1.) Introduction / 2.) Idea / 3.) Preparation / 4.) Playwriting / 5.) Rehearsal / 6.) Performance / 7.) Post Mortem / Appendix 1--Brainstorms / Appendix 2--the Play

Performance

The performance was wildly successful.  For the first time in my experience everyone could be heard and understood.  More importantly, the feedback from teachers in other grades and from parents invariably included the statement, "I really think we learned something about the Oregon Trail!"  Anyone who has ever done any sort of "class play" with elementary school students knows how unusual it is for the unbiased members of the audience--the ones who are not parents of the actors--and especially children, to really understand and learn from the play.  But this one was extremely clear and engaging, and I think even the Jr. Kindergarten stayed with us for half an hour and understood the story.  At that moment, of course, all of the frustration and hard work and self-doubt that had plagued me seemed worth it, and, much more important, the frustration and hard work of the students seemed worth it to them.  I spoke with many parents, and they all felt that their sons understood the process by which they had arrived at this successful point, and that is probably the best result of all.  My own teaching philosophy can be clearly seen by comparing the amount of ink spent on the various phases of this project--creative process, rehearsal, and performance.  Learning from the process is always my ultimate goal at the elementary level.  (But I enjoy a truly successful product as well as the next guy!)

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