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South Valley Journal

Fairy tale play teach character

Jul 06, 2017 04:26PM ● By Jet Burnham

Students created their own fairy tale character costumes for their play about character and values. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Fourth-graders learned lessons of good character traits and values as they sang and danced through the trials of fairy tale characters for their class play.

“In school, we spend so much time focusing on curriculum that we miss out on teaching important life skills such as patience, kindness, accountability, forgiveness, honesty, etc.,” said Rose Creek Elemntary fourth-grade teacher Lindsay Speers. “What I love about this play is that it teaches all of those rich life lessons while simultaneously giving these students a chance to be performers.”

Speers created a safe environment at Rose Creek Elementary where even the shy kids felt comfortable performing.

“It’s amazing to see the change that comes over these amazing kids from the beginning to the end of the production,” said Speers. “The amount of confidence-building that this process brings to each individual is incredible.”       

Parents noticed their kids had a whole new level of confidence. Karl Fleischel said his son, Mason Pinkerton, is very shy. This is the first time he’s been willing to be part of a class program in front of an audience.  Tracey Langston said that her daughter, Abaigael, doesn’t usually sing in front of others.

 “She’s got a really great teacher so she’s really come out of her shell this year,” said Langston. Speer got to know her students and considered their strengths and weaknesses when she assigned them roles in the play.

Abaigael had wanted the role of the witch, but she was assigned to be Mama Bear.

“Ms. Speer knew me better than I knew myself,” she said. Speer assigned her a part with just the right amount of lines for her to handle, said Langston.

“When they recognize that I care about them and invest in their personal lives, a level of trust is built, and that trust makes all the difference,” said Speer.

Abaigael’s song in the play was about the three bears learning to forgive Goldilocks. The play portrayed several fairy tale characters learning and applying good values.

The Big Bad Wolf learned the Golden Rule. Humpty Dumpty learned to take responsibility for his own actions instead of blaming others. Three magic mirrors sang about having courage to be honest even if it makes someone (like the Evil Queen) angry. Jack and the Giant learned to not judge others. A trio of princesses learned to show kindness despite the ugly appearance of a frog who asked them for help. Cinderella and her mice friends sang about what to do when they were angry with the stepmother. Their song suggested, “Count to 10, walk away, take a breath, you’re OK.”

Eliza Morgan, who played the role of Goldilocks, said she has been inspired by the songs they learned for the play.

 “I learned a few lessons from the songs, like to be honest,” she said. She also tries to apply the advice to “walk away” when she is frustrated by younger siblings.

            Speers has seen evidence that the students have internalized the lessons from the play. She heard a frustrated student say, “OK, I need to count to 10, take a breath, and calm down” when he got caught up in an argument.

Parents appreciate that good values are being taught in the classroom. Lacy Martin, whose son Andrew played Humpty Dumpty, said it is helpful for kids to learn values both at home and at school.

“Especially because they listen to teachers better than moms a lot of the time,” said Martin.

            Speers realizes teachers already have full curriculums.

“I still do what I can because I think it’s vital for these kiddos to grow up into responsible and upstanding citizens,” she said.

She said fourth-graders are at a stage where they’re becoming more self-aware and this is an important age for them to learn how to interact with others.

“It’s really a difficult age because they are changing from these cute little kids to responsible and accountable individuals,” said Speers.

Speers purchased the play entitled “Character Matters” because she liked how the play discussed good qualities in a fun and engaging way. 

Fleischel said he still remembers the line dances he learned in his sixth-grade program, and he hopes his son will remember the lessons he has learned from this program.