Take a story that the group has already read or is ready to read and write it up as a script. Some texts do this for us. Identify students to read and act each roll, including narrator who may also read stage direction portions. The teacher’s job is stage director who will not let them get away with anything but outstanding performances. Most stories will be short enough for multiple productions of the same story, sometimes in the same class period. The group can vote on who did the best production, or you can establish 3-4 judges (American’s Got Talent-style) to vote on the best performers and overall performances. The goal here is 1) to identify places that are not understood and make them understood. This becomes obvious when a performer does a flat reading. The teacher/director must stop the performance and find out what is not understood, offer a better way to read/act the line and then move on; 2) to get lost in the fun of the story. Lots of laughter ought to be an indicator of this, especially if you require the audience to be active with vocal responses to the story (ooh, aaah, boooh, euge!, eheu! papapae! etc). You can always follow a series of Readers’ Theater with a timed write.
Here are some very good set up guidelines especially if the story is not pre-written as a script:
1. Students are given an embedded reading from the curriculum. It focuses on four new words already circled repeatedly with students. Students read a paragraph silently.
2. Teacher reads the paragraph out loud, with emotion.
3. Students ask comprehension and vocabulary questions in Latin.
4. Teacher asks comprehension questions to ensure understanding
5. Repeat steps 1-4 with each paragraph of the story.
After finishing the story, three students previously asked to play certain characters come up. The class divides the rest of the parts (if any) in groups and teacher is narrator/director.
Teacher reads the story and all are responsible for responding appropriately.
Students complete a time write on the story.