Friday, June 8, 2007

Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

In case you were wondering, there is a reason I haven't posted anything in a while, which I will get to, probably next time.

But right now I've got to share last night's experience attending a play at an elementary school. Under the guidance of two amazing teachers, a fifth grade class put on a play titled Sammy Keyes and the Marathon Mystery. The characters in this cast of 34 fifth graders included Sammy Keyes, Shredderman, "Gwendolyn Van Drama", Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and a "KSPY" newscaster named Wendy Freeze. The plot involved someone stealing the pledge forms (and money!) from a school that was participating in the Exercise the Right to Read campaign. The play was funny and smart, the kids remembered all their lines and were great physical actors, and the whole project was their way of sharing with their community the merits of participating in the Exercise the Right to Read campaign.

It's flattering enough to have your characters and fundraising concept be at the heart of a school play, but what just boggles my mind is that these teachers wrote this play over Memorial weekend! Their kids learned their lines and parts and put together backdrops and costumes and programs in, like, ten days!

Last night as I was reflecting on what I'd witnessed, I thought about all the work involved in being a teacher. With all the changes in education, most teachers don't have the energy or feel they have the time to pull together anything extra-curricular. And yet, when these kids look back on their 5th grade experience, it's not the facts and figures or their test scores that they'll remember.

What they'll remember is the extra-curricular -- things like being in the play.

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