Tuesday, March 31, 2015


by Sharron Burch

Two weeks ago our students performed Freddie the Frog and the Mighty Metergnome.  This musical by Sharron Burch was well written, with lines, catchy songs,cute characters and lots of music vocabulary!  I have always used the Freddie the Frog Series to teach musical concepts with second grade so I decided to use the musical as well.  I was concerned about second graders learning lines but they did quite well.   
Here are a few guidelines I find helpful:
     - Listen through:  To introduce the musical, we discuss what a musical performance is and what   
       their responsibilities will be.  We then listen to the recording of the entire show with lines and 
       songs while students have a paper and pencil in front of them..  The students are to draw or write 
       ideas for the performance based on what they hear including costume ideas, dance moves, 
       scenery and more.  Some of the ideas were awesome!!
     - Height order:  I have the students line up in height order.  (We make it a game.  Can you line up 
       from tallest to shortest without any sound?)  When they have lined up I do switcharoo to move 
       kids to the correct place.  From there I put them into 4 rows (shortest in front).  By doing this I do 
       not have complaints from families that they cannot see their students when they are on the risers.
     - Speaking Parts:  I tell students from the beginning that I am looking for helpers who behave 
       well, work hard and present themselves well.  Once I have narrowed down a list of students who 
       I think will practice and learn their parts and attend the performance I speak with classroom 
       teachers to see if they feel the same about my list.  Then I send home a commitment letter.  Once 
       the students have returned their note, I give them their script with their part highlighted.
     - Script:  I always retype the script so the students names are in it, not just the character names.  
       This ensures people learn the correct lines.
     - Program:  Don't forget to include:
                             All students names (not just those with speaking parts)
                             Thank you's (even your family who spent Sunday building the Metronome)
                             Advocacy (why is music important)
                             Upcoming events
     -Display:  I put the programs and the video order forms on a table as parents enter the gym.  I 
      usually include a donation jar.  This time I also displayed all of the Freddie the Frog Books.
    - Backstage help:  I ask 5th grade students who have siblings in performance to practice a few 
      days with us and be the backstage crew for the show.
    - Photo Op: After the show I ask parents to put their chairs away and allow the parents to take 
      pictures with the props and scenery.

The performance was wonderful and later this week they will evaluate how they did!!

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