The Rope Tug: Performance Day

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SWBAT collaborate to read a play with grade level fluency; SWBAT retell the story.

Big Idea

It’s show time! Students will put all their learned performing skills into play when they perform in front of a live audience.


Common Core Connection:

Communication happens in many forms.  Whatever the form, part of effective communicating means to respond to and develop what others have said.  In order to do that students need many opportunities to participate in structured conversations. In this final lesson of the unit, students demonstrate their skills in retelling and describing characters the play using key details.  They also were required to demonstrate their skills in speaking and listening, through giving and receiving constructive feedback and putting that feedback into a performance.

Lesson Overview:

In this final lesson of The Rope Tug, my students reviewed who the characters and narrator were in a play, retold the major events, and stated the central message in this play.  After a practice rehearsal, each group performed in front of a Kindergarten, First, Second grade class, and even for the office staff!


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


10 minutes

As my students settled in their chairs I reminded them that today was the day they would perform in front of one of the Kindergarten or Second grade classes.  This brought on cheers of excitement.  Counting backward from 5 and ending with eyes on me, I calmed my students and continued by stating before performing we would review and practice.

I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select students to answer these questions:

  • Who are the characters in a play?
  • Who is the narrator in a play?
  • What does the director do?
  • What do plays do?
  • What is constructive feedback?
  • Who can show the class what ‘audience sitting’ looks like?

As each selected student answered the question, the rest of the class showed me they agreed by showing me a thumb up.

When my students finished answering these questions I again used the magic cup to select four students to retell the beginning, middle, end, and what was the message in the play The Rope Tug.  As each of these students retold a part of the play, the rest of the class showed me a thumb up, indicating the retelling was correct.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

To save some time and give each group practice time, I paired each ‘drama’ group up and sent each group pair to a different end of the room.  The directions I gave them: one ‘drama’ group would rehearse, and the other group would watch; then they will switch places so both groups had practice time.  I also gave my students a moment to remember what their peers had said or suggested about their performance from the day before, and to use those suggestions to help them make their performance even better.  Finally I reminded my students to show good audience sitting while they watched the practice performance.

As my students began practicing, I visited each group pair to monitor their participation, engagement, and performance.

When all the pair groups were finished practicing, I told them it was time to perform!

Show Time

15 minutes

I had already made arrangements for my students to perform in the other classes, one thing I have learned over the years, also make arrangements for the other teachers to keep the performing group for a few minutes.  The reason for this, usually during this time I am with one group, if another group comes back earlier than me; they are unsupervised for a short time.  Never leave students unsupervised for even a short time!

With their colorful mask that were Inspired From the Illustrations in the play they read, my students were Ready to PerformBringing the Characters to Life.

At that point I sent two groups to the two Kindergarten classes, two groups to the two Second grade classes, one group to another First grade class, and I walked the last group to the office for their performance.

When we re-grouped in our classroom, my students were pretty excited.  As they sat in a circle on the rug I called on each student to share with the class how he/she felt performing in front of another group.  Nearly all of them shared they felt scared or nervous or excited.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

When my students finished sharing I had them stand up and walk to their desks.  Once settled I instructed them that in their journal they would write about which class they performed in and how they felt.

The prompt I put on the Promethean board: Today my Drama Group ___.

 I read each journal during their leveled reading group time with me.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker, each drama group told me how well they did performing in the other classrooms.