Current Issue Back Issues Cards
Issue 13, Spring 2015
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Logs From San Diego Bay,
   Tom Fehrenbacher
Knowing Why,
   Joanne Sith
My Education at the Met,
   Luis Del Rosario
Rigor Reconsidered,
   Rob Riordan
10 Principles to Move Your School Toward Distributive Leadership,
   Nicole Assisi & Shelli Kurth
Inside a Successful School Project: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,
   Scott Swaaley
Getting More Students Into College: A Foray Into Improvement Science,
   Isaac Jones, Ryan Gallagher,
   Ben Daley & Stacey Caillier
After a Progressive K-12 Education...Then What? First Gen Voices on the Transition to College,
   Jean Kluver & Heather Lattimer

1: Who Am I?
2: Subatomic Black Hole Soup:
    A Graphic Novel Project

3: Run Like A Girl: Don’t Judge Me
4: Response-ABILITY: Empathy in Action
5: 2084: Junk Puppet Theatre
6: Once Upon A Prime
7: Town Squares:
    A San Diego Neighborhoods Project

8: A New Life
9: The Upcycle Project
10: What is your Everest?
11: Project IDEATE
12: Choose Your Own Adventure
      Through U.S. History

13: Apocalypto

2084: Junk Puppet Theatre

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The novel 1984 is considered by some to be prophetic, but in many ways it was just Orwell taking some of what was happening in his world to a logical extreme. Often in dystopian societies, the original intent is good, but when taken too far becomes harmful. Our project goal was to challenge students to think about the current controversial issues they were researching, while also reading Orwell’s novel and then to imagine how these topics might develop in the coming future, whether good or bad. Next, they collaborated to create a future world and characters who exist in this fictional setting as the basis for their own short story. Finally, in small groups, students chose just one of their stories from which to create a screenplay for a narrated, “Dystopian Junk Puppet Theater Video” where they constructed the environment and characters mostly from recycled materials.

Teacher Reflections
Through the multiple layers of the process, this project built upon and pushed student understanding of dystopian societies and how and why they occur. By laying a foundation of understanding through our reading of 1984 and bringing like concepts into contemporary society, students came to view current topics through a different lens, one which allowed them to place a current issue in a sci-fi world with a cast of characters of their own making. Additionally, the level of student engagement in writing was heightened by concurrently creating and producing their puppet theater. Both imagining their story and seeing it come to life as a physical artwork helped to push and strengthen their vision, ultimately deepening the conceptual aspects of the project’s goals.

Student Reflection
Have a great idea is one thing, but reenacting it and making the puppet show look professional was a challenge, requiring time, effort, and patience. I really enjoyed the collaboration, creativity and freedom we had in designing our puppets and backdrops. —Eric

To learn more about this project and others, visit