Summer I 2001
Goal: The purpose of this lesson is to foster classroom or group community and cooperation. The lesson is designed to teach students to work together and also to take individual responsibility.
Abstract: Developing a sense of community in a classroom is important for the classroom to function effectively. Trust, safety, security, open communication, mutual liking, and shared goals are all aspects of a classroom community. This cooperative lesson helps to build these characteristics in order to help establish a classroom community. This lesson can be used in one classroom, across classrooms, across age groups, or in non-classroom settings such as a before and after school program.
Age group: elementary to middle school
Materials: Costumes and props will likely be needed for this lesson, depending on the students’ skits. Students can adapt costumes from a costume box for their skit or they may use materials/clothes from home to make their own costumes. Elaborate costumes are not necessary. Students can make their own props and can recycle materials such as boxes and paper scraps to do so. If all materials for costumes and props come from the classroom or home, there should be no cost.
1. Divide students into groups. If working with a variety of age/grade levels, divide groups so that there are equal numbers of the different age/grade levels in each group. In other words do not have all fifth graders in one group and all third graders in another group. It is beneficial for varying age levels to work together, so that they can learn to get along with and work with someone older or younger than themselves.
2. Either assign students to jobs with in their group related to the production of the skit or have the students pick their own jobs. The students’ jobs should be related to their talents and/or interests. Examples of jobs and their responsibilities include:
Writer- the student who writes the story line and the acting roles for the skit
Choreographer- the student who arranges any dancing or particular movements, such as where students should stand, associated with the skit
Director- The student who is in charge of the skit practices. This student should lead the other students during practice by making sure they say the right lines, stand in the right spots, etc.
Set designer/builder- the student who is in charge of designing and building the props
Actors- the students who actually act out the skit
Explain to students the responsibilities of each role. Students can also have more than one role. For example everyone may be an actor along with having another job related to the skit, such as skit writer. Also if there are a lot of students or a lot of work to be done students can be assistants to the students who have the jobs listed above. Also, to be more cooperative students can have “co-” jobs, such as co-writer or co-director.
3. Teachers may either provide students with a story to act out or they can have the students write their own skits.
4. Decide on a day and time for the acting out of the skits. Provide a stage area for the students to perform. It is also fun for the students if the area in which the performances will occur is set up like a theater and if “tickets” are “sold” and required for entry into the play(s). Rows of chairs can be set up facing the stage area in order to simulate a theater atmosphere.
5. Finally, have the children perform their skits. The skits can be acted out just for their class or other classrooms can be invited in to watch.
It is expected that this lesson with build friendships and leadership because cooperation and organization will be needed to pull the skit together. It is useful to the groups to have leadership in order to work in an organized manner. Friendship and mutual liking are also important to working cooperatively in order to prevent conflicts and so students feel safe in presenting ideas and feel like they are part of the group.
1. Individual Accountability: This lesson develops individual accountability because students are each responsible for a specific part of the skit production. If they do not perform their individual job, then the skit will not come together as a whole.
2. Positive Interdependence: Positive interdependence is developed in this lesson because students will have to work together and relay on the other members to produce a skit. Each student may have a specific job, but the students have to communicate to each other about each other’s jobs and eventually the students will have to pull all of their parts together. Students will have to come together to read the play, practice parts, set up the props, and put on the production. Also, students have to rely on the other members for the other parts of the skit. A single student could is not responsible for the entire production.
3. Social Skills: Social skills are developed in this lesson because students are required to work together. In order to work together students will have to communicate with each other and spend time together. This will develop social skills such as taking turns and engaging in a two-way conversation.
4. Face-to-Face Interaction: Face-to-Face Interaction is involved in this lesson because students are working as a group to develop a skit. They have to talk to each other in order to develop all of the separate parts. They will also have to practice the skit, so they will be required to practice their individual parts in front of each other.
5. Heterogenous Grouping: Heterogeneous grouping is involved in this lesson because students can be divided up across grade levels or classrooms. If more than one grade is involved groups should consist of students from more than one grade level. If different classrooms of the same grade level are involved groups should consist of students from more than one classroom. If only one classroom is involved students can be divided based on their job interests in the production of the skit. For example students can have jobs such as skit writer, director, choreographer, or set designer. A group can be formed by placing asking children what job they would like do and then place one of each job together in a group.
6. Open Communication: Open communication is developed in this lesson because students will have to talk to each other and discuss their ideas for the skit, problems they may be having, and how the progress is going on each of their individual parts. Open communication in turns builds trust and security because students have to feel trusting of their group members and feel safe in order to express ideas and opinions.
7. Shared Goals: Shared goals are a part of this lesson because students are working together on one project. Although each member has his or her own part, each job is a small part of the larger project. The students all have the same end goal of putting on a skit for their class.