “We can no longer continue to function as though the population were white and middle class, and thus marginalize people not fitting that description” (Beane, 1990, p. 77). He argues that if we as educators and an educational system can return to themes such as democracy, dignity, equality, caring, and justice, we can help students learn about themselves and others in a real and meaningful way. According to Beane, if we can meet the needs of the students, increase their self-esteem and personal efficacy, we may increase their ability to see others in a more positive and caring light.

Paolo Freire

Freire, like Dewey and Beane, was also an advocate of initiating learning with the learner and the teacher and student becoming equal partners in the educational process. In his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), Freire describes in great detail about what he terms, “The Banking Method.” This method of education, a widely used method, even in today’s schools and classrooms, is a model in which “…teachers teach and students are taught” (Freire, 1970, p. 54). The teacher is the holder of knowledge and the student is the empty vessel waiting to be filled. Freire argues adamantly against this pedagogical model and strongly advocates for teacher and student joining in a process of education that puts them on equal footing; they become partners in which they are jointly responsible for their own and each other’s education and educational process.

Freire proposes a method of problem posing, dialogue, and reflection as a pedagogical model. Freire believed that dialogue and problem-posing education is essential to learning. “Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with student-teachers. They become jointly responsible for a process in which we all grow. Problem posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality” (pp. 61-62). Freire goes on to say, “Without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education” (pp. 73-74). Thus, the educator must become partners with the learner; together, they must determine problems that might be of value to examine, talk about those problems, reflect upon them, dialogue, further reflect, dialogue, and so on. This method, according to Freire, will not only empower students but create more justice in the world because students are given the opportunity to determine and decide what is wrong in the world and figure out a way to fix it for themselves. This might include refusing to work for an oppressive boss, demanding more pay from a greedy employer, or learning how to vote. This is education according to Freire. It is a problem based pedagogy that is initiated and driven by the students.

Lee Semenovich Vygotsky

In the mid-1920’s, a theory was proposed by Vygotsky, a psychologist living in the Soviet Union who was heavily influenced by the social philosophy of Karl Marx. Vygotsky died early at 35 but his work was refined, revised, even embellished by other Soviet psychologists over the next 65 years (Thomas, 1999). Vygotsky made many proposals about how students think and learn but for the purpose of this paper, the focus will be on one of Vygotsky’s fundamental convictions that

…as children advance in age and experience, they engage in an increasing variety of activities. Their participation in those activities generates the contents of their minds. In effect, a person’s higher mental functions are social before they are internalized by the individual, and they become internalized by social interactions. Thus, what people do—their activities—are not just a result of what they think. Rather, what and how they think as a result of what they do (Thomas, 1999, pp. 44-45).

Vygotsky did not believe that this type of learning is a one way street; in fact, he believed it to be cyclical. His belief was that activity leads to thought; thinking about those activities can then lead to revising conduct or behavior in future activities. In this way, two key components of behavior and activity are contemplation and evaluation. Like Freire’s ideas about the process of learning evolving, Vygotsky believed in the cyclical nature of learning. A change in perception by the learner is brought about by participating in the types of activities that provide a space for thought and contemplation.

In addition, the model that Vygotsky proposed contained three important features that must be considered in the development of a child. One is the society’s history, the second is the child’s individual history, and the third is Vygotsky’s theory of the zone of proximal development or ZPD. The ZPD is “the set of actions that the child can perform when helped by another person, but which are not yet available to the child in his individual acting” (Thomas, 1999, p. 46). This differs from Piaget’s theory on cognitive development, i.e. that a child must be developmentally ready, or at a certain stage of development to learn before he or she is able to do so. Vygotsky believed that learning is bound to a “social context” and if provided with learning possibilities, a child will indeed learn and instruction should focus on the cultural practices of the learner (Efland, 2002, p. 41).

Guillermo and Blanck (as cited in Efland, 2002, p. 31) summarize the key factors of Vygotskian psychology that are relevant to education. First, Vygotsky believed that mental activity is unique to humans and that it evolves as a result of social learning. This is primarily from language learning but also through the “…internalization of culture and of social relationships” (p. 31). Secondly, that “…the mechanism of individual developmental change is rooted in society and culture” (p. 33). Thus, according to Vygotsky, culture, society, interpersonal relationships, and language are all instrumental in the learning process. This concept will be revisited in D’Andrade’s work later in the paper.

Sociological Perspective and Social Consciousness

As Freire explains, students do not come to school as an empty bank account. They are full of thoughts, ideas, values, and perspectives. They hold beliefs about other people and their relationship to those people. Thus, in addition to looking at students from a psychological perspective, Beane (1990) explains that we must also look at children from a sociological perspective in terms of the school and the classroom as culture.

Children coming to school, even for the first time, have prior beliefs about others based on age, ethnicity, physical characteristics, gender, neighborhood location, and other variables. Such beliefs are informed by prior experience and the particular information network of which children are a part (p. 9).

Students “carry meaning” to school, and meaning may emerge from the experiences that students have at school. According to Beane, schools must pay attention to this fact if they want to contribute to a “…just, moral, and efficacious sense of community” (p. 9). The proposed curriculum is based on the idea that students do indeed bring themselves—all of themselves to school and much of what they bring to school comes from what they have learned and internalized from the cultures within which they exist.

Dewey (1929) believed that a child forms social consciousness at birth (p. 291).

I believe that—all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual’s powers, saturates his consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions (p. 291).

Dewey also believed that the educational process should have two sides, one psychological and one sociological and that neither should be ignored nor neglected. By addressing both of these needs of the child, the psychological and social aspects, a child will be in charge of him/herself and be ready for any situation that puts itself in front of him/her. (p. 292).

Values Education/Values Clarification

Various and assorted philosophies and even packaged character education programs came about between Dewey and the present; some secular, some religious, some based on morals, values, and ethics. A few as cited by Beane (1990) are a shift away from the moral education based/indoctrination programs and toward a more reflective approach. The first was a book titled Values and Teaching written by Louis Rath in the early 1960’s. Rath’s book was based on Dewey’s concepts of valuing and thinking and emphasized a cognitive, reflective, questioning, approach.  Rath’s technique of questioning, the non-judgmental tone of the book, and the description of valuing on which both were based became known as “values clarification” (p. 45).

Another program that became very popular was a program developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg used a cognitive-development approach to moral education. Based on the work of Dewey and Piaget, Kohlberg argued that “…moral reasoning could be described as a series of predictive stages that were related to age, to stages of cognitive development, and to increasingly complex concepts of justice (Beane, p. 45, 1990). Kohlberg made suggestions as to how teachers might “elevate moral reasoning” through the use of moral dilemmas. At the first level of Kohlberg’s theory, the child does the right thing to receive rewards or avoid punishment. At level two, children tend to do what is right based on self-interest (“What’s in it for me?”). In Level three, children do the right thing because they believe they should be a nice person and want the approval of the group to which they belong (Vatterott, 2007, p. 101).

According to Beane (1990), Kohlberg’s philosophy was more widely accepted than the values clarification approach because it is acceptable to describe the different stages a child might go through based on their age but to suggest that schools might talk about values is another thing entirely. According to Vatterott (2007), many schools function at level one—that is, the most widely utilized method of controlling students is through reward and punishment programs and through the use of point systems, grades, and honor rolls. Vatterott goes on to say that these programs do little to enhance self-esteem or the moral development of the child (pp. 100-101).

But as Kohlberg (1975) explains, children are not “…born at an autonomous or self-directing level” (p. 47). Autonomy is learned and develops over time. Students must be provided with opportunities to develop their self-directedness—not by indoctrination warns Kohlberg but by supplying situations that will aid the students though different moral levels. These situations can provide the student with opportunities to construct their own standard of behavior through reflection and self-judgment. (pp. 47-48)

This is not too unlike Freire (1999) who discusses the idea of problem solving and reflection. Freire, would not advocate for the teacher creating these problems or scenarios like Kohlberg might, but he does believe there is much value in the problem-solving model.

Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to themselves in the world and with the world, feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge. Because they apprehend the challenge as interrelated to other problems within a total context, not as a theoretical question, the resulting comprehension tends to be increasingly critical and thus constantly less alienated. (1999, p. 62).

Freire also advocates for problem solving because he believed that it affirms people as “beings in the process of becoming—as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a likewise unfinished reality” (p. 65).

What all these theorists and theories seem to have in common is providing students the opportunity to respond, reflect, problem solve, reflect some more, and make decisions based on their own reflections. The proposed curriculum reflects this model of problem posing and problem solving through the scenario that is discussed with students.

Roy D’Andrade and the Social Construction of Reality

The proposed curriculum project has its philosophical groundings in the theorists and theories that have been discussed up to this point. The proposed curriculum however is designed and based on the Social Construction of Reality theory and the work of Roy D’Andrade who makes propositions about culture and human cognition. First it is important to explain what D’Andrade means by culture.

Culture consists of shared systems of meaning and understanding, communicated primarily by means of natural language. These meanings and understandings are not just representations about what is in the world; they are also directive, evocative, and reality constructing in character. Through these systems of meanings and understandings, individuals adapt to their physical environment, structure interpersonal relationships, and adjust psychologically to problems and conflicts (D’Andrade as cited in Thomas, 1990, p. 48).

Based on this definition, students come to shared meanings about things around them by the things around them and through language. Not only do students share meanings created by their culture but use these meaning to direct themselves and adapt to and deal with their physical environment and psychological issues. This theory fits comfortably with that of Vygotsky’s.

D’Andrade claims that the source of the culturally shared meanings that people display (or how we come to know and believe what we know) are the social institutions with which people interact such as the family, school, church, peer group, neighborhood, and mass communication media (internet, television, radio, books, newspapers, magazines). “The dominant modes of thought conveyed in those institutions are the ones people typically adopt” (D’Andrade as cited in Thomas, 1999, p. 49). According to D’Andrade then, students would come to know what they know and believe what they believe from everything that surrounds them everyday; school being one of these institutions or groups.

However, D’Andrade adds that such culturally shared meanings are not the only factors that affect what people think and do. Other influential variables are social conditions such as economic prosperity or depression, war or peace, and the crime rate; environmental conditions such as climate, abundance or lack natural resources; how influence or power is distributed in the society, economic opportunity; and finally, individuals’ personality characteristics and genetic endowment must also be considered (p.49). If we accept the idea that reality is a social construction D’Andrade proposes, then each individual’s beliefs about the nature of the world will most likely reflect the general conception of reality held within that individual’s culture (D’Andrade, 1999, pp. 49-50). It is important to reiterate that D’Andrade’s definition of culture is focuses on “shared meanings and understandings.” Also, that the social conditions in which one lives will have a definitive impact on how a person responds to his/her environment. Both of these concepts will be discussed in the unit.

Why the Social Construction of Reality theory?

The moment I read about the Social Construction of Reality theory and the work of D’Andrade, I knew that I wanted to try and implement it someway, somehow in my classroom. I live in a world of “all about me” and an “everyone must be the same” reality. I work in a middle school thus much of this reality is due to the appropriate developmental stages of middle schoolers (Vatterott, 2007). Middle schoolers are supposed to be figuring out who they are which can lead them to being somewhat self-centered as they become their own primary focus of attention.  And as they are deciding who they are, they are also working very hard to fit in with others—to not stand out amongst their peers by being different in any way. This awkward developmental stage can cause a middle schooler to lack perspective and be extremely intolerant toward those who don’t fit the mold of how one is “supposed to act, look, dress, and be” in middle school. Those who break the unwritten rules of “middle school culture” may very well suffer at the words and actions of their peers.

I say this with much love and affection for this age group but I have seen the impact that an individual or a group can have on someone that is perceived to be “different than the norm.” So what is the norm, one might ask? How is this norm established? How does this norm evolve and establish itself fully within and outside the walls of the middle school classroom? Where does “what is valued” come from? Who decides or how is it decided as to what is cool and uncool in school?

Every year I have students in my classes that don’t fit in.  This can be related to the real or the perceived reality of one’s peers and includes such factors as a child’s ethnicity, gender performance or experimentation, socio-economic level, ethnicity, intelligence (being too smart or not smart enough), being too masculine or too feminine, being gay, being popular or not popular. Within the classroom, I can talk about these issues and attempt to maintain a climate of respect, I can build community, I can talk about differences, I can encourage understanding and acceptance, but there is not too much I can do once students walk outside of my classroom into the big, bad world of middle school or the community. And even using the word, “maintain” in terms of respect is a bit sketchy. If I am having to “maintain” my students then what would their actions be if I were not present? How is the “class geek” treated at recess or in the locker room? Has anything I have said and done in terms of building community and respecting differences been internalized by my students? Sadly, I really could not say with much certainty. Thus when I read D’Andrade’s theory and practical application of it, I knew I could think of a way to use it with my students in a way that might have lasting impact.

A practical application of the Social Construction of Reality theory by D’Andrade consists of a list of questions that can be used with students. He describes the use of these questions as a reality-clarification activity. A discussion is built around a sequence of questions that focus on the beliefs about causes of events and on the likely consequences of people’s responses to the events as founded on the estimates of their cause (Thomas, 1999, pp. 50-51). Below is the list of questions D’Andrade proposes one might use to help students reveal what is real for them.

  1. What do I believe happened? This question is about a specific event, either an event in the speaker’s own life (a high mark on a math test, the death of a relative, finding 10 dollars in the street, a dream) an event directly witnessed (an argument or fight with a classmate) or an event from the media (a person winning a large amount of money in a lottery, an earthquake, a miraculous recovery from a fatal illness).

  1. Why did that happen? What caused it? The intention of this query is to reveal the factors that the speaker believes were responsible for the event, with each of these factors serving as something real to that individual and with the proposed connections among the factors reflecting the speaker’s view of causal reality.
  1. Why do I hold such a set of beliefs? That is where or from whom such a way of explaining the event? The aim of this step is to elicit the speaker’s opinion about the origins of this conception of reality and to identify which parts of the conception have been socially constructed—that is, which parts are embedded in cultural traditions.
  1. How do I feel about that event? What emotions, if any, does it generate? The intent at this point is to elicit the emotional content generated by that speaker’s conception of the reality of the event.

  1. How might I act in response to that event? This question is designed to show what action, if any, the speaker might intend to take, thereby revealing the behavior that could result from the speaker’s portrayal of reality.
  1. What consequences for my life or the life of others could result from my actions? The purpose of this final step is to elicit the speaker’s prediction of how the behavior at step five might influence his or her own life and the lives of other people (Thomas, 1999, p. 50-51).

The aims of this six-step process, D’Andrade explains are  a) to encourage participants to verbalize their beliefs about causes of events b) to illustrate how one person’s views of reality can differ from another’s c) to suggest which beliefs are social constructions, shared by members of a cultural group d) to reveal how such beliefs may or may not lead to overt behavior, and e) to identify how that behavior could influence the lives of both the person who held the beliefs and other people  in the speaker’s life (Thomas, 1999, p. 51). D’Andrade’s questions are an excellent way to implement many of the ideas suggested by Beane, Freire, and Kohlberg. The questions examine a problem which the students are encouraged to examine. After examination and contemplation and an attempt to figure what happened and why, the students are given the opportunity to change the outcome of the story by coming up with real solutions to the situation that is presented. These “real solutions” are based on the students own suggestions as to how they might “act” in the situation and what they might do differently than the characters in the scenario do.

I believed that if I could get my students to reflect upon where their thoughts and ideas come from, how their own reality has been formed, how they have come to believe “what is what” and “what is not,” that they just might gain a new perspective about where others in the world are coming from and why. With this newly gained perspective, I hoped my students might become more compassionate with and about others and their situation(s). Most importantly, I wanted my students to understand why people are different and that it is okay to be so. D’Andrade’s last question is about what could result from one’s actions. This question especially appealed to me. First of all, I wanted my students to understand that they could make changes in their own lives by changing their behavior and that their behavior has or could have an impact on others. Of course my own agenda for this question is that students would understand that their behavior could benefit someone else’s life in a positive way; that they really could be the catalyst in changing someone’s situation—in a good way.

Middle schoolers’ worlds are so very small; they are like horses that wearing blinders that only allow them to look in the direction that their head is pointed. This lack of vision and perspective frustrates me at times and I have to remind myself that my students’ ideas and actions are developmentally appropriate. They are also loyal to fitting into what they believe to be teen culture or their peer group culture—the “cool culture” that is. There are exceptions to this; there are students who truly don’t care what others think of them, but these students are rare and usually not part of the “cool” group. It is sometimes the most popular or the coolest, that can be the cruelest. This group is the barometer of cool. They set the standard and make sure to let others (outside of their group) know how well they are doing on that barometric scale either in overt or subtle ways.

I can talk to my students until I am blue about why we should be more accepting of others but know on an intuitive level that my words do not have as much impact as I think they have or wish they had. I needed to create and offer my students a Vygotsky zone of proximal development. I was confident that I could “…arrange my environment to enable the child [my students] to reach a higher or more abstract ground from which to reflect, ground on which he is [they are] enabled to be more conscious.” (Bruner as cited in Efland, 2002, p. 34). D’Andrade’s scenario idea and follow-up questions provided for this environmental arrangement.

Thus, based on D’Andrade’s work, I developed a curriculum that starts with the child and addresses the child beyond the academic (Dewey and Beane); provides for problem solving and reflection (Friere) and takes into account societal and cultural shared meanings and understandings (Vygotsky and D’Andrade).

The Paper Doll Project

As mentioned earlier, I was immediately drawn to D’Andrade’s work because I believed it could be the basis for a powerful unit. The questions that D’Andrade poses are the framework for the curriculum. I wanted to design a unit that could be implemented early in the year to build community in my classroom, to look at others and their ideas from different perspectives, to encourage students to treat each other differently inside and outside the classroom, and to understand that one person may be able to cause change in a the life of another. I know these were/are lofty goals but I, like Beane, believed that  “We can no longer continue to function as though the population were white and middle class, and thus marginalize people not fitting that description” (Beane, 1990, p. 77).

We as educators must be willing to tackle the themes that Beane claims we must such as democracy, dignity, equality, caring, and justice. If we don’t, who are we expecting to do so for us? I realize that what ails my students may be more of a reflection of the ailments of society than the ailments of our school or my classroom, but I am not willing to be the educator who says, “That’s just how things are nowadays—we can’t expect the schools to fix everything” or  “I do not have time to teach this with everything else I have to teach!” Like Beane, I also believe that if we are willing to address the types of issues that are not officially stated in our local and state curricula such as human issues, we may increase our students’ ability to see others in a more positive and caring light. I believe that we can learn to “work and play together.”  That is why I have created this unit. It is only a beginning, not an end; it is a place to start.

After coming up with an idea that I could create a project based on D’Andrade’s work, I sat down with our Art teacher and proposed my idea. Art integration is used at our school as a way to integrate subject matter and help students to more deeply understand concepts and issues through art. The Art teacher and I came up with the idea of making paper dolls that could be dressed, modified, and decorated to express and reflect different aspects, ideas, and issues of the students’ lives. The dolls were to be a reflection of whom and what the students believed had influenced their lives. We (the art teacher and I) liked the idea of using “dolls” for several reasons. One, because we knew that some of our students (primarily boys) would be uncomfortable with the actual making of and playing with dolls. This was one of the reasons for us calling the figures “paper dolls” and not something like “paper characters.” We wanted the name to be a somewhat provocative and challenging and because we would be exploring gender as one of the concepts in the unit, we thought it was the perfect idea and name for the art piece of the project. Also, because “dressing up dolls” is a metaphor for how many of these students live. They try on thing today and an entirely different “outfit” the next as they move through adolescence and middle school. The paper dolls reflected this “try it on- take it off”  concept.

In addition, bringing controversial ideas into the classroom is a great place to start conversations with students. I was just waiting for my students to say, “Paper dolls?! Are you serious?!” Then I get to ask questions like: “Why is the word ‘doll’ uncomfortable for you? Who plays with dolls in our culture? Who decides that it is okay for some people to play with dolls others not? Where did we learn this idea? Who owned dolls as children? Who did not? Why so? Why not?” Some of these questions were formal (students responded in writing) and some very informal (discussed as they came up). The dolls were a great take-off point for talking to students about how their own reality and cultural norm had been created. Vygotsky and D’Andrade both discuss the importance of language in creating personal constructions and meanings. “Doll” for example has many connotations in our culture and the students brought up their many meanings and connotations for the words with their comments about creating dolls.

I wanted the students to be able to dialogue, reflect, dialogue, contemplate, etc. as Vygotsky and Freire suggest. In revising the unit, I have included multiple opportunities for students to dialogue and reflect—either as individuals and in small groups. The unit is designed as well to incorporate the idea that students come to school with many internalized meanings, values, belief systems, etc. and wanted to offer students various opportunities and ways  to share who they are and how they came to be the person they are.

As stated earlier, I would be quite open to sharing this project with any teacher who was interested but even so this project’s primary audience is my seventh and eighth grade students. It is important to note that the population of our school is unlike any other middle school in the district. We are a charter school and one of the smallest schools in the district. Our population of just under 350 students and is primarily white (about 70%) and Latino (about 30%). We share our campus with a traditional and large middle school (about 1000 students) whose percentages are approximately 55% white and 45% Latino. We have a very low percentage of students who are considered “socio-economically disadvantaged” (under 10%), and most of our students are considered middle class or upper middle class whereas the school that is next to ours has a population of over 45% that are considered “socio-economically disadvantaged.” Not only do we have our own “have’s and have not’s” in our school but with our shared campus as well. We are considered one of the “rich” school’s in the district and if it was possible to average out the per capita income of our families, it probably would not be too far off. But within our own school this causes disparities as well. We have very few students on “free and reduced lunch” and whether or not the rest of the school knows who these students are; the students themselves know that they are and that they are a minority at the school. I eat breakfast with them sometimes and they tell me this. The group I eat with calls it “desayuno mexicano” (Mexican breakfast). They laugh about this and make jokes and tell me they don’t care but their perceptions are not off. They are not sitting and eating breakfast with a majority of students from our school; they are sitting and eating breakfast with a large group of students from our neighboring school.

The reason I share these numbers and percentages is because our students can “see” the differences in our school’s population compared to the school next door. We don’t need a line on the pavement to delineate where our campus ends and the other campus begins. It is easily viewed by just looking across the quad of our neighbor’s campus. I am not claiming that our students can see a “socio-economic difference” between the students next door and themselves but there is a visual difference; our school is very white and the other school is very brown. This has always been an uncomfortable topic for students and staff and I am not opposed to naming it. People dance around the word “Mexican” as if it were a bad word causing our Mexican student population (and they are Mexican, not Puerto Rican, not Guatemalan) to deny their own ethnicity with statements such as, “Don’t ask me, I don’t speak Spanish” when Spanish is listed as the student’s first language in their file. I have addressed this with individual students and they tell me that they “don’t want to stand out,” or that they don’t want to be known as “the Mexican” in class. This breaks my heart and at the same time I get it. The percentage of Mexican students at our school is so low, that they do “stand out.” Many of them beg their parents to transfer to the school next door for this very reason; it is an ongoing battle that I have experienced since being at our school. It is hard for me to tell these students to stand up and be proud of their heritage, ethnicity, and language when they just want to be how they perceive “everyone else” to be in the school.  I wanted to explore this concept in the unit and encourage students to examine how their ethnicity and/or family culture had helped “form” who they are. I want my students to be able to say “Mexican” like they say the word “school.” I just want it to be another word in their vocabulary but knew this would take some work.

After coming up with the idea for the paper dolls with the Art teacher, my teaching partner (who teaches Science) and I sat down (we share the same 56 students for Language Arts, Social Studies and Science) and came up with the goals, objectives, and essential questions for the project. We then planned the daily activities and lessons for the unit. Some activities were planned for individual classes like Language Arts and Science and some were created with all of the students together in what we call “Block.” After we determined the daily lessons, we came up with the assessments we would use based on our goals and objectives for the unit. The culminating project for the unit would be making our socially constructed selves through the making of the paper dolls.

As suggested by D’Andrade, we created a scenario (see Appendix) to be used in the beginning of the unit with the students. We used this scenario as the basis for asking the questions proposed by D’Andrade. At the end of the unit, we read the scenario again to see if the students’ attitudes, beliefs, and/or thinking about the scenario had changed. We chose a “gay” theme for the scenario on purpose; again because we knew that it would bring up many feelings, opinions, and ideas from the students. There are a lot of things that students do not want to be labeled in middle school but based on my own experience teaching in middle school, being perceived as gay or being gay is one of the worst labels one can receive. “Worst” meaning that being called “gay” is considered more derogatory than any other word that someone can be called in our middle school’s culture (This according to the students themselves). If a child is perceived to be or labeled “gay” he/she will be constantly harassed. And to be clear, we don’t talk about the word “gay” as being bad or a bad word in our school, we talk about not using it as a bad word. We wanted the students to explore where they got the idea that being gay is bad, why using the word “gay” or “fag” is considered so derogatory and why the student in the scenario had such a hard time because he/she was labeled as being gay.

The scenario also contains students who are not assigned a gender. We did this on purpose to see how the students would react or what they would do. Some identified the students in the story by gender immediately without hesitation while others questioned why there was no gender assigned. This brought up a number of good questions about how the story might be interpreted differently if genders were assigned to the students in the story. Some students were adamant about the gender of the characters in the story and gave justification for their claims. “Boys wouldn’t do this” or “This is definitely a girl because this is how girls treat each other.” The gender piece ended up being more provocative than we had planned.

The other piece crucial to the unit was the actual paper doll categories (See

Appendix). The Art teacher and I worked hard to create a prompt for the students that would cause them to think and be challenged. The idea was for the students to create dolls that would represent how various aspects of culture and society had influenced who they had become. Example: How has the media influenced you? Has it influenced what you wear? How you look? How you wear your hair? How else has the media influenced you? Are girls supposed to act a certain way? Are boys? Who “decides” on these rules and how do they “play out” on you? The students were to then create a doll for example that represented how they believed the media had influenced their own appearance. The categories we explored were: family, culture, gender identity, media and social groups. One doll created by the students would be a doll designed to represent their “socially constructed ultimate self.” Who would you be, how would you look if you could form your “socially constructed ultimate self?”

The prompt describes the project and also the categories that the students could choose from. We knew that if students could choose any of the categories that they wanted, they would choose categories such as the media and social group because those are easy categories to represent. As a result of “thinking like a middle schooler,” the Art teacher and I put these categories together and made the students choose one, forcing them to delve into the tougher categories like ethnicity and/or gender. The whole idea was to push them into zones that would challenge them more than they might choose to be otherwise challenged.

The other pieces of the Unit that I would like to discuss are the “Values” activity and the “Theater of the Oppressed.” The values activity is designed to help students determine how or why they might be influenced by their family, peers, the media, their gender, etc. This provides for very interesting dialogue about where we come to believe what we do. I did not provide input in this activity except to ask questions to students or reiterate what they had said. I thought some students would choose not to participate but that was not the case. Some students chose to not participate for a particular question but no one flat out refused to do the activity. They even ended up writing down questions they wanted us to use and ask in the activity. This worked out quite well. We could honor their choices and questions and screen questions we felt inappropriate for the setting such as, “Have you ever had sex?”  My teaching partner and I did make some value judgments in this case.

The “Theater of the Oppressed” is designed to have students imitate what Freire did in Brazil. Although there are many opportunities for students to discuss, problem solve, and reflect in the unit, this activity was really run by and for students. We gave them the background of Freire and his work; explained the method to perform the theater and the students did the rest. They really enjoyed the activity and took it very seriously. They have asked to do it since and we have done so. This activity was a big success.

I also tried to integrate Language Arts as much as possible into the unit. I was able to cover some of the seventh and eighth grade standards for Language Arts and serve the purpose of the unit as well by focusing on perspective(s). Dewey would be proud.

Below are the “Goals” for the unit. They are also listed in the Appendix along with specific learning objectives and assessments for the unit. They are:

  1. To build community in the classroom and on team.
  2. To learn how our own reality has been constructed and how this might have and impact on my/our perspective.
  3. To look at “reality” from different perspectives and from a shared perspective.
  4. To better articulate why things happen and our explanation of them.
  5. To understand why people (including myself) do the things I do, think the way I think, act the way I act.
  6. To understand that people are different for a reason and that being different is okay, it does not have to be threatening.
  7. For students to learn to self-reflect and take responsibility for own actions and see themselves as players in their own lives.
  8. For students to learn and believe that they can be agents of change in their lives, at their school, in the world.

If I were to state the goals and what I expect/want students to learn as a result of this lesson, these would be one in the same. The goals I have listed are also what I want students to learn/understand from participating in the unit whereas the objectives are the learning outcomes that one could actually measure.

Evaluation of Curriculum

There are numerous evaluative instruments in built into this curriculum. There are the Paper Doll’s themselves, the Paper Doll Self and Peer Assessment, and the Artist Statement (all included in Appendix) completed by each student. In addition, an evaluation of the project is done at the culmination of the unit as well. If I were to evaluate the outcomes I would really like to see from this project, I would put a camera in the P.E. Department’s locker room and watch the behavior of my students when they don’t know someone is watching. Or I would put a hidden camera on a student who doesn’t fit in and observe how he/she is treated throughout the day. How do my students treat others when no one is looking or watching? Have student attitudes toward others really changed as a result of this project?  Upon revising this project, I realized that a questionnaire in spring after doing the project in the fall would be a great idea. I would/could use this questionnaire to gather information from my students based on the fall project. It would be interesting to create a questionnaire using a tool such as “Survey Monkey” for specific groups at our school. This way I could possibly compare the experiences and attitudes of students who had experienced the unit and those who hadn’t. This would be one way to evaluate the goals of the project.

In addition to these evaluative tools designed specifically for the project, I would use the similar evaluative questions that I used to evaluate a curriculum in the first project I completed for this class. I have added my new questions in bold.

  • Is the curriculum grounded in an educational philosophy that is sound?
  • Does the curriculum match my own knowledge, purpose, and philosophy as a teacher?
  • Does the curriculum match what I know about student learning and how students learn based on my own experience(s)?
  • Does the curriculum make sense to me?
  • Does the curriculum provide opportunities for students to develop basic skills?
  • Does the curriculum provide opportunities for the standards to be covered?
  • Can all students access this curriculum? Are my students able to work within this approach?
  • How congruent is the curriculum with cultural and social expectations of schooling?
  • Is there a research base that suggests that this curriculum supports learning and how students learn at the middle school level?
  • Is the curriculum developmentally appropriate for young adolescents?
  • Does the curriculum and interest and engage students in learning?
  • Is the curriculum implemental? Feasible?
  • Do I have authority in my school to implement this curriculum?
  • Do I have the capacity to teach this curriculum?
  • Does the curriculum address the affective needs of the learner beyond the academic?
  • Does the curriculum promote issues of fairness, equality, peace and/or justice?
  • Will the curriculum have a positive lasting impact on my students?

I can answer “yes” to all of the above. I have spent a lot of time working on this curriculum and revising it from it’s original version. My biggest concern at this point is that some of the material in the curriculum is a bit too sophisticated for a seventh grader, especially if I am to use it at the beginning of the year. We combine seventh and eighth graders for our Block class in the afternoon thus the seventh graders are right there in the mix. Piaget might argue that some of these students are not developmentally ready for this curriculum whereas Vygotsky would encourage the idea based on his zone of proximal development theory. Both arguments have merit and I must keep them in mind when implementing this curriculum.

What have I learned

I have learned that different theorists have very specific ideas about how children learn and how best to teach them. It is difficult to adhere to just one philosophy and I prefer to pick and choose from the theorists that resonate with my own philosophy, challenge my pedagogy, and that I feel will best meet the needs of the students in my classroom. I am open to what “the other side” has to say and offer in terms of philosophy and curriculum but I will not teach something that does not match who I am as an educator. That became very clear through this project. Some would argue that three weeks is a long time to teach something that isn’t even in the standards but I would argue like Beane, that our job goes beyond teaching the standards.

Secondly, I learned that you can read and read and read. There is so much information available on so many different topics. I am amazed when I think I have an original idea and only have to do a little searching to find someone who had the same idea a long time ago. It was very interesting to revisit this project and ground it in the work of some of the philosophers we have read this semester. Their work led me to others in the field, who led me to others and so on. There are many things that I have learned as a teacher on an intuitive levels such as “how an adolescent learns.” It is fascinating to then read the research based on the topic which validates your thinking, clarifies your thinking, adds to your thinking, or changes it entirely. I was struck by the differences in Vygotsky and Piaget’s theories but again, I can take away something from both of them.

Originally, when I wrote this curriculum, it was only based on the work D’Andrade. I had not been exposed to the many different philosophies and theorists that I have become acquainted with through EDCT 585. Example: I had read Freire before but I was able to share much more about his work and the philosophy behind with the students based on my new knowledge. Through this assignment, I was provided with the opportunity to better ground the project in theory, incorporate new ideas and understandings, and believe the project is richer as a result.

Lastly, I read a lot about values clarification, teaching values and morals in school, and about the history of this issue. There is a lot of debate about whether or not it should even be included in a school’s curriculum and if it is, how it should be taught. I understand that I should try and avoid bringing my own values into the classroom but to suggest that teachers stay completely neutral about values is an unreasonable request. I realize that the teaching of values, even values clarification activities can be a very slippery slope but I do believe it is okay to teach students that treating others poorly is not okay. I am not willing to be neutral about that concept. I also understand that students, when left to their own devices, or when alone with others, make take no heed to my request of doing so. It is still okay for me to keep saying it—that we can work on being more compassionate and understanding of others and the more we can understand where people are coming from and why, the more we can learn to “work and play together.”


The Appendix contains the following items

Unit Cover Sheet pp. 39-40

Unit Overview including Social Studies and Language Arts Lessons  pp. 41-43

Scenario for the Unit pp. 44-45

Glossary of Terms pp. 46-47

Artifact Homework pp. 48

Theater of the Oppressed Techniques pg. 49

Paper Doll Prompt pp. 50-51

Paper Doll Plan Sheet pp. 52-53

Paper Doll Artist Statement Prompt pg. 54

Paper Doll Integration Project: Feedback and Information Sheet pg. 57

Additional Images of Paper Dolls from Project pp. 58-60

Unit Plan Cover Sheet for Paper Dolls Unit

Name of Student Teachers: Bryan, Adams, Vashe

Unit Topic/title: Our Social Construction of Reality

Length of Unit: 15 days

Grade Level: 7/8  Class

Title:  Integrated SS/Sci/LA/Art

The Big Question we have created for this Unit is: Where do/did I come to believe what I believe and how does this have an impact on who I am and what I do?

Goals for this Unit:

1. To build community in the classroom and on team.

  1. To learn how our own reality has been constructed and how this might have and impact on my/our perspective.
  2. To look at “reality” from different perspectives and from a shared perspective.
  3. To better articulate why things happen and our explanation of them.
  4. To understand why people (including myself) do the things I do, think the way I think, act the way I act.
  5. To understand that people are different for a reason and that being different is okay, it does not have to be threatening.
  6. For students to learn to self-reflect and take responsibility for own actions and see themselves as players in their own lives.
  7. For students to learn and believe that they can be agents of change in their lives, at their school, in the world.

Essential Questions to be answered in this unit

  1. How is my perspective based on who I am?
  2. How do I explain what I believe?
  3. Why might people (including myself) do what they do, think what they think?
  4. How might what we learn in school be biased? What biases are involved and/or creating and choosing the curriculum we learn?
  5. How can I be an agent of change?

Objectives for this Unit

  1. Students will be able to define words used in unit.
  2. Students will be able to apply the idea of “perspective” to not only their own lives but to issues and concerns in science, social studies, literature, etc.
  1. Students will be able to identify how their own construction of reality has developed over time and how it might affect how they look at the world.
  2. Students will learn strategies to make changes in their world or the world of others.
  3. Students will be able to identify what influences in their lives have created the meaning they attach to aspects of their lives such as their family, ethnicity, gender, the media, etc.

Assessments for this Unit:

  1. Paper Dolls of Self
  2. Artist’s Statement re: Paper Doll
  3. Self- Reflection based on Unit
  4. Information and Feedback form filled out by students
  5. Self- Reflection and “reality check” in spring.

Unit Overview Days 1-5

Day 1                                      Day 2                                      Day 3                                      Day 4                                      Day 5

Topic: Perspective

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Read Scenario to students

Have students write answer to D’Andrade’s questions #1-6

Discuss student answers in small groups of 4

Whole group debrief

Give all the opportunity to speak using cards.


Review terms for unit


Scenario for students

Copy of ?’s #1-6

Review terms for unit

HW: Bring in your favorite teen or otherwise magazine

Topic: Media and


Length of Class:  Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Review terms: questions based on the terms?

Focus on “culture” and “construction”

Who is “I” Who is “we” in terms of culture?

Look at media images from advertisements in the magazines.


How could the ads be interpreted? What is being sold? Who is the product being sold to? Could there be different interpretations of the same ad by different people? Why?


Does the media influence you? If so, how? If not, why not?


Make sure to have extra ads on hand

HW: Bring family artifact

on Friday

Topic: Perspective

Length of Class: 50 mins

Taught in: SS


Switch small groups and share answers from ?’s

#1-6 from Day 1.

What happened?

Were the answers the same? Different?

Why did this happen?

What is your explanation for it?

Why didn’t we all get/have the same answers and responses?


Reminder on Artifacts HW

Topic: Influence of Social Groups

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Our own values

Students will be asked to go to an area of the room based on their response to certain questions. There will be a neutral zone as well if students do not want to answer or do not know how to answer.

These questions will be  based on family, friends and peer groups.


Students will respond to the experience in writing after the activity.


Reminder on Artifacts HW

Topic: Family Artifacts

Length of Class: 50 mins

Taught in: SS


Get into small groups.

Talk about what you brought to represent a family tradition or value.

Discuss similarities and differences in your group

Report these to the class

What did you learn?

Why were the values//traditions , etc different for each person?

Offer to let anyone who would like to share their artifact to do so with the whole class.


If someone doesn’t bring an artifact they can talk about one or share a family tradition.

Unit Overview Days 6-10

Day 6                                        Day 7                                 Day 8                                    Day 9                                     Day 10

Topic: Paper Dolls

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Intro Paper Dolls

1. Students will write responses to following.

2. What is a paper doll?

3. How/why are they used?

4. Who would use paper dolls and why? Where did you come to know this?

5. Where is your comfort level with playing with paper dolls? Please explain.

Debrief in small groups

Debrief as whole class


Power Point on history of Paper Dolls: Show

Go over prompt and planning sheet for paper dolls.


Plan Sheets/Power Point

Topic: Theater of the Oppressed.

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Introduce Theater of the Oppressed

Explain background of Freire’s work and why he used this method.

Have students come up with a topic(s) they would like to use for the activity.


Theater of the Oppressed

HW: bring materials you might want to use to “dress” your paper doll.

Mental HW: Think about what you might use on your paper doll to represent which doll(s) you have chosen

Topic: Paper Dolls cont

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Work Period

Discuss plan sheets in small groups/students may choose groups based on personal nature of the prompt/plan sheet.

Get feedback from peers.

When ready, meet with teacher to discuss planning sheet. Get sheet okay’d.


HW: bring materials you might want to use to “dress” your paper doll.

Mental HW: Think about what you might use on your paper doll to represent which doll(s) you have chosen

Topic: Paper Dolls cont

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Work Period

Same as yesterday. Students who have had plan sheet approved may begin work on dolls.

Those who still need to be okay’d must do so.

All students must be okay’d by today.


Topic: Paper Dolls cont

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Work Period

Work on dolls.


Must finish paper dolls at home if you are not finished yet. Make sure to bring home materials you need if you are not finished.

Unit Overview-   Unit Topic: Perspective  and Paper Dolls

Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15

Topic: Artist’s Statement for Paper Dolls

Length of Class: 50 mins

Taught in: SS


Bring draft of Artist Statement + Paper Dolls

Meet with partner for peer review.

Look at Paper Dolls and Artist’s statement together.

What do you see? notice?

What has the person done well?

What are your suggestions for this person?


HW: Make revisions to Artist Statements as needed

Bring in Wed for Paper Doll Gallery.

Will show Paper Doll and Artist’s statements.

Topic: The Scenario Revisited

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Revisit Scenario

Reread the scenario.

Read the answers you first wrote to the scenario.

Have your answers changed in any way? If so, please write new answers to the questions.

If they have changed, how have they changed and why have they changed?

Debrief in small groups

Debrief with whole class


Gallery tomorrow!

Bring paper dolls and artist statement.

Topic:  Gallery!

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Set up Paper Doll Gallery

All students view all paper dolls.

Choose 3 sets to view closely and read artist statement with that set of dolls.

Choose who you would like to evaluate your dolls.

Self-evaluate your dolls and artist statement

Peer Evaluation of your dolls and artist statement.


Evaluation Sheets

Topic: Masks and What we have learned.

Length of Class: Block

Taught in: SS/Sci


Watch “Mask” to give day of rest between evaluations.

How is movie related to what we have discussed the past few weeks?


Topic:  Project Debrief

Length of Class: 50 mins

Taught in: SS


Fill out “Feedback and Information” sheets

Debrief using “plus/delta” process.

(What worked in this project? What would you do differently?)

Small Group:

What did we learn? About ourselves/about others.

Whole Class debrief by those willing to share ideas/thoughts, etc.


Feedback Sheets

Scenario Social Construction of Reality Unit

Two students have been friends since kindergarten. Student A and Student Z. For simplicity sake, we will just refer to them as A and Z. They have grown up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools and their families are friends. They have always hung out at school, after school, on weekends, etc.

Fast forward to Middle School. Both Student A and Z attend the same middle school. About a month after school starts, A starts to hang out with a new group of friends.  Z does not hang out with this same group of friends. In fact, it appears that Z hasn’t found a group of friends yet. A does not completely ignore Z but does not hang make a point of hanging out either. At this point, A and Z are still hanging out after school and on weekends but the time spent with each other begins to be less and less. Eventually, A is either not home or busy when student Z wants/asks to hang out.

As time passes, A begins to ignore Z at school- especially when A is with friends.  Z makes several attempts to make contact with A at school but stops after friends of A not only ignore Z but begin to make sarcastic comments as well. Student A makes no further attempt to make contact at school or outside of school.

One night at dinner, the parents of student A ask what has happened to the relationship between A and Z.

A replies, “I don’t know- we just don’t hang out anymore.”

The parents continue the questioning. “Well, why not?”

Student A replies, “People at school say Z is gay.”

Parent: “Well, it is not nice to accuse someone of being gay if they aren’t. That’s really not very nice and that’s not how we brought you up. How would you like it if you were called gay?”

Student: “I can’t help what my friends say.”

Parents: “Well, that might be true but you could try and be nice.”

Student: “Could you pass the bread, please.”

Parents: “How about inviting Z to Marine World with us this weekend?”

Student: “Uh, I don’t think so. I would rather invite one of my other friends from school.

Parents: “We will have to talk about that.”

Fast forward to end of trimester I.  It is November and A is happy to be hanging out with this new group of friends. They do lots of things together at school and outside of school. In fact, one of the favorite pastimes of A’s group is to harass Z. Now it has gotten to the point of A and A’s group of friends seeking out Z to harass. It used to be that they would just harass Z in passing. Now it was a favorite pastime to seek out Z and harass Z for being gay- name calling would turn into a little shoving here and there accompanied with lots of laughter. A loved being a part of this new group of friends but wasn’t exactly comfortable with this level of harassment.

Unfortunately for Z, gym class was a place it was hard to avoid A and A’s  group of friends . Z had to get dressed for gym and there was no away to avoid the daily scene, name calling and pushing.

This particular day had already not been a good day for Z. There was the failed math test, the forgetting of the lunch money, the unfair green slip from the mean teacher. Z was in no mood for A and A’s friends when they approached Z in the locker room. One of A’s friends grabbed Z’s shorts and threw them three aisles over. Z had it and A happened to be the first person Z saw. Z took a swing at A and made contact in the face. Before A could respond, Z was going for hit number two. At that moment, the PE teacher (who had heard all of the noise) rounded the corner, just as Z made the next hit. The PE teacher broke up the fight and Z and A were sent to the office. After much negotiations and discussions with the principal, Z was suspended for fighting. A had not made contact and there were no witnesses to back up Z’s story which was that this harassment had been going on for a long time. What the principal couldn’t understand is why Z hit A when A wasn’t even the one who threw the shorts?

You are a neutral acquaintance. In other words, you aren’t friends with either A or Z. You have witnessed much of this story happen- either in class, in the halls, etc. You have heard A and A’s friends call Z names. You have watched the pushing around by A’s group. You heard the gym short incident go down in the dressing room. In fact, you were in the getting dressed when the gym shorts landed in your aisle. You ran over to the scene just in time to see Z throw the second punch.

Here are the questions we would like you to answer regarding this story.

  1. What do I believe happened?

  1. Why did it happen? What caused it?

  1. Why do I hold such a set of beliefs? That is where or from whom such a way of explaining the event?

  1. How do I feel about this event? What emotions, if any does it generate?

  1. How might I act in response to this same event?

  1. What consequences for my life or the life of others could result from my actions? (Anywhere from doing nothing to doing something)

Glossary of Terms Used in this Unit

1. Bias: favoring of one or other (side in an argument etc) rather than remaining neutral
Example: a bias against people of other religions. Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary

I am biased about teaching middle school.

2. Class. A social stratum whose members share certain economic, social, or cultural characteristics: the upper-income classes.

I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood.

3. Construction: the act or art of constructing.

My life has been a construction based on many different things like my gender, my ethnicity, and my family.

4. Culture: The values, traditions, social and political views, and world views within a person’s home and or/community environment. Specific to a social group. Culture is acquired and created by a group and there are differences within each social group. Culture also includes codes of manners, dress, language, rituals, norms of behavior, and systems of belief.

The behaviors, beliefs and characterisits of a particular social, ethnic, or age group; the youth culture.

The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted (passed on) from one generation to another.

The beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior of a particular nation or people.

Teen culture has a lot of interesting characteristics such as its own language, dress, customs, etc.

5. Discrimination: “the process by with a member…of a socially defined group is…treated differently, especially unfairly, because of membership in that group. To be selected for less favorable treatment (not being treated as well) by their because of such features as  race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.  Discrimination is an action; prejudice is an attitude.

Japanese Americans suffered discrimination during World War II in the U.S.

6. Ethnicity: A group of people sharing an identity that arises from a collective sense of distinctive history. Ethnic groups possess their own culture, customs, norms, beliefs, and traditions. There is usually a common language or cultural heritage.

My ethnicity is Mexican. (This is different than my nationality is ______________).

Nationality is based on where you live or usually the country in which you were born.

Not to confuse things but you could be Mexican AND Mexican J. (Ex: Your parents are both Mexican thus your ethnicity is Mexican and you are a Mexican citizen). You could be Mexican and American that is your parents are Mexican but you are an American citizen.

7. Gender: Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture. American Heritage Dictionary

The media has a lot to say about how specific genders should act.

8. Gender Identity: the totality of physical and behavioral traits that are designated by a culture as masculine or feminine. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary

A person’s sense of being male or female, resulting from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.  American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary

Not everyone identifies their gender as only male or female.

9. Media: one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television. (

Did you know that media is the plural of medium?

10. Prejudice: An opinion or attitude that is unjustified by the facts.

An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable unreasonable feelings,opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.  (

I remember the word prejudice by thinking of “pre-judging” something.


11. Race: Many cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact

11. 5 Racism: The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.  Some people confuse racism and sexism. They are different.

12. Reality: A real thing or fact. The state or quality of being real.

Teaching from 8am to 3pm is part of my reality.

13. Social: pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relation such as a social club. Of or pertaining to human society, esp. as a body divided into classes according to status such as social rank or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community such as social problems. (

One of my social groups is teachers.

14. Socio-economic: people having the same social, economic, or educational status; “the working class”; “an emerging professional class”. Synonym would be class- upper class, middle class, etc.

Most of the people in my neighborhood growing up were from the same socio-economic class as I was.

15. Values: The ideals, customs, institutions, etc., of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard (they value these things). These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy. (

Beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something).

One of the values of the U.S. is democracy. One of my own values is equality for all people.

Unless stated otherwise, the definitions for these words are from the online MSN Encarta Dictionary.

Artifact Homework

Artifact Homework. We would like you to bring in two different “pieces of your life” from home.

Artifact #1:  Due this Friday in  Block.

Please choose something that represents one of your family’s values. (Look up that word in the glossary that you have if you are unsure about the word, “values.”). This could be an item that represents your family culture, your ethnicity, religious beliefs, traditions, etc.  If celebrating a certain holiday in your family is really important, bring an item that represents that holiday or celebration. If your ethnicity is an important family value, bring something that represents your ethnicity. If your religion is important to you and your family (and you feel safe enough to share that), bring an item that represents your religion or beliefs.  Note: We will be sharing these with a small group so make sure to bring something you are willing to talk about and share with others.

Artifact #2: Due this Friday

Please collect some items of trash that your family that your family has used over the past week. Please make sure the items are safe to bring to school – ie. they can be touched/handled without causing harm/spreading germs, etc to other students. Please bring at least 5 of these items in a plastic grocery bag. Note: Please don’t bring items that can decompose such as a banana peel.

Theater of the Oppressed Background and Strategies

Theater of the Oppressed techniques: Forum Theater
An innovative approach to public forums, Forum Theater is
rooted in the Brazilian popular education and culture
movements of the 1950s and 1960s. It is designed for use in
schools, community centers, trade unions and solidarity and
grassroots organizations. Workshop participants (the actors)
are asked to tell a story, taken from daily life, containing
a political or social problem of difficult solution. A skit
depicting that problem is improvised and presented. The
original solutions proposed by the protagonist must contain
at least one social or political error. When the skit is
over, the audience discusses the proposed solution, and then
the scene is performed once more. But now, audience members
are urged to intervene by stopping the action, coming on
stage to replace actors, and enacting their own ideas. Thus,
instead of remaining passive, the audience becomes active
“spect-actors” who now create alternative solutions and
control the dramatic action. The aim of the forum is not to
find an ideal solution, but to invent new ways of
confronting oppression. In Brazil and other parts of Latin
America, as well as in India and Africa, Forum Theater has
been used with peasant and worker “audiences” as training in
labor and community organizing and participatory democracy.
The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory
122 West 27 Street 10 floor
New York, New York 10001
(212) 924-1858
(212) 674-6506 (fax)


Art Integration/Quad A

Using a variety of 2-dimensional mediums we will create paper dolls of ourselves and outfits that represent the social construction of our reality.

For this project we will:

  • Create 3 paper dolls
  • (Re)-create/invent ‘outfits’ (clothing) that represents our socially constructed selves.
  • Learn to use and manipulate a variety of two-dimensional materials to create your ‘outfits’. Practice the use of and understand layering: Literal layering with 2-dimensional (2-D) materials & the metaphorical layering of constructions we ‘wear’ everyday.
  • Gain awareness of the history and development of paper dolls.

What you need to do:

Create 3 paper dolls that represent three social constructions of your reality and also invent/create different outfits for these dolls. You will create the outfits for your dolls from a variety of two-dimensional materials (use the expectations/guideline list below when you create your “outfits”).  Complete the paper doll planning sheet.

Social Construction Categories and Choices for your Paper Doll

Everyone needs to make 3 dolls. Two of the dolls you will choose from the categories below.  The third doll, we will all make, it is an ultimate social construction of self doll

For two of your dolls, choose from the categories below and only circle 1 of the 2 choices from each category.

A. Family/Culture or Gender Identity

B. Media or Social Group

C. Ultimate Construction of Self: This is a creation that represents your ideal self.  Who do you want your ‘ultimate self” to be? (now that we know what we know….I’d like to be..)

Project Requirements:

  • Create 3 dolls
  • Create 3 different outfits that represent your categories and secure the outfit to the doll.
  • Each doll’s  outfit must include a minimum of 3 different 2-D materials. (Things to draw with; pastels, colored pencil etc are not counted in this 3 but are totally encouraged).
  • Meet the requirement for materials you have to include. (see back side)
  • Each doll must include minimum of 1 use of layering of 2-D materials.
  • For example: My doll has a pair of jeans on.  I make the jeans from blue paper to make the logo for the jeans I use another selection of material and glue it on the jeans (as opposed to drawing it on…or the jeans have graffiti on them so use clear transparency paper and colored sharpie to create the graffiti and then I attach over my jeans.
  • Paper Dolls should be neat and clean and precise.  Attention to detail is IMPORTANT!

Materials Ideas

Ideas for materials you could use to make your paper doll outfits with:

Colored paper

Fancy Patterned paper

Blk &Wht Photo Copies and/or blk & wht printed image of a piece of clothing in a magazine colored in with pastel or watercolors….

Photo copies of a piece of clothing with other colored paper added on top of it (layering)

Transparency paper on top of colored paper (layering)

Sharpie on top of transparency paper to create your own pattern.



Clothing from a magazine that is RECREATED somehow…something added to it or taken away from it.

Tissue paper


Buttons, beads, bobbles, sequins, glitter glue

Paint, water color colored pencil, pastels

No you may not cut clothing straight out of a magazine or google images and put it on your doll.

YES you can!!!!

  • Use google images/magazines to find examples of clothing you want to use.
  • Use photoshop or word to make googled images bigger so you can trace them better.
  • Use either of these images for your clothing if you change them somehow. For example: layer colored paper on them, cut the legs off of pant to make shorts and add trim to the bottom…(if you didn’t add trim it wouldn’t count as alter)

Vocabulary (for this project):

Layering: overlapping, putting one kind of paper on top of another kind of paper. Some layers could be left unglued so you can lift them up and see something underneath. Transparency paper can be left unglued and put over colored paper so you can lift it up.

Layering in this project will “add interest” to your artwork.

Two-Dimensional: Having only two dimensions…it’s flat!!!


Paper Doll Planning Sheet

Name: ______________________________________ Block A or B

Due: You cannot start working on your paper dolls during the work periods until you have your teacher’s initials below:

Teacher’s Initials: _________

What you need to do before you start making your dolls.

  1. Circle the category you are choosing for each doll.
  2. Brainstorm at least two outfits for each category. Write two descriptions for each category of what the outfits might look like or draw them and label them accordingly. .

Remember… the outfits need to represent how this category has influenced or impacted what you wear or how you look.

  1. Brainstorm ideas for the materials you might use to create each outfit.
  2. For Example: The skirt in this outfit will be out of fancy printed paper and I will use some ribbon on top of the fancy papering for the layering requirement.

You can always change your ideas as you go along but we need to know your initial ideas. Feel free to sketch on this sheet.

Category #1: Family/Culture or Gender Identity (circle one)- Describe and/or draw your ideas below. Remember, you need two ideas for each doll.

Use of Materials: Each doll outfit must include a minimum of three different two-dimensional materials.

Materials I will use and/or materials I will need from home.

Layering: Each doll must include one example of layering with 2-Dimensional materials. Is there layering on each doll?

My ideas for layering:

Category #2: Media or Social Group (circle one). Describe and/or draw your ideas below. Remember, you need two ideas for each doll.

Use of Materials: Each doll outfit must include a minimum of three different two-dimensional materials.

Materials I will use and/or materials I will need from home.

Layering: Each doll must include one example of layering with 2-Dimensional materials. Is there layering on each doll?

My ideas for layering:

Category #3: Ultimate Construction of Self: Describe and/or draw your ideas below. Remember, you need two ideas for each doll.

Use of Materials: Each doll outfit must include a minimum of three different two-dimensional materials.

Materials I will use and/or materials I will need from home.

Layering: Each doll must include one example of layering with 2-Dimensional materials. Is there layering on each doll?

Artist Statement Questions for Paper Doll.

Answer each of these in your Writing notebook

Label the entry, “Paper Doll Artist Statement” Sept 10th, 2007

  1. Who have you represented in each of your dolls? How does your paper doll reflect how you believe you have been constructed? Please describe each doll and how you feel you have been influenced by the category.

Example: In my gender identity doll, I have made half of it to be more “traditionally male” and half of it more “traditionally female” because I feel that I have a very feminine side. I like to paint my nails, I am very sensitive, I like to wear dresses, I am very social. I think these are more traditionally female characteristics. I used the soft material to represent my sensitive side, I used the baseball uniform to represent my more male side… etc.

You need to write about each of your dolls and who or what they represent and HOW you represented them through the materials they chose.

  1. Who or what has influenced the “construction” of you?
  1. How have you been influenced (or not) by gender, family, your culture, social group, the media, etc? Please discuss how these have or have not influenced you? (use the categories you used in your doll, you don’t have to use ALL of the categories- just the one you represented.
  1. How have these things affected your perspective on life?
  1. How could you take what you know about you to make something better in life- for yourself or for the lives of someone else or others?

Process Section

  1. What/how was your experience making the dolls? Was the process easy, interesting, hard, etc? Give 2 examples.

7.  What was something you liked/went well in the making of the paper dolls- please


  1. What was something that was a challenge in the making of the paper dolls- please


Paper Doll Assessment Sheet

Art Integration

Your Name: __________________ Person you are evaluating: __________________

Date: _________ (if self, write “self” on line above)

Paper Doll Prompt: Create three paper dolls that represent three social constructions of your reality and also invent/create different outfits for these dolls. You will create the outfits for your dolls from a variety of two-dimensional materials. Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Has the person represented their ideas/concepts clearly in the dolls they have created?
  2. Are the connections/representation of each category thought out and represented in each doll?
  3. Does the doll match the artist statement created by this person?

Please put your comments below for each doll. Name one thing the person did well and one thing the person might have done to improve their doll. Use scoring guide below.

8=   Excellent: ideas/concepts expressed very clearly, accurately, and thoughtfully

7=  Very good: Ideas/concepts expressed clearly, accurately, and thoughtfully

6=  Good: Ideas/concepts expressed fairly clearly, accurately, and thoughtfully

5=  Fair: Ideas/concepts expressed moderately clearly and accurately. Could be clearer.

1-4= Could be better: Person created the doll but it needs significant improvements.

Doll #1: __________________________________ title of doll

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for this doll (8 pts. possible) ________

Doll #2: __________________________________ title of doll

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for this doll (8 pts. possible) ________

Doll #3:  Ultimate Construction of Self Doll

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for this doll (8 pts. possible) ________

Please use the point values below for evaluating the next section.

8= this requirement met entirely on all three dolls

7= this requirement almost entirely met on all three dolls

6= this requirement almost met on most dolls

5= this requirement was somewhat met on 1 or 2 of the dolls

1-4= this requirement was attempted but not completed on any of the dolls

Use of Materials: Each doll outfit must include a minimum of three different two-dimensional materials. (Things that are drawn with pastels, colored pencil, etc are not counted in this but are encouraged). Did this person’s dolls meet this requirement?

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for materials (8 pts. possible) ________

Layering: Each doll must include one example of layering with 2-Dimensional materials. Is there layering on each doll? (Use rubric above to evaluate)

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for layering (8 pts. possible) ________

Attention to Detail: Paper dolls should be neat and precise. Do the dolls look finished? Are they well put together? Is the mixed media securely fastened to the dolls?

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for Attention to Detail (8 pts. possible) ________

Effort: Does it look like this person used their time wisely? Did they do the best they could in the creation of these dolls? This is not about “perfection” but effort put into the process of creating the doll. Do the dolls look thoughtfully and carefully put together with a lot of detail to support claims made in artist statement or do the dolls look like they were put together quickly and lack detail, thoughtfulness, support of claims in artist statement.

Did Well:

Improvement suggestions:

Pts for Effort (8 pts. possible) ________

Total for Paper Doll Project ___________ (out of 56)

Paper Doll Integration Project

Feedback and Information Sheet

As teachers, we were very impressed and inspired by the work you all did during the Paper Doll Unit. You were all willing to share a lot of yourselves with your small groups, with the whole class, with your teachers. This is not always an easy thing to do. We would like to acknowledge your honesty and willingness to participate in this project. Now we would like to get your feedback on the project. You may choose to put your name on this sheet or not. We will use your input to make improvements and/or changes for the next time. Thank you for helping us out on this.

  1. Which part of the social construction of reality project did you enjoy the most and why? (The writings, readings- including the scenario discussions, artifact activity, theater of the oppressed, values activity, media image exploration, paper doll construction, etc).
  1. Which part (if any) do you think most changed how you view yourself and/or the world?
  1. Name one thing you won’t forget about someone’s art piece or artist statement?
  1. Name one thing you won’t forget about the project.
  1. Do you feel like you have the power to change a situation? Why or why not?
  1. If you were a teacher implementing this project, what you do differently—either add, take out, revise, etc?
  1. Anything else you would like to say? (use back if necessary

Additional Images of Paper Dolls

Dolls displayed in Napa Public Library


2008 Physical Education Framework – Curriculum Frameworks (CA Dept of Education). (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from

Beane, J. (1990). Affect in the curriculum: toward democracy, dignity, and divirsity. New York: Teachers College Press.

Beane, J. (1977). Curriculum Integration: Designing the Core of Democratic Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Beane, J. (1997). Curriculum Integration: Designing the Core of Democratic Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: Macmillan.

Dewey, J. (1929). MY PEDAGOGIC CREED. New York: The Progressive Education Association.

Efland, A. (2002). Art and Cognition: Integrating the Visual Arts in the Curriculum (Language & Literacy Series). New York: Teachers College Press.

Freire, P. (1999). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

J.Thornton, S. (2007). The Curriculum Studies Reader. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.

Kohlberg, L. (75). Moral Education for a Society in Moral Transition. Educational Leadership, 33(1), 46-54.

Pzszkowski, I. (1986). Moral Values and the Schools- is there a way out of the maze?. Education, 107(1), 41-48.

River School: Home Page. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from

Theater of The Oppressed Laboratory. (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from

Thomas, M. (1999). Human Development Theories– windows on culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc..

Vatterott, C. (2006). Becoming a Middle Level Teacher. New York City: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Zins, J., Weissberg, R., Wang, M., & Walberg, H. (2004). Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? (Social Emotional Learning, 5). New York: Teachers College Press.


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