BV ages 6-9 develop musicals, then perform them at art night
Parents and others attending Buena Vista Elementary's “Night of the Arts” April 27 got to see three essentially original musicals.
Drawing on historic folk tales and songs from foreign lands and tying them together with help from their Montessori teachers, students in the three Lower Elementary classes (ages 6-9) organized each of their shows, according to BV music instructor LaShele Warren.
The three musicals were by:
Carole Brasher's class, 29 students (“Yuuki and the Tsunami” - Japanese folktale).
Garianne Mester's class, 29 students (“Gurukmun the Frog” - Australian dream story).
Clarice Hastings' class, 31 students (“Good Helpmates” - Italian folktale).
Warren said she feels a lot of the already-written musicals for that age “are kind of fluffy.” So, for a post-spring break project to put on such a show, the students were given a chance to come up with something of their own. In the ensuing process, students in each of the Lower El classes chose a continent, a country in that continent and a folktale from that country. Then the kids “split into interest groups” - actors, instrumentalists and stage crew (working on sets and lighting) - and brainstomed how their stories could be performed and choreographed.
“They gave me all their infomation, and I typed it up into a script,” Warren said. Further student research turned up songs from the chosen countries. Several were listened to, with a few chosen and places found in the script to use them. For example, in the tsunami story, a song that might imply crashing waves was chosen. The songs were embellished in the shows by the students playing some instruments and singing.
Overall, in the Montessori spirit, the teaching strategy with each of the musicals was “to follow the interests of the children; then they own it more,” Warren said.
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