I begin by asking the class what they know about going to see a play or theater performance. We briefly discuss what they know about a live performance, like actors and props. The class is now ready to read, and have a basic premise for what it will be about. I hand out their iPads and have a student pass out two sticky notes to everyone.
I then put up the QR Code that will take them to the article they will be reading today on Greek Theater. Students will use the QR Reader App that is loaded on their iPads to scan the code. They will read the article and use the sticky notes to keep track of details and to make notes.
When they have completed the reading, I want to show them some examples of what a theater would look like. To help them understand I ask them to open Safari and search for a picture of ancient greek theater. Students can then see how amphitheaters were built.
The class is ready to discuss what they read. Instead of doing this as a whole class, I have them first talk it over with their elbow partner. I walk around and monitor the conversations. I then bring them back together to discuss what they read. I try to call on the students that do not normally share, to check their understanding. They should be more confident to share since they have talked with a partner.
I then ask them to get out their white boards. You can also use a white board app on the iPad. They need to create a T-Chart and label one side Comedy and the other Tragedy. In this section I am going to give a lecture on the two types, and the class will try to create notes on their T-Chart about what they learn. I explain to the class that in middle and high school they might have a teacher that lectures and they have to write their own notes from what they hear. They will practice this type of note taking and then we will go over it as a whole class. Here is a website that can help you when presenting the difference between the two.
Our fourth grade was fortunate to get to go to the local high school's performance of Peter Pan. We have now read about the history of greek theater and now they will practice theater manners and watch a live performance to compare to. I explain how we act at a play before we leave and remind them to pay close attention to the actors, props, theater design, and also how it compares to the greek theater.
When we return from the play, students will complete a critique about the performance. Students will write a brief paragraph giving me their personal opinion of the play. They will also include how it compared to what we have learned.
Many students did not want to write about the play we saw, but wanted to discuss it and compare it instead. We did this as a whole class. I still wanted them to write a response, so instead, I offered them a choice. They could write a critique of the play or tell me which they would have chosen to see, tragedy or comedy. If they chose to tell me the type of Greek theater they would have anted to see, I asked them to include a good reason to why and to relate it back to what we had learned.