Common Core Lesson Plan for Second Grade – Stone Soup Readers’ Theater
Readers’ theater is a great way to touch on a variety of Common Core Standards in one activity. It also allows students to be creative and use their imagination. This activity is geared toward and correlated with Second Grade Language Arts Common Core Standards, but can be adapted/tied to other grade levels.
Common Core Standards Addressed:
2.RL.1, 2.RL.2, 2.RL.3, 2.RL.6, 2.RL.7
Getting to Know the Script
Students spend a few days working with the script, allowing them to gain confidence in reading their parts.
1. Give students the title of the script and say something about the story or content. This will help your students understand the relationship of the characters and the themes of the script.
2. Pass out the books and direct the students to the script. As your students follow along silently, read the script for the students, modeling creative use of vocal expression.
3. Ask the students how they liked the story. Discuss the script and its themes, and go over any challenging vocabulary.
Days 2 and 3
1. Review any challenging vocabulary words.
2. Divide students into pairs and have them practice the script, taking turns reading every other part.
3. Walk around, listen to the students’ readings, offer suggestions, and model lines as needed. Help the readers work on pace, expression, and intonation for the different parts as they rehearse the Readers’ Theater. Show how the parts are enhanced when read with the appropriate emphasis and voice techniques. Discuss emotions the reader might need to convey, such as excitement or disappointment. Include some physical theater as well. Encourage hand gestures, facial expression, and acting out movements for animal characters. Also show how vocal speed and volume can affect the presentation. Make sure they notice and correctly follow punctuation.
4. Make sure both students in each pair have practiced all the parts in the script more than once.
Days 4 and 5
1. Once students are familiar with the script,assign script parts to the students in your reading group. Another option, if you are working with a large group or whole class, is to split them into smaller groups and assign script parts, clearly telling each student or pair his or her color (see Assigning Parts).
2. Read the script aloud. If you plan to have the group perform for an audience, such as classmates or another class, plan this in advance. Repeated readings will only further their enjoyment and give them more opportunity for reading success.
3. Have students work together to create scenery and costumes using the clues in the story to get a picture of the setting.
Practice and Performance Reminders
1. Practice repeatedly. Whether you have the whole group casually perform Readers’ Theater scripts or have small groups perform them for the class, the students should practice the scripts repeatedly. They will have fun as they gain confidence working over a few days.
2. Discuss performance elements. Use practice time as an opportunity to review vocal expression and body language. Point out if students are talking too softly, too quickly, too loudly, or not at all! If a group is performing a single part, they should be unified. If necessary, model saying lines expressively.
3. Command respect. Discuss the standard of behavior that you expect during practice and performances. Explain how a student or pair should handle an unexpected event during a performance such as a mistake, an interruption, or a noisy audience member.
4. Discuss script positions. The audience wants to see the performer—not the script! It is also helpful if they make eye contact with their audience at times. Come up with a plan for how you would like the students to stand or sit. Discuss page turning as well as the best way to introduce and conclude the performance.
5. Modify as necessary. Keep in mind that some students are shy, others are very expressive, and the variations go on. Though you plan in advance who will be assigned each part, remind the students that you may find it necessary to switch parts once you begin rehearsing. You’ll find that some students are too nervous to perform a voice part alone, and you’ll decide to pair them with at least one other student.
Readers’ Theater Journal
Have students keep a journal of their experiences performing in Readers’ Theater. They can write what they like or dislike about the performances, keep notes on what they discover in rehearsal, and so on. You can also challenge students to write plays inspired by Readers’ Theater. Set aside time for students who want to share—or perform with a group—the scripts they’ve written.
*This lesson was modified from the ideas featured in the Stone Soup Really Good Activity Guide.