When a middle school drama class brings stories written by children to life by partnering with their class, second graders cannot wait to get started writing their ideas.
Henley Middle School eighth graders in Leslie Tanner’s drama class formed a collaboration with Brownsville Elementary second graders. The young children drafted the stories about Minecraft, fairies, and other subjects, then trekked across the parking lot to the middle school, where they watched their stories come to life on the stage as performed by the enthusiastic drama class actors.
Tanner first got the idea of a “storytime theater” while she attended a theater teacher workshop in New York City over the summer. There was a group called Story Pirates,” Tanner said. “They’re professional actors who go into schools and do something similar, although they do more of an improv. That’s where I first got the idea.”
Second grade teacher Christa Livermon was very interested in Tanner’s idea of a partnership between the schools. “The drama students came over one morning to pitch the idea. They had simple costumes and acted out little skits. Then they told the kids to ‘get writing!’ Our kids wrote and revised for a few weeks, and then we sent the stories over.” The Henley drama students read the stories—over 100 of them in total—and wrote helpful notes and comments on sticky notes for each story. “The kids were thrilled to read their notes!” Livermon said.