GLENSHIRE, Calif. — Each year Glenshire Elementary produces a fourth-grade play — musical productions about California or westward expansion.
This year’s performance, in the words of proud fourth-grade teacher Beverlee Roberts, was “amazing.”
Performances are a learning experience on many levels. According to director and retired fourth-grade teacher Lois Moore, students learn and present a character, read, organize, and follow through with a commitment.
Most rehearsals take place during student lunch periods to minimize direct impact on class time. The production itself meets social science and performing arts state content area standards. While these are not directly tested areas, having read the script and learned the songs, students have exposure to material that increases reading comprehension and understanding when it is time to read the subjects in textbooks.
The performing arts standards suggest students learn California history by performance, making the fourth-grade play an opportunity to integrate many parts of the curriculum. Teacher Sarah Avery, who is new to teaching fourth grade said, “Students enjoy the opportunity to perform in front of their peers as well as learn history.”
The plays continue to be produced with grants from Glenshire PTO and volunteer hours by staff members, including Moore, who produced and directed the play. After production, Moore produces and sells a DVD of the show to students’ families, with profits reinvested into fourth-grade programs.
In addition to meeting standards, using performance helps motivate students, including those who struggle with academics. Students develop confidence in public speaking and memorize parts that deal with factual information.
The play often fosters positive social interactions. Students develop trust in each other and learn how to work positively toward achieving a group project. This bonding was evidenced by the number of students congratulating each other on a job well done.
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