the Superintendent’s Seat
Them a Chance to Shine
Dr. Carole G. Hankin with Randi T. Sachs
words that are certain to bring back memories for all of us are:
The Class Play. As superintendent, I’m not sure which is more
fun to watch. Is it the children on stage doing their best to
give a Tony-winning performance, or is it the faces of the parents
in awe of their own children, mouthing each word lest there be
a lapse in memory on the actor’s part?
As the school year progresses, I encourage classroom teachers
to consider including a play for the class to perform as part
of their students’ curriculum. In contrast to the larger, school-wide
productions put on by the drama club, the class play should give
every member of the class an opportunity to have a moment in the
spotlight. The teacher/director need not choose the most outgoing
students for the featured roles. The class play provides a perfect
opportunity to let some of the quieter children take the leads
and display heretofore hidden talents. I’ve seen some real transformations
in children who are given the chance to shine by intuitive teachers.
Playing “Zeus” gives even the smallest boy a feeling of power
as he wields a lightning rod; and being “Dorothy Gale” gives even
the shyest girl the opportunity to be charming and clever.
The class play can come from any subject area. It could be part
of music, social studies, science, math, or language–whatever
the choice, the benefits children receive from performing in a
play are unparalleled in any other classroom activity. Just consider
all the skills that are used in classroom theater, even in the
most modest production.
and language skills: The students need to learn their scripts
and understand the meaning of the words in order to give the appropriate
interpretation of the lines. It’s also important to sharpen listening
skills. If a fellow performer drops a line, or fails to give the
right cue, students have to be able to figure out what to say
to keep the performance going and the audience unaware of any
Putting on a play is the ultimate lesson in teamwork. Everyone
needs to work together, on stage, backstage, and off stage to
ensure a show’s success. Along with a lesson in teamwork, students
learn first hand the importance of following directions.
Playing a role gives children the opportunity to stretch their
imaginations and to improve their ability to express themselves.
As they perform their lines, they can be taught the impact of
the tone in which they speak and the message sent by the movements
they make. As they learn how to portray a character, they will
also learn how others interpret their own actions and words.
and math: Designing scenery and costumes are great creative
projects. Math skills are crucial when measuring sets and costumes,
The class play should not be considered an “extra” that can be
sacrificed in favor of more structured academics. Teachers who
extend the effort to put on a class play will find it well worthwhile;
they will also deserve to take a bow.
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