Blog #1 is for grades 1-8 class teachers.
'Tis the Season for the Class Play
Each time we talk with Waldorf alumni students about their school experience, it doesn't take long for the conversation to come around to their animated, joyful descriptions of their annual class plays. We love listening to them recount this scene or that scene, or the time that so-and-so forgot her lines and so-and-so stepped in. These deep, important reminiscences always inspire us to support class teachers in any way we can to take on the leadership of such an endeavor. We want their students to also experience the rich creative and social processes that class plays can provide.
When is the class play the most successful? We think it happens when from the very first day of the school year the teacher begins musing on the children's individual needs in relation to the year's curriculum content. She considers what the class and individual children may need to work on temperamentally or as a group and/or which stories have touched the class deeply. For example, when teaching second grade for the first time, Patti felt that her class really needed to learn more about social inclusion and so she chose to write a play based off of the book Kateri, the Rough-faced Girl by Rafe Martin. Kateri was a Mohawk girl who was made fun of because of the scarring on her face and who was later admired for her kind deeds.
Of course, you don't have to personally write class plays. There are many wonderful collections of Waldorf plays that you can use. Over the course of our teaching careers, we wrote a few and tweaked many to reflect the needs of our students and class size.
Another best practice is to introduce the script to the class 8-10 weeks before the end performance(s). Why? In grades 2-5 the class should be given ample time so that the pedagogical nature of the script can be thoroughly experienced by each student in the class.This occurs as each child learns every line by heart, is able to experience each role over time, and with all of the children working together as an artistic, social community. In the upper grades when the play shifts from a mainly poetic format to individual lines delivered in prose, the parts also become longer and individualized. Working with the play over a longer period of time allows for students to become familiar with the play in its entirety and to learn their specific roles individually without becoming overly stressed.
To learn more about best practices, we invite you to use our short booklet found in our website's 'How To' section titled: Suggestions for Teachers: How to Lead a Successful Class Play in Grades 1-8. This booklet shares important considerations and gives specific recommendations for your class play production, such as:
- A Developmental Approach to the Class Play From Grade 1 to 8: Changing Styles and Themes
- Suggestions for Planning the Class Play
- Class Play Timelines - for different grade levels!
- Resources for Teachers: A list of free eBook collections of class plays
Enjoy and "break a leg"!Patti and Janet
We are taking our Roadmap to Literacy Workshop: Teaching Language Arts in Grades 1-4 on the road this summer! Below is some information on these workshops. We would love to see you there!
In Sebastopol, California:
June 19-21: The Roadmap to Literacy: How to Create an Artistic and Effective Language Arts Curriculum for Grades 1-4.
This three-day course co-taught by Patti and Janet is part of the Art of Teaching Grades 1-4 conference hosted by the Sebastopol Charter School. For information contact: Sebastopol Charter School at 707.824.9700 and speak to Carrie. Go to https://sites.google.com/a/sebastopolcharter.org/training/home for more information.
In Wilton, N.H.:
July 1-6: The Roadmap to Literacy: Creating an Artistic and Effective Language Arts Curriculum in the Lower Grades.
This five-day course, taught by Janet, will be held in Wilton, N.H. as part of the 2nd Week of the Renewal Conference sponsored by the Center for Anthroposophy. Below you will find the conference brochure and a more detailed description of the course.
In Southern California:
We are working on scheduling a 3-4 day workshop in the greater L.A. area perhaps in early August… we'll keep you posted as details develop.
Book Update: Just an FYI, finally the production process on The Roadmap to Literacy is completed and the book is off to the printers! We will let you know when it is available for sale and how to order it as soon as the date is set.