The Rope Tug: Rehearsal and Evaluation

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SWBAT work collaboratively in a group to practice reading their play parts with grade level fluency; SWBAT explain and evaluate how well they worked together.

Big Idea

Not only will your students be reading they will be practicing the skill of working as a team to finish the task, giving them more experience to range of texts and tasks.


Common Core Connection:

As students continue their education it is important to ensure that students gain adequate exposure to a range of texts and tasks.  In this lesson, not only are students exposed to a new genre (plays), but they also get the opportunity to engage in a range of tasks - from working collaboratively, to exploring character details, to reading with fluency.

Lesson Overview:

Today’s lesson mirrored yesterday’s lesson in that my students continued to practice in their groups.  Today had another layer added on, in that students were also expected to evaluate how they worked together as a group.


  • Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 2: Let’s Look Around, The Rope Tug, by Veronica Freeman Ellis


5 minutes

I started the lesson by reminding my students that plays are another way to tell stories or send messages.  I then asked them what message this play had, without waiting all my students called out that even though the rat was little he was smart and strong.  That’s right I said.  I then reminded them that on Friday they were going to perform their play in the class and for one of the Kindergarten and Second grade classes.  I further told them today they will practice reading with their ‘drama’ groups and that actors and actresses need to pay attention to all the characters so they know when their turn is.

Collaborative Activity

20 minutes

I then had my students get into their performance drama groups to practice reading their parts.  As they practiced I monitored their participation and engagement by meeting with each group and listened to their reading.

At the end of the 15 minutes I called my students to the rug and complimented them on their good job of staying on task and working together. 

I then gave them a moment to think about why I gave them that compliment.   After a moment to think about this question, I had them talk with their drama group mates about how they worked with each other during their practice play reading.  To help them get started, I modeled: In my opinion I think we worked ___ because we all ___.    Once they finished their discussion, I instructed each group to choose one person from their group to share with the class how they all worked in their groups.

While each student shared the rest of the class showed their group worked together in a similar fashion by showing me a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).  Nearly all of my students reported they worked well because they  knew who was reading which part (Knowing Who was Reading Which Part), they were listening for their part, and they helped each other (Helping Each Other).  I agreed, stating I observed the same things.

At this point I had my students re-group in their leveled reading groups in preparation for our independent practice block.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

During this time my students are in their leveled reading groups and rotate every 15 to 20 minutes through different ELA activities.  One activity that I always include is journal writing, where I usually put a prompt on the Promethean board.  The prompt for this lesson: Describe why it is important to listen to your group while reading a play.

As my students rotated to my differentiated reading group I checked their journals for finished work, complete sentences, and correct grade appropriate spelling.

When my group time was finished, each leveled group rotated to an art area where they finished their costume masks.  The featured masks The RatThe ElephantThe Hippo, and The Narrator demonstrate my how my students described the different play characters using illustrations and details.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker my students told me how they read and worked with their ‘drama’ group.