Rose and Amber Room Third Years Try on "Martin's BIG Words!"

January 13, 2015

In preparation for Monday's holiday, the Rose and Amber Room third years focused on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for their annual Reader’s Theater project at Community Meeting yesterday. Based on the book by Doreen Rappaport and A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler, the students spoke about his childhood at home with his brother and sister, his experiences in growing up in Atlanta, and the historic leaders that influenced his thinking. Both the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize and the 30th year his birthday will be celebrated as a national holiday were also touched upon.

Reader’s Theater work gives the students practice with the interpretive reading of text in script format. As they rehearse each week, we talk about how to say the words in character and speak the lines with feeling. We also discuss how the words selected for the script help paint a picture for the listeners and guide them to understand the unspoken context of the story. The third years also learn about how to stage their reading for presentation in front of an audience. Although this performance does not involve acting out the scene with costumes, scenery and live action movements; elements like where they sit, when they stand, a few token props and music transitions are used to organize the group and set a tone for their delivery.  

The Turquoise Room third years are now getting ready to present their project on January 26th. Their story is based on the peaceful teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh who was nominated by MLK for the Nobel Prize in 1967.I so appreciate the classroom teachers’ commitment to including Reader’s Theater in the schedule.

These days, Martin’s Big Words are more important than ever. I was struck by the reverence the students had for saying his words aloud. They were so invested in telling this story and passing on his message of peace. They understand it took courage for Dr. King to share his voice and keep the focus of his efforts on making a positive change in the world. They discovered that his passion to help others began when he was their age.  I have a dream that our children are the hope for our future. Who knows what these lessons might inspire for our third years … the possibilities are limitless!  

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