The Rope Tug: Dress Rehearsal

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SWBAT work in their groups to practice their play parts in front of an audience in order to give and receive constructive feedback.

Big Idea

In this lesson your students will gain experience giving and taking constructive feedback.


Common Core Connection:

It is in the world of First Grade that students are introduced to speaking and listening by learning to participate in collaborative conversations.  This is the focus of today's lesson, along with developing fluency and understanding character key details. To help my students learn how to give and take constructive feedback, I focused on CCRA.SL.1: prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Lesson Overview:

In today’s lesson my students practiced their play parts in front of a live audience wearing their mask costumes.  They also practice giving and receiving constructive feedback.


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


5 minutes

I started the lesson by having my students think about how they worked with their groups yesterday.  I then had them share with their table partner two or three ways their group worked during the previous lesson.  When all partner pairs were finished sharing I used the magic cup to select three partner pairs to tell the class what they shared with each other.  These students responses included: they listened to each other, they all followed along in the reading and knew when to read, and they helped each other.  The rest of the class showed me they agreed by showing a thumb up.  I confirmed that I saw them all doing that, adding they all read clearly so that they all could be heard and understood.

From there I told them in today’s practice they would wear their costume masks in a dress rehearsal in preparation to performing their play for one of the Kindergarten, other First, Second grade classes, or even for the office staff.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Before passing out their masks I instructed them to get in their ‘drama’ groups and practice reading their lines without their masks. By now each group had an ‘unofficial’ designated space in the class to practice in where they all assembled and began practicing their parts.

At this point, students have practiced reading their parts multiple times, and, each time, their fluency improves greatly, which is one of the many benefits of this lesson series.

Once my students were finished practicing, I called them back to their desks and gave them the directions to the next part.

Collaborative Activity

25 minutes

During this time I instructed my students that each group would have the opportunity to practice the play in front of the class wearing their masks.  As the groups were performing the remaining students were to practice their audience sitting, which consist of sitting quietly and listening, as well as and quietly applauding after the group finished. This picture entitled Dress Rehearsal shows students practice good audience sitting.  I also told them they had a very important job, which was to tell each group what they did really well, and explain- nicely- what they needed to do to improve on any areas.  As a second thought I also told my students if they were told they needed to improve on an area, the class was not being mean, but helping them make the play better.

I then called each group up and passed out their masks.  After each group read their play, I gave the seated students a moment to think about what the performing students did well, and any area they needed to improve on.  After this brief moment I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select two students to tell the group what they observed and what was good or needed to be improved upon.  Some of the comments students made to their classmates included: Read LouderKeep Masks On, and Good Helping.  After the selected students finished sharing I gave the class a moment to stand and take a stretch as the next performing group came to the front of the class.  We continued this way until all groups had an opportunity to practice in front of the class.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

When all groups had finished their practiced dress rehearsal, we transitioned into our leveled reading groups.  During this time each reading group rotates every 15 to 20 minutes to an ELA work area.  One independent area I include during this rotation is journal writing, where my students have the opportunity to remember and reflect about what they learned and practiced during the guided and collaborative parts of the lesson.  The prompt I put on the Promethean board for today’s journal:  During practice my group ___ because ___.  To do better ___.

I check each journal when my students rotate to my differentiated reading group.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker my students formed pairs to tell me why it was ok to tell a group areas they needed to improve on the play.