My 3rd graders are a tough bunch. It is often difficult to get them to stay on task. I noticed that when we did Ricitos de Oro y los Tres Osos that they didn't get into the choral reading as much as my second graders did. I wanted to make sure everyone was reading and actively participating so I let them just listen and watch while we did it in a big group. Then I distributed scripts and let them read and perform it on their own in small groups.
The hook was that after practicing each small group would perform for the class. The best class performers would then be our actors and actresses for a special performance for the 1st graders (who had just finished studying body parts so this would be a great review.) While this did lead to some fights over who read which part, it also had them working hard to read it well, with fluency and emotion, rather than just sitting there and barely mouthing the words like they had with the Tres Osos script.
|Our actors performing for 1st grade|
The kids who didn't get a speaking part for the big performance still had work to do. Every student made a program for the first graders with one of the characters from the play with body parts labeled. Several girls worked on the scenery during recess and after school. We also had ushers, people to pass out programs and snacks, custodians to clean up, an announcer to welcome the 1st graders, and basically any other small task I could give kids so that everyone was involved.
|Every 3rd grader designed a program|
It was a HUGE success. The first grade teachers raved about how well the kids read and their students loved it. One first grade student told me "Estoy bien. Estoy dos biens" which was her cute novice way of saying two thumbs up. And the 3rd graders had a blast. It took some extra coordination between me and the classroom teachers but it was well worth it.
|The 1st graders loved getting a snack, program, & watching the play.|
A big shout out to my colleague Alfonso de Torres Núñez who originally gave me the idea of doing readers theater and performances. Have you used readers theater in your classes? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!