Italy Reads

Italy Reads 2010 Archive

Please find below materials related to Italy Reads 2010: Thornton Wilder's Our Town


Sections below include: 
Resources for Teachers 
Resources for Readers / Book Groups 
Student Drama Contest! 
Calendar of Events

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Resources for Teachers

General Resources

Thornton Wilder Society 
The official Thornton Wilder Society web site includes educational resources, such as a bibliography of books and articles on Wilder and his works and an Our Town study guide for teachers and students. The study guide can be downloaded and used in class to stimulate discussion.

Thornton Wilder Family Website 
Official Thornton Wilder Family web site offers a wealth of information about Thornton Wilder and his works. The sections on Our Town and News & Events are particularly interesting.

The Art of Fiction 
Interview with Thornton Wilder published in The Paris Review in the winter 1956 issue.   

The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town: Introduction (NEA Big Read) 
Introduction to Thornton Wilder’s Big Read website by Tappan Wilder, nephew of Thornton Wilder. 

Masterpiece Theatre: Our Town 
Companion Web site to a 2003 Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Our Town. This resource includes essays, interviews, and information about the cast.  

Wikipedia: Our Town 
Wikipedia entry for Our Town, describing its history, background, and plot.
 

Articles and Reviews

Thornton Wilder on the South Side of Our Town 
Article by Phil McArdle on The Berkeley Daily Planet in 2008. A portrait of Thornton Wilder is drawn  with a special focus on his Berkeley years and the creation of Our Town.    

Articles about Thornton Wilder 
News about Thornton Wilder, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.
 

Study Guides

Our Town: Reading Guide 
Reading guide of the play with discussion questions on Harper Perennial website.

Cummings Study Guide: Our Town 
Study guide of Our Town including plot summary, character and theme analysis, and essay topics.  

Our Town: A Classroom Study Guide 
Study guide prepared by Ferndale Repertory Theatre. The guide includes full synopsis of the three acts, a glossary of terms used in the play, and related activities such as discussion questions and group activities.
 

Thornton Wilder's Biographies

The Big Read – About the Author (NEA Big Read) 
Wilder’s biography accompanied by an interview that appeared in The Paris Review in the winter 1956 issue. 

The Big Read – Historical Context (NEA Big Read) 
This web page offers information on the life and times of Thornton Wilder.  

American Memory: Thornton Wilder 
Very short biography of the writer.   

Thornton Wilder Biography 
Brief biography of the multiple-Pulitzer Prize winner Thornton Wilder.  

Thornton Wilder 
Biography of Thornton Wilder.  

Thornton Wilder 
Biographical sketch of Thornton Wilder published on Gay Bears: The Hidden History of the Berkeley Campus, a project that gathers together information about the history of sexual minorities at the University of California, Berkeley.
 

Lesson Plans and Activities

The Big Read Schedule/Lesson Plan (NEA Big Read) 
Suggested teaching schedule for the study of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town. The following links are handouts and lesson plans for Our Town:

The Big Read Capstone Project Ideas (NEA Big Read)   

The Big Read Essay Topics (NEA Big Read) 
Essay topics #7-8-9 are related to Our Town.   

The Big Read Discussion Questions (NEA Big Read) 
The second section presents questions for Our Town. These questions can be used for class discussions.  

A Companion Guide to Our Town by Thornton Wilder 
A teacher’s guide including the history of Our Town, a plot summary and several class activities.   

Thornton Wilder’s Our Town: The Reader as Writer 
Lesson plans and activities on writing and reading drama using Our Town.   

Our Town 
Series of discussion questions related to Our Town. The guide includes brief biographical notes of the writer, and description of the characters and events that take place in the drama.   

From Our Town to Our Time 
Lesson plan based on New York Times content. In this lesson, students read a review of a current production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and a portion of the play, then write a scene inspired by the play’s timely and timeless aspects and later perform the scenes as readers’ theater.   

Our Town: Overview 
Activities and discussion questions.

Our Town Imaginary Maps 
In this lesson plan students draw a map of the town from the description given by the Stage Manager in the beginning of Act I.  

Our Town Lesson Plan 
Another lesson plan based on New York Times articles and content. In this lesson plan students "identify hubs of activity in their school and produce documentary films and/or photographs that highlight the sights and sounds of those areas."   

The Village and the Stars 
Lesson plan developed by Bill Coden from Yale-New haven Teachers Institute. “The Village and the Stars,” an overall study of the family in literature, centers on a study of Our Town by Thornton Wilder. (Recommended for English classes, grade 8).   

Exploring Thornton Wilder’s Our Town 
Series of ideas that can be addressed to students to stimulate class discussion. Some ideas can be used as essay topics.  

Teachers Net: Our Town 
Discussion questions divided by act.  

Teachers Net: Remake of Our Town 
Based on Wilder’s Our Town, this lesson plans aims to teach students effective play-writing and stage direction.
 

Digital Materials

Movie – Our Town 
Directed by Sam Wood, starring William Holden and Martha Scott.   

Our Town 
Our Town is a 1940 film adaptation of a play of the same name by Thornton Wilder starring William Holden, Martha Scott, Fay Bainter, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee and Frank Craven.  

Videos for Our Town on Youtube 
Selection of videos of Our Town productions and interviews.
 

Additional Resources

The Big Read Wilder’s Bibliography (NEA Big Read) 
Selected bibliography on Thornton Wilder.  

Masterpiece Theatre Resources 
Selected bibliography on works by and on Thornton Wilder.
 

OT: Our Town

OT: Our Town 
Information page of the documentary OT: Our Town with some reviews and praises published on newspapers and magazines.  

OT: Our Town Discussion Guide 
Discussion questions prepared to work with the documentary OT: Our Town.

Masterpiece Theater: OT 
Short essay about the documentary film OT: Our Town, including film synopsis, history, and short clips.
 

Teaching Drama Resources

From Play to Stage 
This resource gives useful hints on how to produce Our Town in an English classroom.

Teaching High School Theatre without a Text Book 
Short guide for teachers that need help in finding helpful tools to teach theatre in high school.

Creative Drama and Theatre Education 
Resource site with classroom ideas and games to teach drama.

Drama 8 to 10 
Resource package with information on how to implement drama courses.

Building a Better Theatre Curriculum 
Article by Shawndee Moss, published in Teaching Theatre, the Educational Theatre Association’s quarterly journal for theatre educators. A step-by-guide to organizing units into sequential learning strategies; includes a sample outline that features standards, concepts, and lessons with suggested objectives and assessments.

Theatre on a Shoestring 
Comprehensive resource site for theatre productions without a budget.

Virtual Drama Studio 
Set of resources useful to Drama and English teachers working in schools, both experienced teachers who are on the lookout for new schemes of work and ideas, and those who are just starting in Drama teaching and would appreciate some support.   

Creative Teaching through Drama 
Resources for teachers that want to use drama in their classroom.   

Teaching Drama One 
Resource page for teachers that want to start a drama course.    

Drama for Secondary Schools 
Study guide for drama teachers.   

Drama 1 Notes and Exercises 
Sample exercises that can be used to teach drama.   

Drama lesson Plans 
Sample lesson plan to teach drama in high school.


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Italy Reads 2010 Resources for Readers / Book Groups

The Big Read Essay Topics (NEA Big Read) 
Essay topics #7-8-9 are related to Our Town. These topics can be adapted as discussion topics.   

The Big Read Discussion Questions (NEA Big Read) 
These discussion questions were created for The Big Read program for both The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Our Town by Thornton Wilder. The second section presents questions for Our Town  

Masterpiece Theatre: Our Town 
These discussion questions to use before and after seeing the drama can be easily adapted to play as a book. 

Additional Resources (NEA Big Read) 
Useful resources for readers selected by NEA’s The Big Read.

Our Town: Overview 
This web resource presents a series of discussion questions that can be adapted for different purposes.   

Teachers Net: Our Town 
Discussion questions divided by act.   

Our Town: Reading Guide 
Reading guide of the play with discussion questions on Harper Perennial website. 

Reading Group Guide 
Reading guide and discussion questions sponsored by Barnes & Noble. The page includes an excerpt that can be used for discussion.

Discussion Questions and Activities: Our Town 
Ten discussion questions followed by a series of activities that can be organized by book groups.

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Italy Reads 2010 Student Drama Contest! 

Winners of Student Drama Contest Announced 

JCU President Franco Pavoncello welcomed a joyous crowd of high school students in the Aula Magna Regina on March 4th for the Italy Reads Student Drama Contest Awards Ceremony. In his welcome speech he discussed globalization, highlighting the importance of learning a language and the role that a university such as JCU plays in this: “The need for Italians to learn English is a national emergency because this language is the key to understanding the world.” 

Students from local area high schools, lead by teachers participating in Italy Reads 2010 created short films of themselves performing excerpts from Our Town by Thornton Wilder. The contest was divided into two categories: one for International (English language) Schools and one for Italian licei. 

"I thank JCU and Italy Reads for giving me the opportunity to reach out to those students who were convinced they 'didn't like English'. This project helped me to uncover a dormant interest in more than a few students. Since we do not have a formal drama department in our school, this project enabled my students to truly engage in this classic of American literature." –quote from an Italy Reads 2010 teacher 

Carlos Dews, JCU Professor of English, Director of the Creative Writing Institute and Project Director of Italy Reads, and Gina Spinelli, JCU Academic Administrative Assistant, announced the award winners and honorable mentions of the contest. 
And the winners were:

  • Winner of Best Video in Liceo Division:
    Liceo “Manara”, Class III-B, Cristiana Gentili
  • Winner of Best Video in International School Division:
    Lycée Chateaubriand de Rome, 1ère Langue de Complément, Stéphane Ravera
  • Honorable Mention for Originality of Interpretation:
    Liceo “Innocenzo XII”, Class III-B, Tina Fortuna Pappalardo
  • Honorable Mention for Representation of Authorial Intent:
    Liceo “Augusto”, Class V-C, Maria Teresa Ciaffaroni
  • Honorable Mention for Contemporary Contextualization of Play:
    Liceo “Immanuel Kant”, Class II-A, Alessandra Tedeschini


Click here to see the winning videos! 

Student Drama Contest!

Students of participating Italy Reads teachers are encouraged to participate in the Italy Reads Student Drama Contest! Students film themselves performing short excerpts from Our Town and submit the videos for judging by a panel of experts. The class of the winning video will receive a prize of 500 euros! There are two divisions of the contest: one for International (English language) Schools and one for Italian licei. Please read the following Contest Rules and List of Approved Excerpts from Our Town 

Contest Rules
 

All students who appear in a video submitted to compete in the drama contest must be from the same class at the same school. Classes are encouraged to submit multiple entries.

Videos submitted for the Student Drama Contest! must present one of the following sections from the play or an excerpt from the play that has received prior approval from the director of Italy Reads. Email [email protected] to request approval of an excerpt from the play not listed below. 

Video recordings can be taken either using mobile telephones or video cameras. 

Submissions must be received by the deadline of 6:00p.m. Friday, 11 February (formerly 4 February 2011). Submissions of videos to the contest must includes a note or message that includes: name of school, name of teacher, list of students involved in making video (both those acting and those involved in other aspects of the production), email address and contact information for person submitting the video.

Video entries can be uploaded to YouTubeFacebook or other social network and the link sent to Italy Reads. Videos may also be submitted on DVD or as attachments to an email message sent to [email protected]. DVDs can also be hand delivered to Ms. Gina Spinelli at the Guarini Campus of John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233, Rome (Trastevere) or mailed to Ms. Gina Spinelli, John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233, 00165 Rome.

The committee of judges will select the winning video based on the following criteria:

  • Acting ability of those appearing in video.
  • Creativity in direction of the play reflecting the meaning of the scene.
  • Originality of interpretation.
  • Costumes and make-up.
  • Lighting.
  • Quality of video recording.
  • Quality of audio.


Two (2) awards for the amount of 500 Euros each will be given to the class whose submission has been determined to best satisfy the above-listed criteria. Award Winners will be announced on Friday, 4 March 2011.

Prize money must be spent on a project or activity chosen by the class as a group and approved by the Italy Reads participating teacher. The prize funds must be spent before June 2011 and a report on how the award was spent must be submitted to Italy Reads by the end of June 2011.

List of Approved Excerpts from Our Town 

Videos submitted for the Student Drama Contest! must present one of the following sections from the play or an excerpt from the play that has received prior approval from the director of Italy Reads. Email [email protected] to request approval of an excerpt from the play not listed below. The page numbers listed are from the Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition of Our Town (ISBN 978-0-06-051263-7). Submissions of videos to the contest must includes a note or message that includes: name of school, name of teacher, list of students involved in making video (both those acting and those involved in other aspects of the production), email address and contact information for person submitting the video.

ACT I 
Pages 17-21 From Mrs. Gibbs: "Here, chick chick" to Mrs. Gibbs; "O I am sorry I mentioned it . . . . they don’t talk in English and don’t even want to."
Pages 28-32 From George: “Awfully sorry . . .” to Emily: ” . . . you’re no help at all”
Pages 32-33 From Stage Manager: "Thank you! That'll do. . . .” to Stage Manager: “This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying."
Pages 34-36 From George: "Hsst! Emily!" to Emily: "Good night, George."

ACT II
 
Pages 56-60 From George: “Good morning everybody.” to Mr. Webb: “. . . personal matters.”
Pages 58-61 From Mr. Webb: "Well, George, how are you?" to Mr. Webb: “. . . and I’m going to put an incubator in the cellar—“ 
Pages 64-72 From George; "Emily, why are you mad at me"? to George: "Wait just a minute and I'll walk you home."
Pages 76 From Mrs. Webb: “I don't know why on earth I should be crying.” to Mrs. Webb: “There they come.”

ACT III
 
Pages 98-108 From Emily: “But, Mother Gibbs, . . .” to Stage Manager: “No.”


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Calendar of Events

Please note:  The public events for Italy Reads 2010 have now ended.  Participating teachers can still request visits from JCU students and a drama workshop with Gaby Ford.

1 December 2010, Wednesday.  Deadline for receipt of Bando di Concorso applications for JCU Scholarshp for Italy Reads participating teachers.

11 February (formerly 4 February) 2011, Friday, 6:00p.m., Deadline for video entries to be submitted for the Student Drama Contest! Video entries can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook or other social network and the link sent to Italy Reads. Videos may also be submitted on DVD or as attachments to an email message sent to [email protected] DVDs can also be hand delivered to Ms. Gina Spinelli at the Guarini Campus of John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233, Rome (Trastevere) or mailed to Ms. Gina Spinelli, John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233, 00165 Rome.

4 March 2011, Friday, Announcement of Winners of Student Drama Contest!

Past Events

11 September 2010, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Teacher and Book Group Leader Training Sessions, The English International School of Padua.

16 September 2010, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Teacher and Book Group Leader Training Session, Boardroom, Guarini Campus, John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  Lunched provided to participants, Secchia Terrace, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

18 September 2010, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Teacher and Book Group Leader Training Session, Boardroom, Guarini Campus, John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  Lunched provided to participants, Secchia Terrace, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

25 September 2010, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Teacher and Book Group Leader Training Session, Boardroom, Guarini Campus, John Cabot University, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  Lunched provided to participants, Secchia Terrace, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

30 September 2010, Thursday, 8:00 p.m., Keynote Address, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere). Keynote Speaker, Buck Herron, Head of Drama at the American School of London.

1 October 2010, Friday, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Drama Workshop for High School Teachers with Buck Herron, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

1 October 2010, Friday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

2 October 2010, Saturday, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Drama Workshop for High School Teachers with Buck Herron, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

4 October 2010, Monday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

6 October 2010, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

8 October 2010, Friday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.K.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

11 October 2010, Monday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

12 October 2010, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  

13 October 2010, Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

14 October 2010, Thursday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

15 October 2010, Friday, 8:00 p.m., Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

16 October 2010, Saturday, 5:00 p.m., Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

18 October 2010, Monday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

19 October 2010, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

20 October 2010, Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

21 October 2010, Thursday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.K.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

22 October 2010, Friday, 8:00 p.m., Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email rometh[email protected] or [email protected]

23 October 2010, Saturday, 5:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

25 October 2010, Monday, 7:00 p.m., SOLD OUT, Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

26 October 2010, Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

27 October 2010, Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., SOLD OUT Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

28 October 2010, Thursday, 7:00 p.m., Our Town Cinema. Screening of the 2003 American Public Broadcasting (PBS) production of the play, starring Paul Newman. Room G.G.1, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).

29 October 2010, Friday, 8:00 p.m., Rome English Theatre production of Our Town, Aula Magna, John Cabot University, Guarini Campus, Via della Lungara 233 (Trastevere).  To reserve seats or for more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]

RSVP for all events to [email protected] or telephone 06.681.91.223.  For tickets to the Rome English Theatre’s production of Our Town email [email protected]