Performance Day!

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Objective

SWBAT perform dramatic readings of their parodies of "The Charge of the Light Brigade."

Big Idea

Performance day provides opportunities to practice both speaking and listening.

Performances

45 minutes

Today was the big day...the culmination of the unit...the day the students performed their parodies.

When the students came into the classroom, I had a whiteboard prepared with numbers one through twelve on it.  They signed up for their "slots" and that was the order of performance.

I gave them about eight minutes to get their acts together, practice their poems, revisit who was doing what, and then the performances began.  The students went up to the front of the room, in pairs and trios, and performed.  After that, they submitted the final copies of their poems.

I made the decision to NOT have the audience grade the performances or take notes on them.  Instead, I coached them on giving the other students their "respect and attention" (a phrase I must say a thousand times a year,) and we decided on the "golf clap" form of applause, instead of snapping.

So, how did it go?  Overall, it was awesome.  The kids were respectful.  Some of the poems were great, and some were a bit lacking in inspiration or polish.  One of the things I like best about this type of activity is that the students who did not attend to their meter (which was one of the "higher" standards of the assignment) can self-evaluate, because they can "hear" the difference between an effective or ineffective use of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Out of 54 students, I only had one who flatly refused to perform.  She was very stressed and upset at the prospect of getting up in front of the class, and she had opted to work alone, so she had no safety net.  Despite my efforts, and the efforts of her counselor, she did not get up to perform.  But, other than that particular student, I think the students learn a lot from both performing and witnessing the performances of others.

I know I say this a lot, but I think these shared experiences -- the bonding, if you will -- is key to moving students forward, regardless of content or standards.