May Shortcuts: 5 May Readers Theater Ideas for Enjoying Readers Theater All Year
I love the month of May. Besides being Mother's Day, my husband's birthday, my birthday, and Memorial Day, May means we can finally plant a spring garden here in Maryland. And, May means birds, flowers, insects, and outdoor fun.
May is a perfect time for teachers to enjoy a full platter of delicious Readers Theater since most of the standardized testing is done. Readers Theater ignites fresh motivation in students. So, here are five May Readers Theater ideas to help you:
1. Insects– When I taught fourth grade we studied insects every year. That included having a pet cricket in the classroom. The students LOVED to see the male cricket sing in the fishbowl on my desk. He would rub his wings together vigorously. I enjoyed it, too. Did you ever watch a cricket eat? It's fascinating.
Anyway, combine your science and nature study with Readers Theater for cross curricular fun and learning. If you're a primary teacher we have several fun insect-related scripts in the Script Buffet (under Science>Nature/Environmental). But, you may be able to have student groups write their own non-fiction Readers Theater–each on a different insect.
If you collect a variety of insect poems, have students share them in a Readers Theater performance. The students may read and write their own scripts or they may assign Readers Theater parts to published poems. One first grade teacher in our community had her students dividing the lines into reading parts for Readers Theater. Try this page of Insect Poetry to get you and your students started. (Older students may perform Readers Theater for younger classes.)
2. Mammals and Birds– Spring means animal babies and for primary teachers who are members of our Script Buffet Club, "Animal Riddles Collection: Who Am I (#1-33)". (Members must log in to see the page, but non-members may purchase the 33 "Animal Riddles Collection" with Flexi-Curric™ in our website's Store.) This non-fiction set of 33 "Animal Riddles Collection: Who Am I?"works well for 2-part partner plays or Choral Readers Theater. Enjoy the one-page scripts for teaching facts and building life-long skills. You'll love the extensive annotated curriculum links on each animal. And, if the students can keep their riddles a secret, you'll have a full-class activity or filler (e.g., Riddle Partners of the Day). Our Flexi-Curric™ version in our website store is 60% off for paying Script Buffet Club members.
If you're NOT a Script Buffet Club member yet, you may still use the topic of animals for having students write their own Readers Theater Riddles. Think of it like the verbal game "20 Questions". One person asks a question and the other person answers, but adds CLUES to make the guessing easier.
Or, let students write their own 1-2 minute Radio Readers Theater scripts sharing important and interesting information on an animal. If they do an illustration or make a puppet to go with the script it can be uploaded on a video showing the illustration or puppet while students read the script off-camera.
3. Entrepreneurship– Get ready for summer fun by encouraging your students to be summer entrepreneurs. I remember having a summer carnival in a neighbor's yard when I was in fifth grade. We had games, booths, and entertainment. We sold tickets, of course. I think each ticket cost a nickel. :) We made a whole dollar!
Also, I remember having a weekly neighborhood newspaper with paying clients one summer. (My mother mimeographed the copies at work for my girlfriend and I.) We called it the "Sunset Telegram" with "every other day news." We had about six or eight subscribers. :)
What could your students do? The annotated curriculum links on entrepreneurship in our Script Buffet script "Turkey Dreams" should help. (Members will have to log in to download the PDF.) And, there are many library books for children and teens on starting their own businesses.
Older students could take a true story of entrepreneurship and write it in a Readers Theater script form using a narrator or two with a few characters.
If you're serious about studying entrepreneurship, you may want to purchase "Turkey Dreams" with Flexi-Curric™ in our website's Store. (It's in our Readers Theater All Year store at 60% discount for members of our Script Buffet Club.) "Turkey Dreams with Flexi-Curric™" includes the full script, annotated curriculum links, thinking questions, worksheets, and extension activities so you have a flexible curriculum for the study of entrepreneurship. Who knows? You may have a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey in your class. :)
4. Memorial Day/Patriotic– For our U.S. teachers Memorial Day is a patriotic holiday close to the end of the month. If you're in Australia or elsewhere you may still be able to use our free patriotic script "Sack Lunch Flying" with the annotated curriculum links for easy lesson plans. That script honors the military who serve their country unselfishly.
5. Mother's Day– Hooray for Mothers! Our free Readers Theater script for Mother's Day has a history. "Mom: Every Day Is Mother's Day (Choral Readers Theater)" is an adaptation from the song lyrics, "Mame." When I was in high school I changed the lyrics to honor my mom and sang it for her. Some of those lyrics remain in this script. Now I'm a mom, too, so I know first-hand how hard mothers work. And, any mothers who are also teachers deserve a trophy!
May provides plenty of opportunities to build leaders and creators with Readers Theater every week. Weekly Readers Theater? Why not? You'll integrate reading, writing, listening, thinking, speaking, literature, science, and character-building in one delightful activity. Let's help your students blossom and bloom!