Tafolla Toro Three Years of Fear by Lorenzon Gomez III
Curriculum Guide for Schools
To the Curriculum Guide for the CAST Network production of Tafolla Toro. We appreciate you joining us to enjoy and explore the work of our middle and high school CAST Network theatre students, and we hope you find the play to be poignant, thoughtful, and inspiring.
Our goal is to further and deepen the students’ experience of Tafolla Toro by connecting the story to work being done in the classroom and experiences in students’ personal lives. This guide is formatted as learning experiences with themes of journeys and personal letters. The Teacher Guide asks classes to explore their own journeys and transitions as individuals as a collective by connecting to Mr. Gomez’s narrative. Through Tafolla Toro, a meaningful soliloquy is achieved, reaching a range of ideas including identity, home, geography, self-discovery, and facing adversity.
The guide is intended for you, the teacher, as a place for information and inspiration to fully incorporate the play into your existing curriculum in a way that you see works naturally and meaningfully. Included in the Curriculum Guide is information about the playwright, the creation of the play, historical and cultural context, and activities centered on understanding, self-reflection, narrative writing, and exploring the themes of the play. This guide is a starting place, and we invite you to adapt and expand what best fits the needs of your students.
We hope you enjoy the story and reflecting and writing with your students!
CAST Schools and Advanced Learning Academy & CAST Tech Theatre Program Goals:
About the Book, Author, and Play
The great lie of our society is that mental health and mental illness are the same.” (From Goodreads)
Lorenzo Gomez wants to dispel that notion for good. In his new book, Tafolla Toro, he reaches back in time to share stories of his turbulent, traumatic, and often violent middle school years in one of San Antonio’s most crime-riddled neighborhoods. He opens up to reveal the fear, anxiety, and hopelessness he felt as a teenage and how those forces shaped his life until he began taking steps as an adult to improve his mental health.
Alternating between shocking stories from his youth and letters written to his 12-year-old self, Lorenzo shows young people how to retake the battle of their minds by dealing with what is true and dismantling the lies that lead to self-deception. In Lorenzo’s journey, readers will see someone who understands what they feel, knows what they’re going through, and is standing up to tell them: Decide today that you are worthy.
- Draw a Bird’s Eye map of Your Neighborhood. Color code the significant places, place a star where important memories occurred.
- Write a letter to yourself describing an important memory from you middle school experience (grades 6-8).
- Write a letter to yourself describing a person that made a difference for you during your middle school years.
At the end of the following sections of narrative writing and class activities, each student will have a powerful group of personal letters.
Associated Focus TEKS for Theatre I and English I and II Included in the Curriculum:
English I and II
(3) Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking–self-sustained reading. The student reads grade-appropriate texts independently. The student is expected to self-select text and read independently for a sustained period of time.
(4) Comprehension skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student uses metacognitive skills to both develop and deepen comprehension of increasingly complex texts. The student is expected to:
(B) generate questions about text before, during, and after reading to deepen understanding and gain information;
(D) create mental images to deepen understanding;
(E) make connections to personal experiences, ideas in other texts, and society
(H) synthesize information from two texts to create new understanding
(5) Response skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts. The student responds to an increasingly challenging variety of sources that are read, heard, or viewed. The student is expected to:
(A) describe personal connections to a variety of sources, including self-selected texts;
(B) write responses that demonstrate understanding of texts, including comparing texts within and across genres;
(E) interact with sources in meaningful ways such as note taking, annotating, freewriting, or illustrating
(4) Historical and cultural relevance. The student relates theatre to history, society, and culture. The student is expected to:
(A) portray theatre as a reflection of life in particular times, places, and cultures;
(B) relate historical and cultural influences on theatre;
(C) identify the impace of live theatre, film, television, and electronic media on contemporary society
(2) Creative expression: performance. The student interprets characters using the voice and body expressively and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:
(D) use physical, intellectual, emotional, and social awareness to portray believable characters and convey a story when applying acting concepts, skills, and techniques;
(F) create, write, and refine original monologues, improvsations, scenes, or vigenttes that reflect dramatic structure to convey meaning to the audience through live performance or media forms
Teachers, please feel free to add your ideas, lessons, student examples, process photographs, and reflections to this curriculum. We would love to include those additions and student examples in this curriculum guide in the future! For questions, feel free to email Jose DeHoyos at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Amy Strengel at email@example.com.