Originally published in Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America (Scholastic, 2002), this fun, fast-paced play follows a couple of kids bouncing from one July 4th event to another, from pie-eating contests and baseball games to three-legged races and fireworks. Along the way they learn a bit about American culture and what exactly we’re celebrating at these Independence Day picnics and parades. Though American heroes and patriotic symbols have come under greater scrutiny, this play sticks to an innocent interpretation. It is, however, quite capable of serving as a lead-in for more serious discussions. Download it for use next June as one of those end-of-the-year activities, or pair it with Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech, “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” The play includes parts for 11 students, comes with a comprehension activity, and includes reproduction and performance rights.
Engage your students in the American Revolution with this historically-accurate play based on the life of Deborah Samson, a brave young woman who disguised herself as a man and became the first woman to serve in the U.S. military. Twice wounded, she had to escape the surgeons and operate on herself to avoid detection! Originally published in the Nov/Dec. 2102 issue of Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine and reprinted in the March 2013 issue of Scope, this seven page play script has parts for from 10 to 17 actors (and numerous extras) depending on your casting needs. Use it in grades 3 through 7 to build reading fluency, engage students in history activities, and pair with non-fiction historical text to satisfy a host of CCSs. Fully reproducible: original purchaser is licensed to print a full class set every year!
Presidents’ Day Dream looks at the Presidency from a different viewpoint. These days, it seems everybody wants to be president. When the play’s lead, Nicole, begins day dreaming about how great it would be, she’s met in her “dream” by various former presidents. Each speaks openly and honestly about the challenges and hardships of the job (did you know people used to throw cabbage at President Taft?), while pointing out the qualities it takes to be a good leader. In so doing they give Nicole—and the audience—a unique history lesson on being Commander-in-Chief. The embedded political cartoons add to the lesson, showing students that elections have always been contentious and presidents often criticized. Though obviously a work of fiction, the details were carefully researched and subsequently reviewed by professional editors at Scholastic. This play originally appeared in the book, Symbols of America (Scholastic, 2003). It comes with a comprehension activity, a paired text activity, and teacher notes. It’s also a perfect pairing with the book, So, You Want to be President? Parts for 9 students in grades 3 through 7. Suitable for reader’s theater, podcast, or full stage performance.
Imagine saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a bright yellow flag featuring a coiled rattlesnake! The history of the flag of the United States is a compelling story, but historians are divided as to the facts. Did Betsy Ross really create the first flag? This play, which was originally published in my book, Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America and later reprinted in the January 2002 issue of Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine, encourages readers to become history sleuths. It includes the play script, a short reading supplement, a bubble quiz, a comprehension activity built around William Canby’s 1870 treatise on the matter, answer keys, and extension activities. Suitable for reader’s theater or full stage production, use it with students in grades 3 through 7 to build fluency and to satisfy a variety of Common Core standards in Literature and Informational Text. Thirteen pages and parts for eleven students. The original purchaser is licensed to print one class set per year for use in his or her classroom. Thanks!
Two Read Aloud Plays packaged together for the price of one. Revolutionary War Plays comes with two exclusive plays, comprehension activities (two per play), extensions, and links to specific CCSs. Originally published in my book Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America, “Eagles Over the Battlefield” tells the story of the bald eagle becoming the emblem of the United States (picture Ben Franklin and Tom Jefferson arguing about eagles, turkeys, and even turkey vultures!), and “A Bell for the Statehouse,” reveals the history of the The Liberty Bell (based on historical evidence, but geared for younger students). Both are fun, easy, and ideal for elementary-aged kids. To create a full unit on the Revolution, download The Secret Soldier or Betsy Ross (both above) and split your class into thirds.
The history of the White House and the story behind the Star Spangled Banner are the subjects of “Two Plays from the War of 1812.” These are innocent, politically-neutral reader’s theater scripts designed to provide students in grades 3 through 6 with the carefully-researched facts about these U.S. symbols. Our national anthem was penned as a poem by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry, and the White House was burned to the ground by British troops when they sacked Washington D.C. in 1814. Both plays originally appeared in Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America (2003, Scholastic), and each includes a paired text, a comprehension quiz, and teacher notes with answer keys and extension activities. “Tearing Down the White House” includes parts for 20 students, though many of the minor parts can be combined, while “The Defense of Fort McHenry” includes parts for 12. Consider enacting them together, either as traditional RT, as an audio dramatization/podcast, or as a stage production. If instructing remotely, these plays would be excellent “Zoomer’s Theater.” Fully reproducible: the original purchaser is licensed to print one class set per year for use with his or her own class.
Argument at Mount Rushmore gives insight into the unique personalities and accomplishments of each of the four Rushmore presidents by imagining their sixty-foot tall stone faces can actually talk. Full of odd ball facts and goofy humor, this is the perfect play to introduce kids in third grade and up to the history behind, the purpose of, and the standards for the famous landmark. The play comes with a comprehension quiz, a paired text reading for information activity, answer keys, teacher notes, and extensions. It was originally published in my 2003 book, Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America, which is no longer in print, but you can click here to preview or purchase for immediate download at TeachersPayTeachers.
Help kids meet the Common Core Standards with ten captivating read-aloud plays about the White House, the Liberty Bell, the Pledge, Martin Luther King Day, and more! Each play tells the story of an American symbol, holiday, or person in a unique and compelling way. What would the presidents on Mount Rushmore say if they came to life? Did Betsy Ross really make the first flag? Includes background information, extension activities, and multiple-choice quizzes.