Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reader's Theater Celebration

Last year I was introduced to Kristin's Reader's Theater partner plays and I fell in LOVE!! I wanted to add a little fun into reading groups so we decided to totally 'run' with these awesome plays! 
My students had been practicing their plays on and off for about two weeks. We really worked on reading with expression, pausing at punctuation, and fluency.  Each student went through the dialogue in their play and decided on what puppets they needed to make for their show.  Adding in puppets was adorable, but they definitely needed a little more practice reading their plays and holding their puppets at the same time! 
I knew I wanted to make this show special for them after all of their hard work, so we decided that we needed to invite some people to come see their plays!  I was introduced to this awesome website called Treat greeting cards. They have cards for every occasion! The neat thing is, you can totally personalize each and every card (you can even have the card scheduled in advance and directly sent to the recipient...perfect way to make sure you don't miss any birthdays, anniversaries, etc). Anyways, I wanted my students to make their own invitations to take ownership in their show.
I sat down with some of the kids and let them look on Treat to pick out which card they wanted to use. We ended up going with this super cute World of Hellos blank card.  We took a quick picture of the 'performers' in front of the puppet show, added that to the card, and ordered them!
The kids were so excited to receive the cards in the mail! We sat down right away and wrote out our invites! 
We ended up inviting another kindergarten class, administration, and parents! Eeks...just the sound of all those people was making me a little nervous! These kids are so brave!
We put our finished cards into the envelopes and we were off to deliver them!
This little one was beyond excited to deliver his invite to our principal, Mr. Peters. He was asking me all sorts of questions on the way, 'Do I get to go in his office? What is in his office? Do you think he will say yes?' So precious!
One of the little girls delivered her card to a fellow kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ames. It was so cute to watch them deliver the invites and wait there excitedly for the persons response. Everyone loved the personalized invites and of course said 'yes' to attending. ;)
On the day of the show we pushed some tables out of the way and set up chairs for our audience members.  I had my class sit on the floor, the other kindergarten class on the chairs, then administration and my students parents stood behind them. 
Each puppet show is quick.  They only take about a minute each, but they are beyond cute!
The students read with such expression that they had the entire audience laughing and clapping. I was so proud of them!
We performed 6 different shows on this day.  Half of my class performed and the other half will perform on a later date.  The other students are so motivated to practice their plays now and are so excited for their big day!  Even the other kindergarten class that came to watch borrowed our puppet theater to practice their own plays.   
That's when I realized how important this small production was! It got students excited about reading, it made parents excited to continue practicing reading with their children, and the looks on their faces when it was finished was priceless! They were all so happy and proud of what they had done!
When the shows were over, they received a standing ovation! My students took a quick bow before they were quickly congratulated with hugs from their parents and high-fives from the principal.
It is so easy to take something as simple as Reader's Theater and turn it into a really special day for the students and parents!  We received so many compliments on our invitations from Treat and the parents were so impressed with how well the students were reading.  This is definitely something I will continue every year!