Having fourth grade students bring books to life writing and performing a play has allowed them to bring their favorite characters to life.
Tri-Central Elementary students in Kokomo have read a series of books about Mr. Terupt, a fictional teacher. “We connected with the characters,” said Ethan Burns, a student in Kourtney Cox’s class. “We were bummed it was over.”
The stories are about real life situations. One boy is bullied, and a girl becomes more of a bully. One character’s mother develops breast cancer. As the characters came to life, the students didn’t want it to end. They decided to write a play to bring the characters to life.
Cox was hesitant at first because creating a play involves script writing, set building and lots of practice. But she was no match for her eager students.
Students drew scene backdrops on large sheets of paper, making the sets of a hospital room or a living room. There are three books in the Mr. Terupt series, written by Rob Buyea. They span the time from his first day as a teacher, his coma from being hit in the head with a snowball, his recovery, and his marriage to another teacher.
Buryea said that he was inspired by the students’ efforts. “It was totally a Mr. Terupt type project,” he said. “It was an incredible, student-driven work.”