Yay! Blake Education’s new ‘Australian Readers’ Theatre’ series has arrived from the printers! It’s been great fun working as series consultant with editor Vanessa Barker and publisher Lynn Dickinson and to have six plays included alongside those of the talented Sandie Eldridge, Catherine Bauer and Elizabeth Klein. It’s a great series (all photo-copiable) with lots of Australian humour and drama. No primary school should be without a copy!
From the Blake website:
“A Reader’s Theatre performance is a dramatic reading without the need for stage actions, or elaborate sets and costumes. It provides teachers with an opportunity to stage a play without the challenges that come with designing and building sets and creating costumes.
Each book in this series contains 10 photocopiable Reader’s Theatre plays written by Australian authors covering a wide variety of genres. Each play has ACARA curriculum links and Teacher’s Notes with information about:
the script’s plot, characters and setting
introducing the play – main topic, characters, ideas
vocabulary discussion and list of tricky words
interpreting the story
rehearsal and stage movement
performance and staging ideas
Photocopiable assessment checklists for pre-performance, peer evaluation and oral performance assessments are included, as well as two worksheets for each play.”
Book Cover – Australian Readers Theatre Lower Primary
I developed this drama unit for Year 5 & 6 around that theme with a focus on improvised dialogue, characterisation and structure.
The lesson sequence is based on the 5Es teaching model, familiar to many teachers from working with the Primary Connections science modules. I find the structure admirably suited to drama units with its Engage / Explore / Explain / Elaborate / Evaluate cycle.
The full unit plan with Australian Curriculum outcomes and a pdf of Emeregency Scenario cards can be downloaded below.
Develops shared norms
Determines readiness for learning
Establishes learning goals
Emergency radio samples: Hindenberg, Nepal, aircraft landing.
Emergency / disaster photos. Improvise a radio broadcast as the different scenes appear.
Mime using different radios – hand-held, walkie talkies etc.
Maintains session momentum
Emergency situation cards: short scenarios of amusing emergencies.
In groups, leader improvises the scene as the rest of group mimes the action.
Swap: group mimes as a ‘reporter’ improvises the narration of the action.
Presents new content
Develops language and literacy
World Radio Day: discuss the themes.
Share the World Radio Day UN video.
In groups, respond to the themes – create a short scene demonstrating each. Emphasis on serious responses.
Hot-seating: journalist, refugee, radio broadcaster.
Elaborate Facilitates substantive conversation
Cultivates higher order thinking
Groups select a scenario for broadcast eg. Nepal earthquake, bushfire, refugee, bomb threat, flooding.
Students develop a script. Characters include broadcaster (DJ), reporter, ‘involved civilian’.
Recording of script, editing with sound effects, music, voiceovers.
The ‘Ghost of Tom’ (or ‘Ghost of John’) is a perennial Halloween favourite and no wonder. It’s (a little bit) spooky, has a ghost, a ghost lyric (oo-oo-oo), is a round and can be accompanied by just two notes.
This version is in Am, making it easy to perform on tuned percussion instruments (no sharps or flats).
The range for vocalists is a bit of a stretch, you might have to lower some parts down an octave.
Below are the resources I’m using with my music students.
A simple grid notation accompaniment with just three patterns: A-G-A, C-B-C and E-D-E. JP children will quickly learn these and older students with limited music experience will also cope. Ghost Of Tom Simple Percussion Chart
An audio accompaniment with vocals. It’s just 90bpm, so a good speed to play along with. It has a two bar intro and then the song is sung once. The song begins again but this time as a round. Part two begins at bar 11, part 3 at bar 13 and part 4 at bar 17. Each entry is marked with a cymbal. It finishes with a two bar ending.
It’s the summer term here in Australia, which means students have to wear hats during playtime at school.
The SunSmart site came up while researching ideas for ‘No Hat/ No Play’ signs for our schoolyard.
After a quick registration, I completed the online teacher training. It’s pretty basic – quizzes, animations, text to read – but provides a good reminder of why we need policies in schools around shade, UV exposure, sunscreen and skin cancer.
You receive a nice certificate at the end and your choice of resources, including picture books, lesson plans and posters.
Highly recommended for all educators (and students and parents!)
“Music Mind Games” (Michiko Yurko, Warner Bros Publications) is an outstanding resource for any music educator, especially so if you’re planning on teaching any aspect of music theory.
With its emphasis on cooperative learning, hands-on games and ‘joyful learning’ the simple, focused and fun games can be used to teach everything from the basic music alphabet through to advanced triad building and interval recognition.
A simple resource mentioned is the alphabet note pack. These are typically small square cards printed with the letters A-G and available in a variety of colours. Michiko utilises them for a variety of games, including ‘Snake’ where students simply place them in order from A to G to learn the musical alphabet. I’m using them for recorder lessons, sight-reading and composition activities.
The attached resource is a printable pdf of cards. Each A4 sheet has six note squares. The 100mm cards are big enough for small hands to manipulate and make efficient use of space on the page when printing. Note that the seven letter alphabets “wrap around” to the following sheet. Printing off the seven pages will give you six complete musical alphabets.
Select your country, state / region and city. As a proud South Australian I was limited to four somewhat peculiar choices: Adelaide, Leigh Creek, Peterborough and Woomera. Hopefully your country’s selections aren’t quite so geographically puzzling!
The next screen offers Email or SMS but the SMS services are restricted – I think – to the USA.
Finally review your information, agree to two conditions and you’re almost done.
NASA will send a confirmation email your way. Click the confirmation link, enter the info and you’ll now recieve a notification when the ISS is observable from your location.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff story lends itself marvelously for drama explorations. With only two characters ‘on-stage’ at any one time it’s also ideal for small-group puppetry. This download is a set of character silhouettes that are ideal for use as shadow puppets. Just cut the shapes out, glue on sticks and away you go. Students could also make additional scenery (eg. the entire valley) to expand the basic lesson setup.