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Author Interview: The Sugar Spies

publication date: Jul 31, 2010
author/source: Carol Montgomery

Author Interview:  The Sugar Spies

Did you ever wonder where an author gets an idea for a story or a script?  Oftentimes it's from real life as you'll soon see.  Carol Montgomery created her free Readers Theater script "The Sugar Spies" in the fall of 2009.  Readers Theater All Year interviewed her in the spring of 2010.  Was she really a Sugar Spy?  Here's that brief interview:


RT All Year Where did you get the idea for this script?

Carol:  I was raised with a lot of sugar in my diet:  sugared cereals, store-bought desserts in my lunch, ice cream almost daily, and regular homemade cookies, cakes, brownies, pies... Are you salivating yet?  :) 

When I was a classroom teacher I got serious adult-onset acne.  Very sad.  Here  I was a college graduate and fairly ignorant of how my body functioned!  I knew little about preventive medicine--including diet.

I changed my ways and my body got healthier with less sugar and more nutritious food choices.  Also, my first year of teaching I had a wild classI was ready to quit!  I later realized that the behavior of the class was related not only to my choices of discipline in the classroom, but also to the diets of the children. 

Since I was teaching fourth grade I figured the students were old enough to learn to make wise choices concerning what went into their mouths.  So, one year I created Operation HENRY: Healthy Eating Now Rescues You! Operation HENRY had "Sugar Spies" as part of the lesson plans.

The kids LOVED being real Sugar Spies--going home, reading labels, and discovering secret sugars hidden in their cupboards and refrigerators.  A couple of weeks after I wrote "The Sugar Spies" I noticed Michelle Obama took on Childhood Obesity as a project.  Maybe when a few folks have tried the script out and I've gotten feedback I can offer it to her.  Does anyone want to test drive this script and make suggestions?  :)


RT All YearGreat idea!  What resources did you use to write the script?

Carol: I used what I had learned from the news and in books, especially Dr. Don Colbert's books on healthy living.  I also checked several credible web sources.  The script was longer than most I've done, about 12 minutes, but I didn't want it to be boring facts like you'd hear on the news.  People remember stories.


RT All YearHow long did it take you to write the script?

Carol:  I don't really know.  Is it done?  (Smile.)  I think I still have to put the curriculum links for the teachers in it.  It was so much fun to write I think I got the first draft done in two days.  Then I had to ask my family to read it.  I guess I finished it in about a week--not counting the hours ahead on curriculum link research and a bit more editing. I didn't work on it full time.


RT All Year: Why did you write the script?

Carol:  I guess I wrote it to try and make a difference in a fun way.  Kids can think.  I hope the crazy story with the Sugar Spies, Mayor Action, Mrs. Fastlane, and Uncle Lazybones will have a positive impact on kids all over.  I used to love playing spy when I was younger.

Personal Story?

RT All Year: Which story about the script or the process of writing it would you like to share?

Carol:  Ha!  I'm not crazy about rap music, but being a musician--in a household of musicians--I like rhythm.  I like the rhythm of words, too!  So, when I was going to write "The Sugar Spies" I saw a picture in my head of a bunch of students dressed in dark trenchcoats wearing hats and sunglasses kind of "rapping" or speaking rhythmically:

"We're the Sugar Spies, can't you see it in our eyes? We're the Sugar Spies this is our disguise..."

I laughed out loud and started tapping my foot in rhythm.  I don't want to spoil some of the fun for anyone that hasn't read the script yet, so I better stop before I say something about Blubber Bits.  Whoops!

Readers Theater All Year™ LLC builds leaders and creators for positive influence through an inexpensive, easy, flexible system.  Readers Theater All Year™ LLC curriculum services provides a caring community for using and creating Readers Theater scripts for families, classrooms, homeschools, camps, and drama clubs.

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...Keep doing what you are doing.  There are not enough quality scripts available for children and teens.  So many are inappropriate from a parent's perspective.  As a teacher I want to also build character and integrity while I teach a subject.  Why can't drama build up, inspire and be thought provoking?...Anyway, keep doing what you're doing...we need all the help we can get!
Jen H., Drama teacher

> ...I have been teaching for 35 years. RT has been part of my education journey for the majority of that time. Initially my experience with it was as a performance genre in the Drama Curriculum. Now I use it across the curriculum - a wonderful high motivation strategy in the language program - particularly reading - and so much more as you would know. I was drawn to your 'community' by the idea of leadership... I think what you're doing is wonderful..."
Graham B. Former primary teacher (now a Visual Art and Drama specialist)

Readers Theater All Year is the most comprehensive collection of Readers Theater scripts and resources I have found on the internet!...Thank you Carol for your leadership and vision and for making Readers Theater so accessible for teachers and parents.
Daniel Fiore, Elementary teacher/author What They Have Taught Me

I found the free readers theater online scripts, teaching tips, and curriculum teleseminars at Readers Theater All Year very inspirational to me. I used the Twelve Days of Christmas...Vacation script in my ESOL classes before Christmas break and my students all enjoyed it..
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"> ..We did Squanto's Squash for the family on Thanksgiving and [my sons] participated and loved it. I am so excited about making this a major part of homeschooling. What a great way to learn!
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> our script "The Earth Day Hen and Friends" I've used this! The kids love it. Thank you for sharing...It's just right for all levels in the class...Your free scripts are wonderful!...They learn so much from drama and reader's theatre...I see the shy ones gain confidence as they read. Fluency and prosody increases with reader's theatre...
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