Friday, April 8, 2016

All of Our Classroom is a Stage

While we did not have lights, curtains, costumes, or make-up, we did produce a little theatrical magic in our room this week. Sliding back into our routines after spring break, we split into small groups for a little work on readers' theater scripts. Readers' theater experiences are built around familiar stories turned into scripts. Instead of cast members memorizing their lines, they learn to read them with fluency and expression and share the readings with others.

To embed readers' theater in our classroom, we read a number of fun folktales, became familiar with the story and characters, chose parts, practiced reading those parts to each other, and then took turns reading the play versions aloud. Throughout the days last week, we learned more about characterization, story plots and problems, and reading with increased fluency to better capture the authors' meaning.

 This week we turned the page and began a new author/illustrator study. We are taking a closer look at the works of Cynthia Rylant. So far we have started to wonder about what Ms. Rylant does as an author to capture our interest. We will also look at how the many different contributing illustrators add artwork to her books to enhance the meaning and mood of Ms. Rylant's stories.

Like many authors, Ms. Rylant draws on her own experiences for ideas. Already we have noticed she includes mountains and pets in her books. Shhh. That's because she grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and loves animals. In the coming weeks, we hope to learn more about the themes in her books and how Ms. Rylant and her illustrators help us understand the big ideas and big messages in the stories.

By the way, our furry friends learned a thing or two today as well. Bringing a favorite stuffed animal to school was the perfect way to end the week and the perfect way to celebrate the good work being done in our classroom. What a treat! There's lots to think about and lots to enjoy. So here's to animal friends; here's to interesting stories, and here's to Seconds!

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