Instant
Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

As you scroll through this guide you will find curriculum connections, discussion questions, units of study and more. You will also be able to click on any templates, worksheets and/or graphic organizers. If you wish to create your own lesson plan from the study guide copy, we have created a lesson plan template for your use. We hope you will find this guide to be a useful resource. Should you have any questions or feedback or have inquiries about the use of this guide (which is copyright protected), please feel free to contact Karen Gilodo, Associate Artistic Director, Education at kgilodo@youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

YPT thanks Geordie Productions for their permission to adapt their online guide. It was adapted by Aimee Bouchard, Member Schools & Education Manager and Karen Gilodo, Associate Artistic Director, Education.

THEMATIC OVERVIEW

In this study guide, students will explore our 52nd season’s theme of “Finding Yourself” through discussion questions and activities to support their exploration of online versus real identities.

Through the pre-show discussion questions and activities, students will explore the implications of social media as it relates to cyber-bullying, and consider how social media affects the ways in which we communicate with one another and portray ourselves to others online. In the post-show unit students will explore online versus real identities, develop strategies for a healthy perspective on online attention, and examine their own perspectives on sharing information about themselves online.

It is our hope that this production and study guide will encourage students to critically examine their own relationships with social media, as well as its influence on their relationships with others.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

  • English (Media Studies)
  • Computer Studies (Ethical Issues, Computers & Society)
  • Social Sciences & the Humanities (Addressing Social Changes, Healthy Relationships, Equity, Diversity and Social Justice)
  • Health & Physical Education (Social Influences; Decision-Making, Communication Skills; Technology – Benefits and Risks, Safe Use; Mental Health & Emotional Well-being, Healthy Relationships)

CHARACTER EDUCATION CONNECTIONS

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Cooperation

THEMES

  • Seeking Fame and Recognition
  • Managing the Consequences of Online Choices
  • Establishing Identity amid Social Pressure

SYNOPSIS

Meredith (Mer) wants to be a pop star. Jay wants to be a hockey star. Rosie just wants to help her father. Searching for fame in a world of instant communication drives all of them to make split-second choices that have lasting ramifications. Instant is a lightning-speed, multi-narrative story about three teenagers who are trying to be seen.

Content Advisory: Strong Language, Mature Situations
Click here for detailed information.

GLOSSARY

Cyber bullying
The use of cell phones, instant messaging, email, chat rooms or social networking sites to harass threaten or intimidate someone.

Identity
The qualities of a person or group that make them different from others.

Media Literacy
The ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.

Online Identity
The network or internet equivalent to the real identity of a person or entity when used for identification in connections or transactions.

Online Literacy
The knowledge, skills and behaviors used in a broad range of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs.

Perceptions
The way you think about or understand someone or something.

Parental Pressure
Behavior exhibited by parents that is perceived by their children as indicating high, unlikely or possibly even unattainable expectations.

PRE-SHOW DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • How does one differentiate between fact and fiction online?
  • What is “fake news”?
  • What are the differences between online and real world identities? How are online identities constructed?
  • Does social media help or hinder personal relationships?
  • If the online world is ever-changing, why are people pre-occupied with “number of views”, “likes”, etc.? What are the benefits of online attention? What are the downsides?
  • What is the difference in tone in a face-to-face conversation versus an online one? Have you ever been confused by someone else’s tone online (or vice versa)?
  • Why do some people feel emboldened in their online communication?
  • What is cyber bullying? How does it compare to bullying that happens in person? Is it easier to defend someone who is being bullied online or in real-life?
  • Is there a formula for becoming famous online? If so, what is it?
  • What is the difference between being famous and being infamous?

PRE-SHOW ACTIVITIES

Pre-Show Activity: In Real Life

  1. As a class, watch the video In Real Life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URvC6T_xhE0) WARNING: Strong language and disturbing content. Teachers, please watch this video before viewing with students to determine if this exercise is right for your group.
  2. Lead a class discussion by asking students to:
    • Identify the message in the video.
    • Determine whether the video achieves its objective. Is it effective? Would students make any changes to make it more effective?
    • Have students read the comments and discuss with them the irony of the harsh tone in this section and how it relates to the video itself.

Pre-Show Culminating Activity: Future of Social Media

  1. As a class, imagine the future of social media. What products or online platforms might be available 10 years from now? 20 years? 50 years?
  2. In groups, ask students to imagine their own product or online platform, and create a short scene to advertise how it works and its benefits.
  3. Students will present the scenes to the rest of the class. After each scene, discuss how this kind of technology might both positively and negatively affect how we communicate to one another and portray ourselves to others.

POST-SHOW DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • As a class, discuss Jay’s mom’s behaviour and Jay’s behaviour at his hockey games. What are the connections between the two?
  • Rosie is trying to raise awareness and money for her father who is struggling with MS. Why does this bother Mer?
  • Why does Rosie’s Instagram comment push Mer to write a hurtful anonymous comment on her YouTube video?
  • When Mer is telling Jay why she doesn’t want to post her own songs online, she says they’re not “the kind of songs people post on YouTube.” What does she mean by this? What criteria is used when deciding what should be posted on YouTube?
  • Rosie puts so much stock in the comments she gets online; first in the positive ones and then in the negative ones. How can one temper their response to this kind of attention? As a class, come up with a list of strategies for setting a healthy perspective on online attention.

POST-SHOW ACTIVITIES

Post-Show Activity: The Masks We Wear

  1. Ask students to choose a character from the play.
  2. Using the mask template in Appendix A, students will write various things about their chosen character on the mask. On the front of the mask, students will write things about the character that they want to present to other people, both in real life and online.
  3. On the reverse of the mask, students will write the things that this character keeps to him/herself.
  4. Ask students to hold their masks to their faces, with the front side facing out. Students will walk around the room and by reading what is on each other’s masks, get themselves into groups of all the same character (i.e. if there are three characters represented, there will be three groups).
  5. Students will walk around the room again, and trade masks with another person from a different group. Ask students to quickly identify who their new characters are by looking at the masks (keeping this information to themselves).
  6. Students will flip the masks and hold them up to show the reverse side. Students will walk around again and get into groups of the same character.
  7. As a class, discuss:
    • Which side of the mask was easier to tell the characters apart? Why?
    • Did you notice any similarities on the reverse side of the masks between different characters?
    • In what other situations might we “put on a mask”? Why?
    • Do you think a mask is an effective way to describe our real-life versus online identities? Why or why not?

Post-Show Culminating Activity: Perspectives

  1. Using the same character chosen from the previous activity, students will write a journal entry from that character’s perspective about a specific moment in the show.
  2. Afterwards, ask students to write a Twitter post (140 characters only) that this character might write about that same moment. Ask students to consider how much of this character’s real feelings they would put into such a post.
  3. While writing, ask students to continue to consider the real-life identity of that character compared to the online identity they are portraying.
  4. Have students get into groups of four or five, and then pass their writing exercises to another group, mixing up the Tweets from the journal entries. In their groups, ask students to try to determine which Tweet belongs to which journal entry, and discuss their reasoning.
  5. Using one of the journal entries from their group, students will dramatize this moment in the play from this character’s perspective, also incorporating the Tweet they believe matches the character.
  6. After each scene, the group will share why they selected that Tweet over the others, and the original author will confirm whether or not they were correct.
  7. As a class, discuss:
    • How much about someone’s personal life can we tell from what they post online?
    • Why do people choose to share personal things online? What is the “line” for what is acceptable to share online? Why?

APPENDIX

Appendix A – The Mask