Earth Day is probably one of the social studies/science lessons we sometimes choose to skip; what with all the other things we need to teach and all the standards we need to cover. I created this Earth Day Reader’s Theater that is perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade because it is becoming more and more evident that we have to be intentional about integrating social studies and science into our curriculum.
Why Reader’s Theater?
In the primary grades we focus a lot on getting kids to read fluently. Many times our students confuse fluency with speed. That message is sometimes inadvertently given when our focus on timed tests is great. Students start believing that the amount of words they can read in one minute becomes the primary goal of reading. Reading is supposed to be fun and also informational. Our students can gain so much from reading, but if they’re solely focused on speed, they may miss the message from the text. Reader’s theater gets students to stop and not only focus on their speed, but to also focus on their prosody. They must be vigilant of their tone and of the message the character they are portraying is trying to communicate. Reader’s theaters lends itself to tone and message because students are essentially engaged in conversation with one another.
This play is a fictional play that is based on factual information. It is intended to get students engaged and excited about the content while also learning about their world. The play is written for four characters and headbands are included for each. Within the play, many of the words are highlighted to support the vocabulary activity that is included.
Vocabulary acquisition and development is extremely important. Students are able to see the words in context within the play and then have the opportunity to dig deeper. Vocabulary cards and graphic organizers to use with the vocabulary cards help to expand on word knowledge. When students read the words in context and then apply it, they are better able to understand them and use them in conversation; in this way the words become part of their permanent vocabulary.
Comprehension follow up questions ensure that students not only improve on their reading skills, but that they are also understanding what they read and thinking deeply about it. I created two versions of the comprehension follow ups. One is mostly focused on recall and students can look back in the text in order to find the information. The other version requires students to do more higher order thinking and apply their learning.
Below is the break down of all the materials included in this pack. This pack is not intended for first grade, but I did use it with some of my first graders last year whose reading was on 2nd or 3rd grade level. They were engaged and truly enjoyed being able to think deeply about things happening in our world.
Happy Earth Day!