TR Readers' Theater: A Tale of Two Teddies
Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School 2nd graders in Ms. Jennifer Patti’s class brought city and country teddy bears to the stage when they presented a readers’ theater on the book, Town Teddy and Country Bear by author-illustrator Ms. Kathleen Bart.
Following their teacher, students marched down the hallway wearing oversized T-shirts featuring a picture of the book cover. Half the class wore bandanas and cowboy hats to represent the country bear, while the other half donned bow ties and top hats to portray the city bear.
One by one, students took turns at the microphone reading their assigned parts to an audience of family, friends and the author-illustrator herself, Ms. Kathleen Bart, who, days before, delighted K-2 students with her engaging presentations on how she wrote and designed her teddy-bear books, even showing them how to create their very own teddy bear illustrations. Her book, Town Teddy and Country Bear, is a retold Aesop’s fable with a teddy bear twist. Her character, Tuxedo Teddy, is crazed by hectic city life, while his cousin, Bandanna Bear, is bored with quiet country life. Each believes the other leads the perfect life, so they decide to switch places but not without a string of funny adventures and mishaps! By the end, both Tuxedo Teddy and Bandanna Bear discover that “the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.”
In true readers’ theater style, students used inflections in their voices and animated gestures to convey the story. As Principal Ms. Tami McElwee described in her opening remarks, “Readers’ Theater is not to memorize lines or wear elaborate costumes, but rather to focus on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures.”
Students capped their perfomance by square dancing to country music as audience members clapped their hands and tapped their feet. This performance was the fourth of five 2nd-grade Readers’ Theater presentations. The performances are coordinated by Literacy Coach Ms. Chris Bartell and Library Media Specialist Ms. Roseann Davidson in collaboration with art teacher Ms. Meredith Brustman, who designs a mural featuring the book selections, and music teacher Ms. Brenda Murphy, who leads the students in a musical performance. After the program, student enjoyed refreshments that were generously provided by the PTA.