Behind the Scenes

Summer is a time to relax and travel, but as a teacher it is also the time we begin preparing for another school year performance. Like most elementary school teachers, I want to capture the attention of my audience of students with creative lessons and activities that will inspire and engage them while helping to strengthen some of their weaknesses. Reader’s Theater has always been one of my favorite activities each school year for those very reasons.

 As I was upgrading my Reader’s Theater Center this week since I will be teaching fifth grade this school year, I came across a script entitled – “50 Flavors”.  It was from one of my first classes. As I looked through the script, I saw the highlighted parts and stage notes from one of my third grade students who performed it that year. Camila was extremely shy and barely spoke any English. I remember learning from other teacher friends about the benefits of Reader’s Theater and how it could help improve the fluency and public speaking skills of my students. That year was the first year I implemented Reader’s Theater as a center activity during my reading time.

Camila would diligently practice her character, the owner of an ice cream shop, each week with her reading buddy. (I believe her love of ice cream is what attracted her to this script!)  At first she struggled with the vocabulary especially some of the names of the ice cream flavors like pistachio, praline pecan and neapolitan. Eventually, with the help of her buddy and my guidance, she mastered the words. She still, however, feared performing in front of the class. The more she practiced the script the more confident and fluent she became. She even began reading with amazing expression and intonation.  She did end up performing the play for the class even though she was afraid. She managed to pronounce almost all the words correctly. She received a standing ovation! 

Reader’s Theater engaged her from the start and helped her develop the self-confidence she needed to speak in front of the class while helping to build her reading skills. Reader’s Theater is always a big hit in my classroom each year! Thank God for websites that provide teachers and parents with all the support and scripts they need to start a Reader’s Theater program. My favorite is:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

LIFE LESSON:  Although at times we may feel fear, that feeling is not from God. Sometimes we have to do it afraid so we can look back and learn that His unfailing love was always there and will always be there to guide us through all life’s tough performances. Jesus survived one of the toughest performances of us all because of His love for each of us.