One of my students' favorite activities each year is performing a Reader's Theater on one of the events from the Revolutionary War. My brave and confident students definitely love the opportunity to act, and my more timid students actually enjoy the relatively low-pressure performance and non-existent live audience!
Although these Reader's Theaters can be done at any time, I have chosen to use them as a culminating activity for our Revolutionary War unit. I do this because I don't want the content of the performance to get in the way of the 21st Century skill acquisition that happens if students already understand the material.
Once students have signed up for their parts, written them down, and highlighted all of their lines, they get into their group and begin to read the script. I ask them to read through the script at least twice before preparing any props or determining stage directions. Anyone who forgot to highlight a line or copied their role down incorrectly will discover their mistake during this initial practice time.
As soon as the children are familiar with the storyline and their role in the skit, they begin to take on leadership roles and conflict tends to arise. I often step in early to remind them of the importance of being a leader AND a follower throughout this process. Listening to others' ideas can be just as important as sharing your own good ideas! I allow my students to struggle with this, but I make sure that they see that I'm aware of their conflict and I'm watching to see how it gets handled. Students need these opportunities to struggle and even fail when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Too often, adults intervene before children are allowed to make mistakes. This is unfortunate, because a mistake can be dissected and analyzed (appropriately) within the group and everyone will learn so much from it.
I wish every teacher could have the chance to watch their students work together on a task like this because the intense collaboration that happens is amazing! Students who often have trouble processing information or attending while others speak can be seen giving intense eye contact and participating in discussions about where they should stand or how they should deliver their line. Students are intrinsically motivated to participate and even lead!
- Connect Past Learning to New Situations
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Make Judgments & Decisions
- Flexible/Adaptable to Change
- Use Different Learning Modalities
- Set & Manage Goals and Time
- Risk Taking
- Be Self-Directed
- Persist despite Setbacks
- Inquire/Be Curious
- Work well with Others
- Produce Results
- Guide and Lead Others
Our Reader's Theater videos from this year: