At Wooster, first graders spend the first two thirds of the school year learning about Basic Human Needs in Social Studies. They focus on food, shelter, and clothing as the three primary needs. To conclude their study of shelter, first graders put on a play called, “There’s No Place Like Home,” written by first grade teacher, Elizabeth McDevitt. The play aimed to showcase their studies of all different kinds of houses and shelters around the world.
First graders read, discussed, and looked at pictures of a variety of different types of housing and shelters that would have been inhabited in both current day and past times—they even took a sneak peek into the future. Each student then chose one type of shelter to study in depth so that they could both write about it and illustrate what it might look like. Students started with a first draft, then received a one-on-one writing conference with Ms. McDevitt where they were able to work on editing content and mechanics. After each child made a final copy, they drew a detailed illustration. These projects then became a part of the play, for each child to show the audience during their part. In addition to these projects, first graders also made a model of their homes in art class. Art teacher, Debbie Chodoff gathered real world materials so that students could make their shelter models as authentic as possible. For instance, one student made a Japanese Ryokan and was able to use rice paper for the sliding doors and windows, just as they have in real Ryokans. Another student made a cave with real gray pebbles. Still others used sticks and twigs to make a tree house and little pieces of red clay ‘bricks’ for an Adobe model. The models were the backdrop for the play.
The entire Lower School thoroughly enjoyed watching the first graders put on the play. The plot began with a couple looking for a new home and a real estate agent. The agent took the couple to tour many different types of houses, showing them each shelter project that the first graders had created in hopes that the couple will decide to buy one of them. Each student stood by their project asking, “Do you want to buy my home?” But in the end, the couple decided that they no longer wanted to move and that the house they already lived in was just right for them. The play closed with the take home message, “There’s no place like home!”
See a video of the production on our website: http://woosterschool.org/news-events/general/first-graders-perform-theres-no-place-home
Wooster School is an independent, college preparatory day school in Danbury, Connecticut. The School serves boys and girls from early childhood through grade 12 in small classes averaging twelve students. The mission of Wooster School is to educate the minds of its students, to cultivate their ethical understanding, to develop their artistic appreciation and expression, to promote their physical well-being—thus to prepare each individual for college and for a useful life.
To learn more, visit http://www.woosterschool.org/ or contact Wooster School Admissions at (203) 830-3916.