Each year students and teachers in grades two through five produce a class play. Over the years Viking musicals, Beatles -inspired skits, Colonial mysteries, rewritten Aesop’s fables, and more have entertained us. Once a cycle we come together as a community to be entertained and support our classmates. We sing, clap, laugh, and learn through these performances. This week, our second grade thespians put on a grand production titled, “American Symbols on Parade”. (I have included several short videos from the show below.) We laughed at the clever dialogue and learned a little bit about what constitutes a national symbol. For weeks the boys prepared lines and practiced songs. Each group that will perform over the next several months will go through this process of casting, rehearsing, staging, blocking and producing a memorable show. In the process the boys learn how to work collaboratively, develop public speaking skills, and perform in front of an audience. In June, we ask our fifth grade boys for their most “memorable moment” of their lower school years. For many, it is a memory from a play performance.
In our younger grades, plays and performance are included in the curriculum. This week the first grade worked on play performances about the Rosa Park story. They took turns riding the famous bus and expressing the frustration of discrimination. Next month, they will write a script about a United States president and perform for our school leaders in Centennial Hall.
Play performance in lower grades also allows for the boys to experience another level of storytelling experience. Acting out a story helps children better understand emotion and empathy. In his book Play, Stuart Brown talks about the power of storytelling. He says, “storytelling has been identified as the unit of human understanding. It occupies a central place in early development and learning about the world, oneself, and one’s place in it.” Whether it is a formal class production, a short Reader’s Theatre skit read in class, or an iPad story creation made with iMovie, Gilman lower school knows the value of stories told in dramatic form.
I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire weekend conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” for this weekend.
- If you are in Kindergarten- what is growing on your string creations in the window? What are you learning about ice crystals?
- If you are in Pre-First- What did the glitter on your hands represent in science class this week? What happened when you shook hands and opened doors?
- If you are in First Grade- Why did you plant garlic in the garden? What did you do to “put the garden to bed”?
- If you are in Second Grade- How did you enjoy the week of preparing for the play? Did you feel you gave your best performance? What experiments with rocks or about rocks did you do this week in science?
- If you are in Third Grade- What does inukshuk mean and how do you create one?
- If you are in Fourth Grade- What are you using to make your stained glass design in art? What invention are you researching and how is that coming? How did you enjoy your time reading with fourth grade girls at RPCS this week?
- If you are in Fifth Grade- Have you started your Dissenter essay research? What lessons about research and citing sources did Ms. Todd teach you this week? If you performed at the MLK Convocation- did you enjoy singing with the Traveling Men? (see video below)