Is this the year that you got the chatty class? No matter what you try, they talk ALL-OF-THE-TIME! When you go home, do you want complete silence? No, t.v., no music, no noise of any type because your ears are worn out. When you are teaching a lesson, each student feels like you are speaking directly to him or her, so each student has a comment to add to your lesson. While you don’t want to temper their enthusiasm, your students do need to learn how to work and function within a group (class).
By this time of the year, you have probably used several different methods to solve this problem such as role playing and rewarding positive behaviors. Are you ready to try something that is a little less traditional and lets you integrate behavior management with your language arts lessons? I have written before about integrating behavior management with your academic lesson. Click HERE to read it. If you follow my blog, you know I am a big believer in integrating lessons. It not only saves times when you have a hectic schedule, it also helps your students make connections.
A reader’s theater lesson is a good strategy to use when you have a class full of Chatty Cathy’s. Do you remember that doll?
A play script shows very clearly in black and white whose turn it is to speak. A play is practiced over and over which is the type of practice that these talkative students need. Not only are your students’ fluency improving, they are practicing taking turns and only speaking when it is their turn to speak. They are learning self control. You will see some of this self-control begin to transfer over to your other lessons with some of your students. For other students, you may need to begin your lessons with a quick reminder about “just like when we are performing plays, we take turns when we speak during lessons. When I am teaching, it is my turn to talk and your turn to be audience and listen.”
Other times, you have a group of students that follow the rules except during certain times of the year, like the week of Halloween. With all of the excitement of the holiday, students are chatty and off-task. This is the perfect time to plan a Reader’s Theater lesson for reading.
This past week, I added two lessons that would be perfect for this time of the year.
- Magic School Bus: Going Batty: This is not Halloween themed which is great when your school does not allow Halloween lessons. Or it can be used with your mammal unit or any time of the year.
- There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat: This script is based on this book. I added to the story to give the characters dialogue for the script. Have your students compare the book to the script to see if they can find all of the differences.
These plays can be performed live or as a puppet show. In the picture above, I attached the stage prop that comes with this packet to a file folder and then made a slit in it so the stick puppets could fit in slit. You can set this up as a center, too.
There are a variety of props that come with this packet.
There are name necklaces that students can wear for live performances. There are frames that students can draw their character for puppet performance. Colorful stick puppets are included for the Old Lady script (see picture above).
There are extension activities included for each script. In the picture above is the one for the Magic School Bus: Going Batty play. Students will make a beginning, middle, end mini book.
There are two printables for interactive journals that are extensions for the Old Lady play. One is about characters and the other is a vocabulary – dictionary skills lesson.
For the Old Lady play there are 7 parts plus a narrator or chorus.
There are 13 parts for the Magic School Bus play. If you have a class with 26 students or more, you could divide your class in half and have both perform this play. One group could perform this live and other perform it as a puppet show.
Reader’s theater is also a good way to help your students grow as writers. Put yours class in small groups or with a partner and let them write a script about a favorite book.
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