Reader’s Theatre puppet shows are taken very seriously in First Grade. It is a wonderful way to assess many skills such as reading, writing, communication and most importantly, how students work together as a group! In the beginning of the year, it is important to scaffold the plays according to the abilities of the class. Our first puppet show was based loosely on a book called Bubbe Isabella And The Sukkot Cake written by Kelly Terwilliger. First, students listened to the story, then, as a group, re-told the story collaboratively in their own words. Then, they re-told the story again but changed it by adding their own animal characters. This is a wonderful story because it is based on repetitive phrases which build upon each other. The format lent itself beautifully to create script which accommodated 14 first grader parts perfectly!
We invited our Fifth Grade buddies and the Fourth grade to be our first audience ( First grade have so many siblings in Fourth Grade!). After the performance, we celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat, ate Challah and drank grape juice. The kids sat together and read from our extensive library. The atmosphere in the room was magical. There is nothing better than observing our older students totally engrossed in reading to our younger students.
As the year progresses, the students will take on more complicated speaking parts and write their own scripts. The culmination of our work on Reader’s Theatre puppet shows will be based on Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina in Hebrew. It will be a collaborative production with our wonderful Art teacher, Jennifer Antes.