Overview: This lesson discusses immigration through selected text and drama using tableau.

Today’s arts integration lesson plan teaches immigration through a dramatic technique called tableau.  Tableau is a frozen picture, based on something going on in a reading text.  It usually contains low, medium and high levels and the students can be anything from the text – from the main character to the grass on the ground.  This particular lesson plan uses the concepts in Sean Layne’s concept “Living Pictures” which can be found on the Kennedy Center’s website to create these tableaux.  I HIGHLY recommend this book be a part of every arts integration school library.  There are so many ways to use tableau and it is one of the easiest and powerful ways to begin using arts integration.  Enjoy this exciting lesson!



Students complete “The Actor’s Ritual” warm-up activities. Review “Tableau Basics” from a previously made chart. The class webs ideas about reasons people may have had for immigrating to the USA.


Use “visual discovery” to discuss the cover illustration of The Memory Coat. Ex: “What do you see?” “Who might these people be?” “What is happening?” “How are these people feeling?”


Create tableaus. First depict scenes from the story, and then the students may create additional scenes from our imagination using the ideas heard in the story. During each tableau scene the characters are interviewed about who/what they are and how they are feeling.

Transition: The “audience” evaluates the tableaus using the previously made checklist.

Closure: Students add their new ideas about immigration to the web. (These ideas may be used to create poetry and/or stories about coming to America.)