Southwest Children's  Literature

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Carlos and the Squash Plant/Carlos y la planta de calabaza

Responding through Drama to Carlos and the Squash Plant by Jan Romero Stevens

Objective: Students will listen to the story of Carlos and the Squash Plant and will be able to create a personal response to this story by writing personal narratives or creative stories for short dramatizations about a problem set in their hometown. Students will participate in small groups to put their skits on for the classroom audience.

Arizona Standards:

1AT-F1: Working within a group use selected characters, environments, and actions to improvise a dramatic problem; formalize by recording and/or writing the dialogue and stage directions.

1AT-F3: As a character, play out his/her wants by interacting with others, maintaining concentration, and contributing to the action of the classroom improvisations (e.g., scenes based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature and history.)

1AT-F4: Draw of verbally describe mental images for the time, place and mood of classroom dramatizations.

W-F3: Write a personal experience narrative or a creative story that has a beginning, middle and end and uses descriptive words or phrases to develop ideas and advance the characters, plot and setting.

Grade Level: Third or Fourth Grade

Time and Space: These lessons will extend for four class periods of 60 minutes each. The first class period will be spent reading and discussing Carlos and the Squash Plant. The second class period will be spent writing short stories that we will use as scripts. Students will write these stories in groups of five. The third class period will be spent organizing and practicing their skits and getting ready to perform. The fourth class period will be the performances. This will be suitable for five groups of five to have 10 minutes to set up and perform their skits.

- Carlos and the Squash Plant
by Jan Romero Stevens
-paper and writing utensils for script writing
-random items to use for props

Anticipatory set: As a class, we will read Carlos and the Squash Plant together.

Activity: After we read Carlos and the Squash Plant, we will discuss different aspects of the story. We will discuss how the story was set in New Mexico, and how that tied in with Carlos growing plants, getting very dirty, and growing a squash plant out of his ear. We will brainstorm scenarios that could happen in our hometown that may not happen in other parts of the country. For example, in Arizona we could have a problem with cactus, or different animals or plants that are indigenous to our desert climate.
The assignment for the next class period will be discussed, as students will use this brainstorming to get an idea for their own skits. Students will be broken into groups of five. During the second class period, we will start working on our own stories in groups of five. The students will have forty minutes to come up with their own stories and to assign parts to each person in the group. The last twenty minutes will be spent changing the story to script with the help of the teacher.
During the third class period, students will have a chance to practice their skits and find props to use with their skits. Each group will get a box of random articles that they can use for props. Students will need to be ready to perform at the end of the 60 minutes.

Closure: During the fourth class period, students will get to perform their skits for one another. Their skits will be video recorded as well.

Connections to other content: Language Arts, Theater Student Assessment: Students will be assessed on their participation in the skit. They will also be assessed as a group on the content of their script/story.


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