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Posts tagged ‘theatre’

Creating a Dinner Theatre

This morning as I entered the room, the children were already in full swing of creating a dinner theatre. Our classroom is a long rectangular shape and the block center is across from our family living area. Next to our family living area is a loft. Addison (4.10), Lydia (5.3), and Drake (5.3) had already moved a small table to block center, covered it with a table cloth, added a vase, and four chairs. They moved the couch to face the area where they were going to do their production. As I walked in the children said, “Mahi, we need a stage! We can’t make a dinner theatre without one.” Lydia shares, “I know I’ve seen one out there. No one is using it and we NEED (large emphasis on this word from her) it to continue our work. We can’t learn about theatres without one!” As a teacher, How can you turn this phenomenal moment down? I couldn’t!

A couple boys helped Kara, our assistant, bring the block of wood we dubbed as stage. We rearranged the block area and family living area to make this possible. The children decided the stage needed to be placed near the loft so that they could use the area under the loft as the costume room. Children began assigning roles to other children and/or encouraging them to sign up for specific jobs. In a matter o f minutes, each child who was at school had a role and was preparing for their job. As more friends entered the classroom, they were given a duty and play continued. This play continued for one to two hours depending on the time children arrived at school. The production turned into a musical which was acted out several times so children could take turns with various roles.

Until next time-





The Musical

Check out our newest production, a musical, performed on Friday! This was completely child led. Teachers were there to support younger children by helping them follow the directions of their peers. Teachers were also used to help reach and find items for the children. The children would come up with a description of what they needed and the teacher would try to find it and give the children support based on their needs. Besides that, the children did all of this work. Teachers asked for clarification, observed, and questioned the children to help with higher order thinking skills.

Children begin talking about what production they would like to create for the day. The children decide they would like to do a musical but are not sure of the music they would like to do. An older child suggests making a list to vote on. He copies words from several books and cds until they narrow down their voting system. Children vote and decide tohave a musical. They then start to gather items as they think of what play they would like to do. The begin by working to figure out what they need. They use classroom books and technology the children create a list of jobs we need. Friends then copy the words onto a sticker and add it to their shirts. Some of the jobs included lighting, stage manager, office box, ticket master, actresses and actors.

The girls work on creating the stage. Three boys work to set up the seats for the show. Several children begin to create tickets out of perforated paper that was in the classroom. One child cuts the tickets and gathers friends in an area to wait for ticket sales to begin. As he prepares this section, another child shares that we need to know when the show will start. A child over hears and says they will take on that job. He begins to creates a clock on a piece of paper making a circle and then copying the numbers one through twelve. He counts down to two minutes and then begins to put friends in their positions to begin the show. The audience members begin to buy the tickets. They are then told to move to another location where a child is waiting for them. This child created a ticket booth with a laundry basket to catch tickets and a block with a whole in it to put the cut tickets through. She takes tickets and shows friends to a friend who shows the audience members where their seats are located. The audience sits down and the narrator, tells friends, “Ladies and Gentleman!” All the girls in the room then use the Greg and Steve songs to act out their musical. Up in the loft, boys have created lighting and video cameras based on pictures they have seen from a friends trip to the theatre. They also use a flashlight as a spotlight to follow the actresses.

Stay tuned as we add more detail to our play,




Using our treasure chest

The Leapfrogs had the opportunity to look at tickets and booklets from a ballet that one of our children attended over the weekend. The ballet was at a theatre called the Adler. This started some interest in the play we had already seen and generated lots of questions.

We used materials from our treasure chest. A treasure chest is what we call the container that has items that we can create collages and representations of any kind. The children used play dough to create the stage, straws as seats, towers, and lighting. Some straws held curtains while others were cut small to make the foldable seats.

Stay tuned as we continue to create, represent, and learn more about the theatre!





Bringing the Theatre to life

We did it again and followed the lead of the children which ALWAYS has its benefits. We have decided that the children were done with the zoo project which meant we would no longer continue to study the elephants, culminate, and investigate further as we would traditionally do with a project. This project has some set backs as we could not have many hands on items as it is hard to bring an elephant in a classroom (!!!), Kara and I had both come back from maternity leave and were getting used to our new room, and we had children brand new to project work.

20121207-060745.jpgAs we prepared for the play that we were going to see at the “Big Campus” or St. Ambrose University (for those of you who are new to our blog, we are their lab school), we started to have children ask questions and wonder about the theatre. Since the play, the children have dedicated their time to stages, plays, musicals, and dinner theatres. Every child has participated in the making, creating, and acting out of a production every day whether it be a five-minute or a two-hour investment. We felt like it was hard to pull in elephants with such excitement and joy for this current interest. We felt like we would be stopping this phenomenal play, interactions with children who typically did not interact, and the problem solving as they created scenery and costumes. Yesterday, my classroom staff and our director determined and made our final decision to follow their lead and begin a theatre project. This morning as children were sitting at the table and discussing what play we should create today, I shared that I thought maybe we should switch projects. The children began all talking at the same time saying:

  • “Can we study the theatre?
  • “Let’s learn about a dinner theatre?
  • “Can we find out about costumes?”
  • “Who can help us learn about it?”
  • “Can we go back to the big campus?”

This solidified our thoughts and observations, the theatre project it is! When I said, I agreed that we should do a theatre project, several children shouted, clapped, and jumped! For those of you new¬†20121207-060817.jpgto project work, it can be started off with a catalytic event or a continued thread of interest. The beginning of this project can be attributed to the catalytic event of the Alice in Wonderland production at the University. We will begin to create a web of what we know, the teachers will make an anticipatory web, and document our questions. As Lilian Katz has said before, “the best projects are those where everyone learns (this includes the teachers and families, too!).” The following weeks will be pure hands-on investigation as we enter the second phase of our project. To learn more about project work, select project work under the word categories.

This morning, we listened to the book, The Three Little Pigs. We created lists of items we needed, how to make each item, characters, and who would be playing each role. We then got to work! We continued to replay the story to help us gather materials and set up the play. After an hour, the production was ready! A child used a karaoke machine to narrator the story and remind characters of their positions.

Stay tuned as we learn more about the theatre!




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