Sunday, May 01, 2005


My hibernation from writing seems embarrassing. It’s not for lack of material, however. Life these past several months seemed more like warp drive, if you accept such a fictional literary device, thrusting one faster than the speed of light. However, even a starship is not able to sustain such propulsion using infinite amounts of energy. Fortunately, mine is no solo excursion.

I recently perused a magazine story in Time about parental involvement in schools. It seemed to represent a wide range of thought about the effectiveness of parents partnering with education, the scope of which is shared by many of my friends and colleagues. I must admit that my experience as a teacher provides a strong testimony of the importance of parental involvement within a community of learners.

Not surprisingly, theatrical arts have a way of building a strong sense of cross-generational community. My class has been working furiously to prepare for the opening of our class play, The Hobbit. Roles were cast months ago and students were expected to be “off book” after spring vacation. Student engagement in this project is amazing.

In play productions, students have the opportunity to develop fluency and further enhance comprehension of what they are reading through dramatic interpretation; and the obvious impact of drama on speaking and listening skills almost goes without mentioning.
In addition, we have integrated a powerful cross-curricular project into several writing assignments and even mathematics. I offer no apology for the access my students have experienced to the benefits of theatrical arts.

That access has also included expertise shared by an outstanding team of adults. Parents, grandparents, and siblings have contributed as set craftsmen and artists, technical engineers, costume designers, fund raising experts, and more. From the crew of men who initially constructed the set to dads who have been building custom props and moms baking cookies and sewing costumes, the dedication is truly amazing.

Countdown to curtain is now days. A full house is reserved for three of the four performances and less than 40 seats remain for the fourth. The story we share is fictional but the experience is most real and memorable. Thank you to my students and all of you who have made this journey as remarkable as the adventure experienced by our hobbit friend, Bilbo Baggins.



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